Newstalk
Newstalk

13.57 1 May 2014


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From Monty Python to Peep Show, dry wit is the signature of British comedy. But where did it come from?

Britain's Danish ambassador Claus Grube thinks he has the answer - the Vikings! It might be hard to imagine raiders making wry observations while sacking monasteries, but he says the evidence lies in the laconic humour found in thirteenth century Norse sagas like the Orkneyinga saga.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Grube says that irony, understatement and sarcasm are all part of the countries “common heritage," which explains the popularity of Monty Python in his country.

Trade is apparently behind the cultural exchange. The Vikings traded with Britain for centuries, and Grube believes these exchanges led to British culture being influenced by their language and expressions, which are still found in both countries' sense of humour today.

And while we're at it... is this the best Monty Python sketch ever? Let us know in the comments below.


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