Hallmarks of British humor such as sarcasm and self-deprecation don't always travel well, and according to researchers, may be down to genetics.
Rod Martin, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, indicated that television shows such as The Office of Fawlty Towers show that people in Britain enjoy cruel and dark humor more than people from other countries. Briths may have a greater tolerance for a wide range of expressions of humor, said Martin.
For example, in the US version of The Office, the lead character is far less insensitive and intolerant the the one in the UK version.
Researchers studied 2,000 pairs of British twins and 500 pairs of American twins. What they found was that both groups enjoyed positive humor, but only the British appreciated sarcasm, self-depracation, teasing and ridicule, and the less pleasing aspects of racist or sexist humor.
"In North American families there was a genetic basis to positive humour, but negative humour seems to be entirely learnt," said Martin.
They also found that television humor in Britain was more biting, where as in the US it tended to be blander.