GREAT CONFRONTATIONS AT THE OXFORD UNION {MOTION: THAT ENGLISHMEN ARE FUNNIER THAN AMERICANS} (TV)

Summary

One in this series of comical debates at the Oxford Union. Hosted by Bud Collins and the former British Ambassador to the United States, Peter Jay, this debate considers the resolution, "Are Englishmen funnier than Americans?" English comedians John Wells and Jasper Carrott argue in favor of the motion, while funnymen Steve Allen and Alan King challenge the proposition in favor of the Americans. Prior to the debate, there are videotaped observations about English and American comedy by comics Jackie Mason, Red Buttons, Dudley Moore, and Yakov Smirnoff. Union president Boris Johnson then begins the debate by presenting four student debaters: Robert Mackay, Nick Thomas, Nicholas O'Shaughnessey, and Jonathan Shapiro. The students comment on the resolution before surrendering the floor to the four primary speakers. John Wells, the first of the four speakers, immediately makes several unflattering remarks about Englishmen in various stages of undress before being interrupted by the wildly gesticulative Union member Geoffrey O'Brien, who is known to often interrupt the proceedings. After O'Brien's exit, Wells continues his case in favor of the proposition before relinquishing the podium. Steve Allen receives a warm reception from the English gathering before telling jokes about sex on television, and acromegaly. English comic Jasper Carrott follows Allen with a stand-up routine about homosexuality in San Francisco, driving in America, American police, U.S. television, Leonard Nimoy and laxatives, and the food at McDonald's restaurants. Alan King concludes by complaining that the English audience "Doesn't know who the ... I am," before making a case on behalf of American humor. The British audience votes to accept the resolution that Englishmen are funnier than Americans by a greater than two-to-one margin.

Details

  • NETWORK: PBS
  • DATE: March 24, 1987 Wednesdasy
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:57:53
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:34087
  • GENRE: Specials
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Comedy
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1985 - 1987
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Paul T. Boghosian … Executive Producer
    • John M. Florescu … Executive Producer
    • Randel Cole … Producer
    • Steven Tringali … Producer
    • Stan Soloway … Associate Producer
    • Chris Hayden … Director
    • Rachel Clarke … Direction (Misc.), Assistant Director
    • Der Marderosian, Alan … Music by, Instrumentalist
    • John Grab … Instrumentalist
    • Steve Rentschler … Instrumentalist
    • Jurgen Schwarze … Instrumentalist
    • Kris Kane … Voice, Great PBS Voice
    • Bud Collins … Host
    • Peter Jay … Host
    • John Wells … Guest
    • Jasper Carrott … Guest
    • Steve Allen … Guest
    • Alan King … Guest
    • Robert Mackay … Guest
    • Nick Thomas … Guest
    • Nicholas O'Shaughnessey … Guest
    • Jonathan Shapiro … Guest
    • Boris Johnson … Guest
    • Red Buttons
    • Jackie Mason
    • Dudley Moore
    • Yakov Smirnoff