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John Cleese versus the Irish language: Don't mention the 'bh' war

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IN THE MODERN WORLD, we tend to assign more value to skills and innate qualities that are profitable than we do to refined capacities of appreciation. Being handsome or being able to kick a ball very far in the direction of your choosing are more highly prized than having a great nose for cheeses, a keen ear for operas or an extremely perceptive palate for wines.

The exception to this rule is humour – being regarded as having a sense of humour is seen as far more important than being funny.

While funny people certainly are enjoyed, comedians are in more of a hurry to change jobs than any other kind of entertainer: guitarists and ballerinas who become famous aren’t constantly planning on using their platform to become TV presenters or a children’s authors. They just want to play more guitar or dance more ballet.

Being funny is grand, but having a sense of humour is expected of everyone from plate-dropping waiters to the Taoiseach.

Once the scales of social expectation tip to where the expectation of a listener to laugh at a joke exceeds the expectation of a joker to tell a very good one, we get the OBOYR (only buzzin’ off yeh, relax) problem: where........

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