Sense of humour in Brazil

Hello everyone,

Should we set out to explore Brazilian's culture through its sense of humour? Indeed, if one is planning to settle in the country, it is best to understand the cultural codes governing humour in order to avoid any faux-pas.

What is special about the sense of humour in Brazil?

Is it acceptable to joke about any situations?

What is typically funny and what is absolutely not funny?

Are there any popular comedians in Brazil and how would one be able to discover them (stand-up shows, festivals, internet, etc.)?

What is the funniest joke you have heard in Brazil?

Please share your experience,


You need thick skin as an expat for Brazil, not sure as to sense of humor when trying to navigate all the regulations and policies will help. It does make you laugh inside, but showing a "sense of humor" when someone that does not your culture will not help you!
There are various cultures though out Brazil and what you may think is humorous, may not be to a Brazilian.
When I try to look up a simple expression I normally would say, it is very different in Portuguese. Just look at an American film title on a TV! In Portuguese does not even come close to the original title.
Have not heard a good joke (or just did not understand)

Here are some unscientific observations, after 40+ years of laughing with -- and sometimes being laughed at -- by Brazilians:

-- Brazilian humor is often accessible to North Americans (more so than French or German humor, for example) because it's more similar, although often a bit less hard-edged.
-- Brazilians like physical humor -- a lot.  Pratfalls, dropped dishes, broken windows, doors, furniture, etc. are always good for a belly laugh, as long as it's clear nobody was hurt.
-- A lot of Brazilians like wordplay.  Portuguese doesn't lend itself to punning, as English does, so puns are rare, and wordplay often depends on words that are ambiguous in a certain context, reversals of normal word order, meaning changes that result from opening a normally closed vowel, or vice versa, and so on.  Unless your Portuguese is really good, nine times out of ten you'll just have to smile and nod and try to play it off.  Even if your Portuguese IS very good, that will probably only improve your averages to about five in ten.
-- Brazilians tend to be sensitive to "punching down" in humor.  Making fun of your boss or the mayor is generally okay; making fun of the waiter in a restaurant, though, or anyone perceived as a social inferior, can be problematical.
-- As in any country, beware of political jokes until you know where your audience's sympathies lie.  The same goes for jokes about soccer teams, only moreso!
-- Family members, especially female ones, most especially MOTHERS, are always off-limits.
-- Self-deprecating humor is always welcome, although your Brazilian friends may end up a little offended on your behalf and defending you -- to you!  :par:

I don't understand Latin humor whatsoever. Brazilian, Mexican, Chilean, Peruvian, etc.

I get together with the Mexican side of my "North American Family" and they're watching a Mexican (supposed) comedy in Spanish and I'm left wondering what the hell they find so hilarious. What I'm watching is so inane, asinine, and stupid I want to cry, not laugh. Watching hurts. Now, Señor Wences (Marionettes and painted hand puppets) was funny. Hilarious.

Down here, one of my family's favorite games is to try and not laugh while my stepson-in-law tries to make everyone laugh. Everyone is practically peeing and puking they're laughing so hard and I'm left there wondering what's so funny. I'm not allowed to play that game anymore.

When someone here in Brazil asks me "what do you miss most about your home country? (Australia)", sense of humour would have to be right up near the top.

That is not to say that I never think the typical "Brazilian sense of humour" is funny - it certainly can be - although there are also many things people find hilarious that I find overly 'basic' or just not funny enough to warrant such a reaction.

I agree that Brazilians love physical humour. They are also crazy about internet 'meme' humour. I've never heard a group of people talk so much about memes!

Brazilian humour reminds me more of North-American style humour than the British style, though it is definitely not the same. In most cases I would imagine Brazilians would likely find an American sitcom (Friends, for example) funnier than a British one.

In my opinion, Brazilians often struggle to find more absurd or dark humour funny (which for me is a bit of a shame, to be honest). There are many jokes I could make here that would generate a strong reaction of shock, or someone commenting "nossa que pesado!" that nobody would bat an eyelid at back home. Some of them can be quite good at getting sarcastic humour though, much better than North Americans in that regard.

Also interesting to me is the lack of a genuine translation in Portuguese for the English word "wit", well as far as I know anyway. It often shows, although that's not necessarily something that only applies to Brazilians.

With all that said, I have managed to come across people with a similar sense of humour to me, but they are very few.

This appears to be a very, very old post, however it got my attention. I can definitely say that the most popular form of comedy in Brazil is physical comedy. I have been know to make a joke or two and I can usually make one or a group of Brazilians' laugh, not being fluent in Portuguese, but being an expert in physical comedy. When you can make a group of Brazilians in the waiting room of the hospital laugh you know you have hit the sweet spot.

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@Bhavna They do not have any sense of humor. Stay far away from it as they're  all mostly way too oversensitive. Anything they find funny is in portuguese  n makes zero sense in translation.

Humor in Brazil is predominantly tailored to the cultural nuances and sensibilities of Brazilians, making it challenging for foreigners to fully grasp and appreciate. There are numerous aspects of Brazilian culture, such as football, customs, and politics, that are deeply ingrained and may not lend themselves easily to foreigners attempting to make jokes about them. It is often best for foreigners to respectfully observe and appreciate these cultural elements from a distance, finding amusement in their own personal ways without attempting to engage in humor that may not be fully understood or appreciated by the local population.