Sense of humour in Canada

Hello everyone,

Should we set out to explore Canadian'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 Canada?

Is it acceptable to joke about any situations?

What is typically funny and what is absolutely not funny?

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

What is the funniest joke you have heard in Canada?

Please share your experience,



Just keep racist remarks to u


You are going to the wrong country if you want people with a sense of humour. Sarcasm is an absolute no no. In my six years experience (now all family have Canadian passports) Canadians take themselves very seriously. They have a confidence that greatly exceeds their abilities, delight in interfering in other people's business and are boring, humourless one dimensional people. There is nothing that binds them together as a country or people and zero sense of real community or soul.

Now Australia (where I have also lived) is the complete opposite. Wonderful, warm, genuine people with a great sense of humour.

Canada is ok. Just not for the whole weekend.

Forgive oneaway. A comment that ugly cannot come from most Canadians. That level of hate is normally American sourced, sometimes British. It is an anglophone disease.  :|

Canadian comedy is famous and persuasive. Here is a review. Much of anglophone humor comes from Canada. In the US, it is awesome how it has taken over...though I wish all those Canadians would come back!   

It is self-deprecating..where most types of anglophone comedy tries to belittle someone.

All I can say in summary I have dual UK/Canadian citizenship, have lived in Canada, UK and OZ. In UK and OZ I met wonderful, genuine and warm people. In my 7 years in Canada I, my wife or son never met a single genuine warm Canadian. As my Hungarian friend used to say Canadians have learnt to smile and confused it with friendship.

My sole reason for posting is to alert anyone who wants to go to Canada about the experiences of many Brits. As a family we could easily earn 2 or 3 times what we earn in the UK working in healthcare in Vancouver (healthcare is more ore less the only job opportunities in Vancouver) but wild horses could not drag me back there. I have never come across such anal, interfering, boring, one dimensional people and life is just to short to deal with them.

You want to immigrate then OZ is amazing, weather, jobs, pensions, people.

Oh and “Canadian culture” there is none. A well known Canadian bookshop chain at Broadway and Granville in Vancouver had a large sign in their window for months “the world needs more Canada's”. Out of the G7 Canada spends the least as a % of GDP on both defence (mooching indirectly off America) and foreign aid.

Do you have any idea (basically unless you are a doctor or specialist nurse) how few job opportunities there are in Canada? How restrictive the unions make it for new comers? How simply awful the anal bureaucracy is? Far far better out there than Canada

Wow! Considering Canada has the opposite reputation that you ascribe to it, have you considered that that YOU and your family are the problem. There are treatments for hostility management. There is a LOT of that going around in the UK and USA.
I am a Quebecker and don''t know Vancouver well. Montreal is often cited as having the most vibrant culture in the Americas...with more International festivals and events than any other city on the planet. And I too have lived in the UK and Europe, know Downunder very well and now reside in South America.
I hope you can find a cure.

I am an Indian would like to relocate abroad. Kindly suggest me country and possibilities.
Currently I am a Principal of an International school in India.

@oneaway Hi oneaway. My family moved to Canada 12 years ago when I was a kid. I understand where you're coming from, even though a big part of me wants to be in denial of it. I've had the exact same thoughts as you, but I've kept my mouth shut because people will say I'm just being a negative nancy. Maybe I am, who knows?

I think you might enjoy this satirical take on Canadian "culture": [link moderated]

If Canadian culture exists, I think it means you always wear a smile and you never complain, because complaining is seen as a terrible, uncool thing to do. "Whoa man chill, don't harsh my mellow!"  Hypothetically, if I were the evil ruler of a country, then I would want my citizens to always wear a smile and never complain about anything. That way, my country would look perfect and amazing all the time. And plus, no one would ever ask for any changes.

"One-dimensional" is the word I would've used as well. Music shows and standup comedy do exist in Canada, but if I'm 100% honest they do feel rather flat and lifeless, like there's no heart or soul behind it. That's just a generalization though, I think good comedians and musicians probably do exist here, like finding a diamond in the rough. Again, I'm sure many Canadians will disagree with my assessment - and at the end of the day, it is subjective. If people enjoy the shows/festivals here in Canada, then who am I to judge?

The UK and Australia seem appealing to me for the very reasons you mentioned: so much livelier. And I feel people in the UK would actually appreciate my sense of humor - it seems like Canadians take everything literally and therefore can't appreciate sarcasm. It feels like you're talking to a robot, or someone working at a call center with an automated script. I've never been to the UK or Australia though, so the best I can do is daydream. People always say it's an illusion, because "the grass is always greener on the other side." That could be true, but I think there's truth to what you're saying as well.

I do however think one-dimensional people can exist anywhere, even in the UK or Australia. Maybe Canada is just the motherland for whatever reason.

Hello patb777,

Welcome to the forum!

Thank you for sharing your take on "Sense of humour in Canada"1f609.svg

Do not hesitate to check the Canada forum. You might find even more interesting topics in which you can participate.


Yoginee team