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You must have heard the joke about the thinnest book published in the last 50 years? It’s title-German Humour Since the Middle Ages.

The Germans would be the first to acknowledge the superiority of English humour. They celebrate it every New Year’s eve by broadcasting on German television what they regard as the pinnacle of British comedy: a 20-minute sketch from a 1962 Blackpool variety show called Dinner for One. Freddy Frinton, who plays the loyal butler, not only serves the dinner at the 90th birthday party of his mistress; he also stands in for all of her guests (who…

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