The Italian sense of humour is very different to the British. The Italians humour is full of slapstick and irony (they love the Benny Hill style of humour) whereas the British sense of humour is sharp witted with lots of sarcasm.
Everyone likes to hear a joke but there is a time and a place and often just plain common sense when it is appropriate to tell certain jokes;
- Jokes made during sad occasions are seen as offensive and tactless.
- Italians like to talk and often tell elaborate jokes centered around weird situations and their solutions.
- If the occasion is among friends, jokes may be quite gross at the beginning, but then resolve in a funny way. The teller will usually warn foreigners of this.
- Jokes in Italy often touch sensitive topics such as politics and mafia. However if you are not Italian, then it is advisable not to tell your Italian friends a joke relating to these topics.
- Sometimes the jokes may also be about racism, comparing Italian and foreign people, or about the internal racism problem (north-south). However personally I think some jokes comparing nationalities are often funny as long as the people within the group are at ease with this.