When was the last time you laughed really hard when learning or teaching English? Learning English as a second language (ESL) can be very boring sometimes, but a little comedy can change everything and make it fun AND funny.
We have brought together the funniest, most popular, and instructive youtube videos and ESL commercials into one place for the first time. Together, these videos have over a billion youtube views, and now it’s time to spread the gift that keeps on giving: Laughter!
These videos are an excellent way to start the class, so if you are a teacher, we created a special PDF of this lesson you can download here (in Portuguese here). If you are a student, you can make your class more fun by showing your teacher.
*WARNING: 6 of these videos have bad/explicit words in many of these (they are labeled).
1. German Coastguard Needs to Learn English
A German coastguard trainee’s broken English causes some serious problems at work. Learn how important English is in certain life or death situations! Watch the same video with the Egyptian Coast Guard.
- Coastguard: a branch/ position in the military that supervises ocean territory and helps people who are in danger.
- Mayday: What a ship/boat (or airplane) says when it needs help.
- Sink: When a boat is damaged and it can no longer float (“if we don’t fix the hole in the boat, it will sink“).
- To Think About Something: To consider (I’m thinking about going to the movies tomorrow night.)
- Over: What military and coast guards say when they are finished transmitting a message (technical language).
2. The Italian Who Went to Malta *Bad Words
This is the story of an Italian man who went to Malta. Even though his intentions are good, he has a lot of problems with his English, and his mispronunciation of innocent words cause some really important misunderstandings.
Vocab Guide (Bad Words in Red):
- Piece (i.e. piece of toast) | Peace | (i.e. world peace) | Piss (means “to urinate”)
- Fork (i.e. Fork & Spoon) | Fuck (means to have Sex)
- Sheet (i.e. sheet and blankets) | Shit (Poop/defecate)
Suggested Warmup Lesson (5 minute Pronunciation Practice): If you want to make this video a lot more instructive and interesting, practice the long “E” vs Short “I” sounds (here’s a 1 minute lesson on this, or you can use this page to supplement), and then practice the difference in pronouncing the words below (from the video):
- Peace | Piss
- Beach | Bitch
- Sheet | Shit
- Bonus: Fork | Fuck
3. Joey (From Friends TV series) Learning English
Joey (a native English speaker) follows a beautiful woman into a beginner’s ESL class (English as a Second Language), and tells the teacher he is in the right place. Trying to impress the girl, he competes with beginning English learners to prove that his English is the best. This video is an excellent chance to test your English with one of America’s best TV shows, and show you the value of learning English with TV shows and movies!
- Accent: a mode of pronunciation
- Sure: certain
- Right place: The correct location
- Gold Star: A symbolic reward for merit
- “Pick it up where Renata left off“: Start where Renata Stopped.
- Tough = (pronounced “tuff”) difficult
- Subjunctive: “if I was” vs “if I were” (common native mistake)
- Cultural Note: this is not directly from Friends, but from the series, Joey, a spinoff of Friends (a by-product or continuation of the original story)
Note: the girl pronounces “tough” wrong (she says “tug”). Joey explains to her that “gh” words have an “f” sound (i.e. “tough,” “rough,” “laugh”) Remember that this does not apply to all words (i.e. “tonight”)
- The Subjunctive Tense: a simple grammar rule that native speakers frequently confuse. We often incorrectly say “If I was,” when the correct answer is “if I were.”
JOEY’S FRIEND: Don’t go anywhere.
JOEY: No problem, I’ll be right here.
TEACHER: Nice to see you again, Maria.
MARIA: Hello, Mrs. Lafferty.
TEACHER: Welcome. What is your name?
JOEY: I’m Joey.
TEACHER: Joey, you have a wonderful accent.
JOEY: Thank you.
TEACHER: Joey, this is an English as a Second Language class for beginners.
Are you sure you’re in the right place?
JOEY: (looking at Maria) Oh, I’m in the right place.
TEACHER: Let’s get started.
TEACHER: I hope that everybody practiced counting to 10 over the weekend.
TEACHER: Great, let’s do it together.
CLASS: One, two, three, four, five six, seven, eight, nine, 10.
BORIS: Eleven, Twelve.
TEACHER: Very good, Boris. Somebody’s gonna get a gold star.
BORIS: Thanks, thanks.
JOEY: Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.
JOEY: Oh, boy. Yeah, this is This looks tough. The bell rang and the students all went to the auditorium with their teacher. Boom. That’s right, Boris, you heard it. Auditorium.
MARIA: I am so lucky to be with the smartest boy in class.
Some words are so tug.
JOEY: Tug? Oh, remember, I told you that the GH sometimes sounds like an F. It’s tough. Like rough or laugh.
MARIA: Oh, Joey. Make love to me tonight (pronouncing “to-nifed).
JOEY: That is good English.
TEACHER: Okay. I’d like everyone to take out their homework on the subjunctive tense.
MARIA: (to Joey) You didn’t do it?
JOEY: (pointing to his head) I got it.
TEACHER: If the present tense of the verb to be is I am then the subjunctive tense is, “If I ” – Joey?
TEACHER: Oh, I’m sorry, that’s not correct.
BORIS: It’s, “if I were.”
TEACHER: Very good, Boris.
RENATA: Joey are stupid.
JOEY: Joey is stupid, Renata.
4. A Song About Not Understanding the Lyrics: Dramatic Song
This song makes fun of the fact that pop music is about nothing. If people aren’t listening, or don’t understand, it’s not difficult to write a song about nothing and impress a lot of people with empty lyrics. This song will teach you the value of understanding what song lyrics are saying!
Suggested Warmup: Have your students cover the vocabulary before, and if they won’t understand, have them follow along with the lyrics.
- Sound = seem/ similar to (“this song sounds dramatic)
- ’bout = about
- Lack = when you don’t have something (People lost their jobs because of a lack of English)
- Stuff = things (you probably think I’m singing about some pretty serious stuff)
- As long as = depending upon some condition or requirement (We can go out as long as you drive)
- Foreign = From another country or culture (How many foreign languages do you speak?)
- Grandma (the mother of your mother) | Grandson (the son of your child) | Grandaughter (the daughter or your daughter)
- Hit the charts = Hit (to reach/attain) the Charts (list of top songs)
- Chorus = the part of a song that repeats
- Coldplay = The famous British Pop Band
- Lyrics = the words to the song
- La la = the sound a singer makes (“then I put some “la, la’s” in the song”)
“Dramatic Song” Lyrics
This song sounds dramatic,
But I’m bad at writing words.
If you don’t speak english
This Probably sounds pretty good.
You probably think I’m singin’ ’bout
Some pretty serious stuff, but in reality
I’m singin’ ’bout the lack of stuff
I’m singing ’bout this parts intense
And emotional, as long as you don’t
Understand it. Your foreign grandma
Would love this song please send it to her,
And she’ll probably tell her foreign friends
About the song her Grandson or Daughter sent her today.
And the song might hit the charts in her country if parts sounded like
If the chorus sounds like cooollldplaaayyy.
Then I’ll put some la… La la’s in there,
La la la la la la la
Hopefully your foreign grandma listens to this song everyday, and if she
Asks you to translate the lyrics here’s what you say.
A perfect translation does not exist, well at least not in your language.
But if you must know well picture this 50 billion rainbows and the sun is
Setting and the moon is setting also, and your there in a gazebo.
Then God descends from heaven and he gives you a million dollars. Take that
Feeling then put into a song.
I could translate it word by word but that would take way too long.
I’ve got stuff To do grandma, I don’t have time for this.
You gotta trust me grandma, this friggin’ song’s brilliant.
5. The English Language in 24 Accents *Bad Words
This kid attempts to imitate 24 accents from around the world. Incredible, funny, and filled with bad words. Here’s the censured version. Here’s a transcript if you’d like to read along (Click “Check Answers & Read Aloud”)
6. Give Me Cock Please *Bad Words
This Korean teach confuses the pronunciation of the word “Coke” for “Cock” (“cock,” pronounced “Cawk,” is a vulgar word for penis.) The rest is pretty easy to understand.
7. How to Use the Word FUCK *Bad Words
This humorous and very instructive video illustrates all the many ways to use “the F word” in the English language. We do not recommend that you use this word in an irresponsible way (like the video may suggest), but it is very entertaining! Check out Real Life English’s own article, How to Use Swear Words in English. Transcript Below Video.
Transcript: “Perhaps one of the most interesting words in the English language today, is the word fuck. Out of all the English words beginning with f, fuck is the single one referred to as the “f-word“. It’s the one magical word. Just by it’s sound it can describe pain, pleasure, hate and love. Fuck, as most of the other words in English, has arrived from Germany. Fuck from German’s “fliechen” which mean to strike. In English, fuck folds into many grammatical categories. As a transital verb for instance, “John fucked Shirley“. As an intransitive verb; “Shirley fucks“. It’s meaning is not always sexual, it can be used as an adjective such as; John’s doing all the fucking work. As part of an adverb; “Shirley talks too fucking much“, as an adverb enhancing an adjective; Shirley is fucking beautiful. As a noun; “I don’t give a fuck“. As part of a word: “abso-fucking-lutely” or “in-fucking-credible“. Or as almost every word in a sentence: “fuck the fucking fuckers!“. As you must realize, there aren’t many words with the versitility such as the word fuck,as in these examples used as the following words;
– fraud: “I got fucked”
– trouble: “I guess I’m really fucked now”
– dismay: “Oh, fuck it!”
– aggresion: “don’t fuck with me, buddy!”
– difficulty: “I don’t understand this fucking question”
– inquery: “who the fuck was that?”
– dissatisfaction: “I don’t like what the fuck is going on here”
– incompetence: “he’s a fuck-off!”
– dismissal: “why don’t you go outside and fuck yourself?”
I’m sure you can think of many more examples.
With all these multipurpoused applications, how can anyone be offended when you use the word?
Use this unique, flexible word more often in your daily speech. It will identify the quality of your character immediately. Say it loudly and proudly: FUCK!
8. Comedy: American Needs Translator in England
In this Australian comedy show (Chaser’s War on Everything), they make fun of the fact that Americans tend not to understand the British Accent. In this “skit” or “parody” presentation, a “clueless” American tourist can’t understand British English until he finds a guy who helps him by translating from American English to British English.
Here’s a quick vocab guide to help you understand the jokes at the beginning:
- To bother with that kinda thing: to make the effort with that kind of thing
- Hopeless: they can’t be cured, incompetent
- Subtitles: words on TV or movie screens that translate the speaking
- Accent: a mode of pronunciation
- Directions: information how to get from one place to another
9. Do you Speak English?
A British woman with a broken down car has difficult communicating in English with two guys who are clearly speaking English (but they claim they don’t). Hilarious! Vocab Guide and parts of the transcript:
- My Car is Broken Down = My car is not functioning (it doesn’t work)
- Garage = England: place to fix cars | U.S.A.: place to keep your car (at home)
- That’s wasted on me = I can’t help
- I wish I’d paid more attention in school = I wish I had listened)
- If you go down that way (on that road), about a half a mile, there’s a village (small city/town)
- Hey, you never know, next time you’ll over, maybe we’ll have learned a bit of English for you.
10. How the French Speak English (Steve Martin)
In this scene from Pink Panther, Steve Martin, speaks with a cheap and funny French accent when speaking English with his accent coach. It is really difficult to understand even for a native speaker. Transcript Below Video.
Inspector Clouseau (with a heavy French accent): Hef, I’m going to America. I’m going there to learn to speak with a flawless American accent, so as not to arouse suspicion. Cette femme is the greatest accent coach in the world.
Accent Coach: I would like to buy a Hamburger…
11. Five Ways to Say it’s Raining (From RealLife English)
In this Real Life English video, Josh Plotkin teaches us 5 ways to say it’s raining, with a hilarious ending.
- Pour: to flow rapidly in a steady stream (pour water in a glass)
- Piss: a colloquial way to say “urinate.”
- Bucket: a big container to carry water or other liquids
12. Catherine Tate- Language Translator (British Comedy)
British Comedian, Catherine Tate, shows her language skills when she gives a surprising translation of seven languages at an important international conference.
- Nightmare: Bad Dream
- What’s the matter?: What’s wrong
- Annual Summit: Yearly meeting with high level officials
- My translator hasn’t turned up: showed up/arrived
- I did a TOEFL in my Gap year: “Gap” means space between two things
13. Reporter Turns Ghetto in 3 Seconds *Bad Words
In this recording of a professional southern reporter, you see him suddenly change his deep, professional reporter voice to informal “ghetto” ebonics with lots of bad words (see definition of ebonics below) when a bug flies into his mouth. With this video, you see how native speakers have different roles in different situations. Transcript Below Video.
- Reporter: the person who presents the news on TV
- Ebonics: African American Vernacular English: a nonstandard form of American English characteristically spoken by African Americans in the United States. See wikipedia definition of Ebonics.
- Ghetto: Where poor people live (it’s more of an American word. Europeans and other countries often say “slum”)
Transcript: What really happened on that Thursday here at Augusta High School that led to Chris Woods’ death? (Bug flies into his mouth) What the fuck is that? Shit! I’m dying in this fucking country-ass fucked up town. Shit flying in my mouth. What the fuck. I can’t see. Let’s get the fuck out of this country mother fucker.
*Some people will surely find this video controversial in the ESL classroom because of race and class issues, but we see it as humorous and instructive, and sometimes there is a limit to notions of political correctness.
14. At the Laundry Mat
Never assume that people don’t speak your language! You might get very embarrassed when somebody really does understand.
- Cute: attractive
- Butt: buttocks/ass/behind/bottom
- Cut it out: stop it
- Underwear: clothing you wear under your other clothes
15. The World’s Funniest Commercial *Bad Words
In this video, a traditional family listens to very inappropriate music without understanding the lyrics. Again, it’s important to understand the lyrics!
- fuck: have sex with
- wanna: want to
- ass: butt (see #13)
16. Dr. House Teaches British and American Slang
British Actor, Hugh Laurie (who plays American Dr. House on TV) tests his knowledge of American slang with Ellen Degeneres. Check out the transcript here.