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Ask Brit!

September 3rd, 2009 by Mike Nelson · 67 Comments

Brit explains… the British constitution (A Guest Post by Blogger Extraordinaire Brit)

Ah, America, America, God Bless America! We British invented America, of course, back in medieval times. But, as with so many of our inventions, we couldn’t work out how to make any money out of it and in the end we got bored and let it loose to fend for itself.

When I meet Americans for the first time, they invariably ask me two questions. The first is: “What did you just say? I can’t understand your accent.” To which I always reply: “I don’t have an accent, sir. You do. Now please listen more carefully.”

The second invariable question is: “Can you explain to me, as briefly but clearly as possible, how the British political system works, and is it anything to do with the Sword in the Stone?”

To which my answer is “Yes, and Yes.” However, one of the most common misconceptions about the British constitution is that the Monarchy is hereditary. Not so. Certainly it’s true that our current Queen, Elizabeth II, can trace her ancestral line directly back to King Arthur, but so can all the rest of us, nothing special about that (Arthur was notoriously promiscuous and sired many bastards).

The little-known truth is that ever since 1066, the Monarch has been decided by a tough multi-discipline contest, known as the ‘Commonwealth Games’. Held every fifty years or whenever we fancy it, the Games follow strict rules laid down by Oliver Cromwell in the Magna Carta.

Events in the competition include Jousting, Archery, Rhetoric, KerPlunk, Horsemanship and All-In Fighting. This last event is particularly revered. Rare footage of Queen Victoria defending her sovereignty against Lambert ‘The Young Pretender’ Simnel in the 1901 Games has recently been unearthed, while Elizabeth herself claimed the throne in 1928 in an epic 22-round fight against her mother – a proper scrap that really gripped the nation.

In more recent times, here’s Her Majesty in action against the Duchess of Yarmouth in 1997:


I hope that clears up at least a few of the questions you might have about the constitution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If you have any more queries on any matters British, just ask and I will do my best to answer them. Or if you happen to be British yourself, ask me something about the USA because I know all about that too, plus loads of other stuff.

Tags: RiffTrax

67 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mr. Alexander on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Any information as to the current progress of the Royal Initiative to Clone Tom Baker? I’ve tried to watch the new “episodes” of Doctor Who, but frankly travelling through time and space with someone who ISN’T wearing a four-meter woolen scarf just seems silly…

  • 2 Houndstooth Mind on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:13 am

    What’s the deal with cricket?

  • 3 blablover5 on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:13 am

    So Wallis Simpson was actually the bribe to get Edward to take a dive in the great “Monopoly” war of 1935?

    He should have stuck with Reading Railroad.

  • 4 Laura on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Why does your Hard Metal music (Muse) actually have some good to it, rather than the American Hard Metal (Slipknot)?

  • 5 Kyle S on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Wow! Thank you for the enlightening blog post. Prior to this, my only source of information on British royal succession was the movie King Ralph.

  • 6 attaturk on Sep 3, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    You mean we did not invent “Wipeout”?

    …and the Japanese didn’t either?

  • 7 Tony on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Isn’t the song playing in that video the theme from Air Force One?

  • 8 Dan Noutko-Kennedy on Sep 3, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Dear Ms. Ekland,
    Which is your favorite Music Hall comedy team of all time; Bangers and Mash or Bubble and Squeak?

  • 9 jfe on Sep 3, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    So what do you think of the comic strip New Adventures of Queen Victoria? Are you insulted or amused?

  • 10 jason on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    So, a cookie is a biscuit, and a biscuit is a crumpet, a cigarette is a fag, a homosexual is a pooftah…
    What does ‘blimey’ mean?

  • 11 Brit on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Thank you, all, for your excellent questions. Keep ‘em coming! I will attempt to answer some or all or none of them in due course.

    In the meantime, I have answered Dan Noutko-Kennedy’s question here, simply because it struck me as the most urgent.

    I have also supplied bonus footage from Her Majesty’s 1997 victory.

    Once again, my thanks to you all, and God Bless America!

  • 12 MattF on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:40 am

    It says here in this book I’m reading by some ‘historian’ from ‘Oxford’ that there’s no actual evidence that anyone named ‘Arthur’ was actually ever ‘King’ of anything. I’m glad to see you debunking this kind of ‘fact’ based thing. And evolution too.

  • 13 Barry on Sep 4, 2009 at 5:54 am

    No kidding. Can’t you guys jazz it up a little bit? Cool-looking uniforms, rules that make sense, steroids… *something*?

    I mean, we took your game and made it totally awesome. Hell, the Japanese like our version of your game even more than we do, but we don’t even let them play in our World Series! That’s how cool our game is.

  • 14 Brit on Sep 4, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Thank you, Matt. Yes, you can safely ignore whatever nonsense this so-called ‘historian’ is telling you.

    ‘Oxford’ indeed! I can assure you there’s no such place.

  • 15 Uncle Dick Madeley on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Certainly concise, Brit, yet, I fear, too concise! You forgot to mention: Robin Hood leading the revolt of Morris Men against Cromwell; Prince Charles’ +1 sword of Great Smiting; why the Queen’s purse always contains blancmange; and the significance of the Constitutional Sealion to the ‘West Lothian question’.

  • 16 MonkeyCheezPants on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:52 am

    What is the NHS doing about the continued transmission of Spotted Dick?

  • 17 Brit on Sep 4, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    You mean like this?

  • 18 Olcas on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Heh, well I am from Northern Ireland, but consider myself to be Irish, Mike! *shakes fist*

    But I can’t ask questions since I’m Chicago for a year learning first hand! But I’ll ask this; What’s Minnesota or California, those dark unknowns to the non USians, like, and which is better?

  • 19 Olcas on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    /Brit and Mike!

  • 20 Earl Fando on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    The new blokes don’t wear the scarf because they can’t figure out how to get in and out of the TARDIS without getting it caught in the door.

    You try traveling through the space-time continuum with your scarf hanging out the door.

    For the record, that was not a euphemism.

  • 21 Earl Fando on Sep 4, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Oooh! oooh! (raises hand)

    Oh, waitaminute. I thought you said football (soccer).


  • 22 Erica on Sep 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Dear Brit:

    I would like you to explore aspects of British comedy.

    Mr. Bean versus Benny Hill; who wins? Who loses? Why?


  • 23 ScarlettJ on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Not Brit, but my pick would have to be Mr. Bean. The man is a sociopath; the many ways and times he’s ran that three-wheeled green car off the road for no good reason, his knowledge of how to build the most explosive Christmas cracker ever, and his bizarre sense of competition with complete strangers. Bean would leave Hill on the ground as he scuttled away with a shifty expression on his face before he drove away in his little blue car waving like the demented manchild that he is. Hill and his bimbos would not stand a chance against that kind of sociopathic glory.

  • 24 Houndstooth Mind on Sep 5, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Six sixes is awesome! That much I gathered. But other than that I was totally lost. Still, yay that guy!

  • 25 Laura on Sep 6, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    California is a place where one disaster hits after another. And sometimes, at the same time.

    Minnesota is cold and created this thing called ‘MST3K’. Whatever the hell that is.

  • 26 MonkeyCheezPants on Sep 6, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Stand aside, I’m a professional Californian.

    California is the 8th largest economy in the world, and has a government roughly as effective as Somalia. That’s why, ten years ago, we were the 5th largest economy in the world.

    A big part of the reason for this gradual descent into suck is because Californians were dumb enough to elect a bad actor as the Governor. He gutted the state and made it so nobody could fix it. So, in our desperation, we elected a worse actor.

    Things did not improve.

    Minnesota, on the other hand, elected a wrestler who was in three of the same movies as the second bad actor. But at least they only did it once.

    So, in answer to your question, Minnesota is winning, but it’s the same as winning an arm wrestling match against someone who’s had two strokes and is actively injecting heroin into his eye with the good arm.

  • 27 MonkeyCheezPants on Sep 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    That was a fascinating documentary.

  • 28 Laura on Sep 7, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Which is why I’m moving to Myrtle Beach from Minnesota next summer :) .

  • 29 OmegaRowsdower on Sep 8, 2009 at 11:12 am

    D’oh… a bit late… but Brit,

    What is the British view on Canada?

  • 30 Brit on Sep 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    View on what now?

  • 31 OmegaRowsdower on Sep 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Ah… Do Brit’s Bash on Canadians as much as Americans do??

  • 32 Erica on Sep 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    As Brit has not responded to this, I have to assume that there is no earthly explanation for Mr. Bean. At all. Possible.


  • 33 Brit on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:02 am

    In this country you would be Hanged By The Neck Until Dead for that treasonous bile, blablover5.

  • 34 Brit on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Because, Laura, our Hard Metal music it founded on a great tradition of British rock artists, such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Wurzels and Black Lace.

  • 35 Brit on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:07 am

    I think it was actually the Argentinians. We won it from them in the Falklands war.

  • 36 Brit on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:07 am

    We are not amused.

  • 37 Brit on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:10 am

    ‘Blimey’ is short for “Cor blimey”, which is a corruption of “God Blind Me.”

    It beat both “Zounds” (”Christ’s wounds”) and “S’blood” (Christ’s blood”) to the title of Official Cuss of Great Britain in 1708.

  • 38 Brit on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Deep cleaning.

  • 39 Brit on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Nowhere near it, OmegaRowsdower. We think of Canadians as being like Americans, only less so.

    For the English, Scotland is our Canada.

  • 40 MikeH on Sep 9, 2009 at 2:43 pm


    How come you guys never use any articles in your speech? For instance:

    “David Spencer fell ill today and went to hospital”
    “Colin is not here, he went to University”
    “Tonight it will be cold with a chance of cloud”

    They even talk like that in Canada, what the hell is wrong with you? Also why does Captain Picard speak with an English accent? Should have given him a French accent or give him a British name like…Captain Ian Cudforth or something similar.

    I just don’t know what to think, sheesh!!

  • 41 MonkeyCheezPants on Sep 9, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Well, actually Stewart is a Scottish name, so he really should be Captain MacDougal.

  • 42 Jack the Autumn on Sep 9, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    To what exactly do the British esteem their World Famous Cuisine and Expert 17th Century Orthodontics?

  • 43 Sensei_Rebel on Sep 10, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Why are you guys not blogging anymore?

  • 44 Brit on Sep 10, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Excellent question, MikeH.

    This all dates back to the House of Commons and the Great Stink of 1858, when the stench from the Thames was so overpowering that measures were needed to reduce the amount of time for which Parliamentarians had to endure speeches. The turning point came on August 14th, when one Member found that as much as three minutes in every hour of speechifying could be cut simply by removing all the definite articles. Parliament immediately voted to outlaw said articles, and they have remained illegal to this day. By remarkable coincidence, the MP who proposed the Act was one Captain Ian Cudforth.

    You’ll notice that American Independence preceded the Great Stink by almost a century, which explains why you fellows retain the (rather clumsy) use of the definite article, and also why your speeches are so boring. Canada, on the other hand, only attained full independence in the 20th century, so they were directly affected by ‘Cudworth’s Law’.

  • 45 MonkeyCheezPants on Sep 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Because they’ve been hypnotized by De Mosselman.

  • 46 Jack the Autumn on Sep 11, 2009 at 8:58 pm


    “Why are you guys not blogging anymore?”

    They’re all Twitterheads now. I think Nelson tweet’n is gonna finally make me cave and open an account.

  • 47 MonkeyCheezPants on Sep 12, 2009 at 3:23 pm


  • 48 GMaupin on Sep 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Yeah, yeah – but more importantly, the Bacon is Good For Me Remix.

  • 49 Timm on Sep 14, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Are you ready for some football?

  • 50 Earl Fando on Sep 15, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Given that Benny Hill is dead, I’m going to have to give the edge to Mr. Bean.

  • 51 Earl Fando on Sep 15, 2009 at 10:04 am

    So, what you’re saying is Scotland’s bacon is ham, yes?

    I may be overreading this a bit.

  • 52 Lyndsey on Sep 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Please update the blog!

    You’re abandoning your Rifftrax fans for 160 characters or less!

    Most of your tweets don’t make sense because I’m not a member of Twitter, nor do I want to be!

    Pretty please?

  • 53 Adam on Sep 17, 2009 at 6:41 am

    I also am actively avoiding signing up for Twitter, but am saddened by the dearth of updates to this blog.

    It may soon come to be that I join Twitter SPECIFICALLY AND EXCLUSIVELY TO FOLLOW MIKE, KEVIN AND BILL. When this happens, it will perhaps be the lamest thing I ever do in a life filled to the brim with the doing of lame things.

    Please don’t let it come to this, Rifftrax. Come back to the blog. Save a nerd.

  • 54 E on Sep 17, 2009 at 11:13 am

    1) California has three soccer teams that suck
    2) Minnesota has no soccer teams and lots of fat people
    3) If you’re in the midwest, just stick with Chicago, it gets scary in other areas.

  • 55 Andrew Gilchrist on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:36 am

    The lamest thing I ever did was buy the movie “Twilight” so I could watch the riff.

  • 56 Andrew Gilchrist on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I don’t know if you’re fielding questions anymore, Mr. Brit, but I’ll ask mine anyways:

    Do people in England watch the show “American Idol”? And can you explain to me why people in America watch it?

  • 57 Jack the Autumn on Sep 20, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Still No Updates?

    I’m kinda getting the

    “Parents dumped us @ senile grandma’s cat smelling house totally forgetting about us and are still at the bennigans ordering their 3rd round of screwdrivers while rehashing the FLAKY CONTRACTOR WHO TOOK FOREVER TO INSTALL THE JACUZZI story for the 7th time”



  • 58 Dan on Sep 20, 2009 at 5:46 pm



  • 59 MonkeyCheezPants on Sep 20, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    You do know that it started out as a British show, right? Hence the Cowell.

  • 60 jfe on Sep 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    They are busy people, these riffers, be patient.

  • 61 Andrew Gilchrist on Sep 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I’m blissfully unaware of everything about the show. Who is this Cowell of whom you speak?

  • 62 tripe on Sep 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Pretty sure Wallis Simpson was the reigning, least feminine female impersonator of 1933 (Clacton region). “She” also won the knobbly-knee contest the same year.

  • 63 tripe on Sep 30, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Weird, the first thing I get asked is “where are you from?” followed by “just keep talking I love your accent!”.

    And then “do you like American girls?” ;)

  • 64 saddened on Apr 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I also am actively avoiding signing up for Twitter, but am saddened by the dearth of updates to this blog.

  • 65 saddened on Apr 5, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Pretty sure Wallis Simpson was the reigning, least feminine female impersonator of 1933 (Clacton region). “She” also won the knobbly-knee contest the same year.アニメ 抱き枕:

  • 66 アニメ 販売 on Jun 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Weird, the first thing I get asked is “where are you from?” followed by “just keep talking I love your accent!”.

    And then “do you like American girls?

  • 67 ブランド 腕時計 on Aug 23, 2011 at 2:01 am へようこそ。当社は2004年に設立され、2006年にインターネットマーケティング事業にコミットされました。 の大きな需要が常にあり、よく販売している。最近、我々はいくつかの新しいsac à mainして、当社のウェブサイト上でそれらを更新。ここでは見つけることができるいくつかの稀少ある、他のウェブサイトから見つけることは困難れた。NBAジャージはhotsaleで常にもです。