It always amuses and irritates me when my fellow Britons trot out the hoary stereotype that the Germans have no sense of humour. Since only 1 per cent of Britons are fluent in German (as compared with 24 per cent of German students who are fluent in English), and since wit is primarily a language gift, how can people know that the Germans are humourless?
Well, here's some German wit. Count Ruggiero, an Italian conman, toured Europe in the seventeenth century, swindling rich fools out of their fortunes by pretending he had the secret of turning base metal into gold. After touring various capitals successfully he was finally rumbled in Germany, found guilty of numerous frauds - and hanged on a gilded gallows. Nice touch.

My source: John Buckingham. 'Chasing the Molecule,' Sutton Publishing, 2004.