Stephen Fry wrote the following. It's from an article called "Playing Oscar," which was published in the June 16, 1997, issue of The New Yorker.
And what of Wilde the man? He stood for Art. He stood for nothing less all his life. His doctrine of Art was so high that most people thought he was joking. The English, who to this day believe themselves quite mistakenly to be possessed of a higher sense of humor than any other nation on earth, have never understood that a thing expressed with wit is more, not less, likely to be true than a thing intoned gravely as solemn fact. We British, who pride ourselves on our superior sense of irony, have never fully grasped the idea of fiction -- of ironism. Plain old sarcasm is about our mark. When Wilde made an epigram, it was, at best, "clever." Clever, like funny, is an English insult of the deepest kind.