Some of that dissonance seems to come down to small differences in humor, which is surprising because I was pretty sure in the Venn diagram of things that are funny to Kiwis and Americans there would be a ton of crossover. Kiwis grow up with lots of exposure to American comedy and while our Kiwi comedy selection is much smaller in the States, I haven't met anything I didn't like. But there are some areas where we just miss each other--at least, in my experience so far. Obviously not everyone in a single culture is going to have the same sense of humor, but we've definitely felt a few of the same snags with a lot of different people.
Like teasing. I'm fine with light teasing. The other day I showed up to a coffee mixer for people new to the city. I thought it would be a pretty casual thing, with people filtering in and out throughout the afternoon. I came an hour and a half into it to find that everyone else had arrived pretty much at the same time, making me feel really rudely late. I felt really bad about it. One of the people there kept teasing me about how rude I was, and by making light of it, he actually made me feel a lot better and more welcome. That kind of teasing, I totally get.
What I'm not so wild about is when "taking the piss" gets more personal--when it starts to feel like a mean comment masquerading as a joke. To my tastes that feel like bullying, even if it's not meant that way. They usually fall under the fine-if-I-say-it-but-not-if-you-do category. I'm short and pale, for example. These are facts nobody is going to argue. I can make jokes about this and it's totally fine, but if you did it, you'd be a dick. Sorry, but them's the breaks.
On the other side, there's an element to our humor that so far seems to fall really flat outside of American company. It's that dry ironic cockiness 'MURICA jokes stem from. It's the kind of we-know-how-the-world-sees-us wink and nod which Josh and I love and nobody else at the table seems to get. The irony goes totally unnoticed, so instead we become the dicks. Like this joke I made at dinner the other night when we were talking about The Office and House of Cards: