I assure you, the death notice I'm looking for will be on the front page
March 7, 2014 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Quite unlike many similar Wikipedia entries, the Russian Jokes, Russian Political Jokes and Jewish humor articles are treasure troves of actual jokes and anekdoty.
posted by griphus (33 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
In Metafilter, Russian Jokes are on us!

the Russian Jokes link is borked.
posted by zamboni at 7:32 AM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

well, the American one is spelled wrong, that's the problem. Missing that second "u".
posted by k5.user at 7:33 AM on March 7, 2014

Mod note: In Soviet Wikipedia, link edits you!
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 AM on March 7, 2014 [6 favorites]

aaaaaaah I've loved these pages for a while now and can't believe they weren't posted here before


anyway thanks for posting them
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:35 AM on March 7, 2014

At an Orthodox wedding, the bride's mother is pregnant. At a Conservative wedding, the bride is pregnant. At a Reform wedding, the rabbi is pregnant. At a Reconstructionist wedding, the rabbi and her wife are both pregnant.

This is where we repost our favorites right?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:42 AM on March 7, 2014 [13 favorites]

You're an owl yourself

(I am basically putting this here as a note to remind myself to somehow use this phrase more often.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:43 AM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is where we repost our favorites right?

Well, and bring out our own.

Since we aren't in MeTa: There's a family guy asleep in the middle of the night, and a loud knock is heard at the door followed by a shout of "Get your stuff, you have to get out". He gets terrified and tries to look through the door lens. From outside a voice says "Relax, it's just that your house is on fire."
posted by jaduncan at 7:44 AM on March 7, 2014 [7 favorites]

An old Jewish man was finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union, to emigrate to Israel. When he was searched at the Moscow airport, the customs official found a bust of Lenin.

Customs: What is that?
Old man: What is that? What is that?! Don't say "What is that?" say "Who is that?" That is Lenin! The genius who thought up this worker's paradise!
The official laughed and let the old man through.
The old man arrived at Tel Aviv airport, where an Israeli customs official found the bust of Lenin.
Customs: What is that?
Old man: What is that? What is that?! Don't say "What is that?" say "Who is that?" That is Lenin! The sonofabitch! I will put him on display in my toilet for all the years he prevented an old man from coming home.
The official laughed and let him through.
When he arrived at his family's house in Jerusalem, his grandson saw him unpack the bust.
Grandson: Who is that?
Old man: Who is that? Who is that?! Don't say "Who is that?" say "What is that?" That, my child, is eight pounds of gold!

posted by griphus at 7:46 AM on March 7, 2014 [30 favorites]

An Soviet Army guy comes to the political officer and says that his parrot has been stolen. The political officer asks why the soldier has told him about that. The soldier says "I always disagreed with the parrot."
posted by jaduncan at 7:50 AM on March 7, 2014 [6 favorites]

Once the pope was visiting a very famous old Rabbi, Rabbi Jacob, in the Holy Land. He went into his office and there on the desk was a huge white phone.
"What's that?" asked the Pope.
"Its my direct line to G-D." said Rabbi Jacob.
"My goodness, how extraordinary! May I try it?"
"Of course," answered Rabbi Jacob.
The pope picks up the phone and there on the other end is God himself. They have a deep and amazing conversation about life, heaven, sin, and goodness. The Pope is blown away. He puts down the receiver after ten minutes.
"How was that?" asked Rabbi Jacob.
"Astonishing!" said the Pope.
"Well that will be $5." said the old Rabbi.
Hmm fair enough, thought the Pope, I just spoke to God himself! So he pays up right away.

A few months later the Pope is in Italy and goes to visit a young Rabbi in Rome. There on the young Rabbi's desk is another giant white phone.
"Excuse me" asks the Pope. "Is that..."
"Yes, it's my direct line to G-D. You can talk to him if you wish."
"Please!" said the Pope. He picks up the phone and again has a deep and moving conversation with his Lord. He puts down the phone feeling spiritually refreshed like never before.
"I'm glad you enjoyed it!" said the young Rabbi. "That will be $200."
"$200? But in Israel, at old Rabbi's Jacob's, it was only $5!"
"But of course," said the young Rabbi, "from there it is a local call!"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:57 AM on March 7, 2014 [9 favorites]

The article on East German jokes spurred me to buy Wo wir sind ist vorn, which includes most of the Russian political jokes, lightly adapted, as well as explanations of the jokes and why they are funny.
posted by frimble at 7:59 AM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is the epigraph that begins Death & The Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov:

A Militia major is driving along when he sees a militiaman standing with a penguin.
"Take him to the zoo," he orders.
Some time later the same major is driving along when he sees the militiaman still with the penguin.
"What have you been doing?" he asks. "I said take him to the zoo."
"We've been to the zoo, Comrade Major," says the militiaman, "and the circus. And now we're going to the pictures."

posted by emelenjr at 8:01 AM on March 7, 2014 [13 favorites]

This reminds me a lot of the military jokes I'd hear from my dad:
"Cadets, write down: the temperature of boiling water is 90°." One of the privates replies, "Comrade praporshchik, you're mistaken — it's 100°!" The officer checks in the book, and then replies, "Right, 100°. It is the right angle that boils at 90°."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:10 AM on March 7, 2014 [11 favorites]

On the WTF podcast recently where Marc Maron interviewed Yakov Smirnoff (I know I know but he's a fascinating dude actually), he talks about comedians under the Soviets telling very intricately coded street jokes about animals in which there was just enough plausible deniability that you could maybe get away with criticizing stuff, particularly shortages, poverty and hardship of the working class, and that those were mysteriously preferred by censors to jokes about, say, sex. The official policy of the censors was "Go ahead and vent for the workers' concerns as long as you pretend to be joking about bears and rabbits, just don't do anything to shake up people's social mores." What a crazy thing that era was.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:27 AM on March 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

This one is killing me...

In biology class, the teacher draws a cucumber on the blackboard: "Children, could someone tell me what is this?"
Vovochka raises his hand: "It's a dick, Marivanna!" The teacher bursts into tears and runs out.
In a minute the principal rushes in: "All right, what did you do now? Which one of you brought Maria Ivanovna to tears? And who the hell drew that dick on the blackboard?"

posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:36 AM on March 7, 2014 [8 favorites]

My favorite Russian joke:

A plane flies.

There is a passenger on the plane who is covered head to toe in bandages and casts. He looks like a plaster mummy. Grunting with pain and effort, he ambles to the door with an awkward, shuffling gait.

Another passenger sees this and frowns. With the quick instincts of a soldier, he stops the bandaged man and walks him back to his seat.

He asks him if he is okay. The bandaged man only lets out a wheezing sigh.

The soldier harrumphs and returns to his seat. Some people.

After several moments, the bandaged man gets up again. Again, he ambles to the door, in his awkward, shuffling gait.

The soldier sees this and frowns even more. Again, he stops the bandaged man. He pinches him on the shoulder, not too hard, but hard enough, and forces him back to his seat.

He tells the bandaged man to stop doing this. He demands to know what is wrong with him.

The bandaged man lets out another wheezing sigh, this time loud, and growing louder.

The flight attendant comes by.

"What is the matter here?" she asks.

The soldier points to the bandaged man.

"This poor man keeps getting up, to go to the airplane door!"

With a wave of her hand, she half-smiles.

"Oh, that's okay. He always gets off here."
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:38 AM on March 7, 2014 [6 favorites]

posted by Carius at 8:42 AM on March 7, 2014

I can't emphasize enough how fascinating the Mark Maron podcast with Yakov Smirnoff is that Potomac Avenue referenced. He had to submit his jokes yearly, and then could only perform the approved material for that year.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union his "In Soviet Russia, X Y's you!" and "WHAT A COUNTRY!" schtick didn't really resonate anymore, so he went to the one place left in the country where it didn't matter that the cold war was over: Branson, Missouri.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:50 AM on March 7, 2014 [5 favorites]

An American and a Soviet both die and wind up in Hell. They are given choice between Hells for people from all over the world, and, wanting to play it safe, the American goes into American Hell and the Soviet goes into Soviet Hell.

After a while they run into each other. "How's it going?" asks the Russian.

"It's okay," says the American. "I was always afraid of Hell, but it's not too bad. You wake up in the morning and you have to eat a bucket of shit, but then you're free to do what you want."

"It's about the same for us," says the Soviet, "except that sometimes they run out of shit, and sometimes there aren't enough buckets, ... "
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:59 AM on March 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

Nthing that Smirnoff interview.

My favorite insider Jewish joke:

Sean O'Reilly misses his tee time one day but is invited to play with a group of rabbis. He agrees, only to find that hole for hole, shot for shot, these religious guys are blowing him out of the water. Any one of them could have won the PGA with the rounds they were hitting. So at the end of the game, he asks them: What's your secret?

The rabbis say that as Jews, they go to shul (synagogue) to pray three times a day. And in each prayer service there is a special prayer where you can ask God personal requests. So when they say this prayer, they always ask for a good golf game. And it works.

That night Sean announces to his wife that he is converting to Judaism. He studies for years, gets circumcised, makes the conversion and joins a shul. That week he invites the rabbis out for a round of golf.

The three rabbis play spectacularly, as always. But Shlomo (once Sean) can't seem to do any better than he always does. He's fine, but he's no Tiger Woods. So he asks the rabbis, "What did I do wrong?"

The rabbis ask him, "You say the prayer every day"
Shlomo says, "Yes I say the prayer every day."
The rabbis ask, "Three times a day?"
Shlomo says, "Yes, 3 times a day."
"And you make your request?"
The rabbis consider. Finally one speaks. "What shul did you join?"
Shlomo says "Beth Israel."
"Oh!!!" The rabbis all respond. "You idiot! Beth Israel's for tennis!!!"
posted by Mchelly at 9:07 AM on March 7, 2014 [6 favorites]

And my other favorite came from the comedian Rita Rudner: "I go to a very exclusive shul. They read from the Torah in French."
posted by Mchelly at 9:08 AM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I know a good Hungarian joke.

Recipe for an omelet, from the Hungarian cookbook. "To make an omelet," it says... "first, steal an egg."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:26 AM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love these.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:56 AM on March 7, 2014

From fimble's awesome East German jokes link.

How can you tell that the Stasi has bugged your apartment?

There's a new cabinet in it and a trailer with a generator in the street.

Actual guffaw.


What's the best feature of a Trabant?

There's a heater at the back to keep your hands warm when you're pushing it.

posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:33 AM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

My favorite Trabi joke:

Do you know how you can double the value of your Trabant?
Fill the gas tank.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:05 PM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm having trouble finding proof, but the joke at the beginning of "Death and The Penguin" was definitely used by Morecambe & Wise in the mid 80's and involved a lobster.
posted by cromagnon at 12:33 PM on March 7, 2014

Those Trabant jokes transferred easily to Skodas/Ladas in the 90s.
posted by tracicle at 12:34 PM on March 7, 2014

A train is chugging along through the USSR, with one car containing a young woman, an old woman, a Czech, and a Russian officer. It enters a tunnel, and there is in that same car the sound of a loud kiss, followed by a slap!

The old woman thinks, "Now there is a girl with fine, upstanding moral values."

The young woman thinks "How strange that the offer kissed the old woman instead of me."

The officer thinks, "That Czech is a smart fellow- he steals a kiss and I get slapped!"

The Czech thinks, "Perfect- I kiss my hand and slap a Russian and get away with it!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:34 PM on March 7, 2014 [16 favorites]

Still my favourite of the DDR jokes:

Erich Honecker was visiting a beef farm in Mecklenburg, which had 40 000 head of cattle. After touring the farm, he asked, "What do you do with the manure?"

The foreman explained, "We are working on an experimental process that will take the manure and turn it into thick, smooth, pure butter."

Honecker took a packet from the foreman, opened it, took a bite and spit it out in disgust. "That tastes like cowshit!"

"Well, yes," replied the foreman. "But that's a minor detail that we're working on."
posted by frimble at 2:29 PM on March 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

An old Armenian is on his deathbed: "My children, treasure the Jews." "Why Jews?" "Because once they are dealt with, we will be next."

Whew! That one packs a whole lot of intensity into just a couple lines.
posted by redsparkler at 7:16 PM on March 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

How has nobody linked to Old Jews Telling Jokes yet? It is the best.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:46 PM on March 9, 2014

« Older succulent cupcakes   |   From ME alright? They learned it from watching me! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments