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    Jokes under communism were shaped by the cultures that produced them, as they are anywhere else. For the Czechs, a sense of humour encapsulated a type of national resilience. East German jokes, meanwhile, tended to be touchingly self-deprecating. And yet there was a pan-communist umbrella of comedy that stood above national distinctions, just as the international socialist project itself did. What ultimately defined the genre was less the purpose it served than its style. The communist joke was by nature deadpan and absurdist—because it was born of an absurd system which created a yawning gap between everyday experience and propaganda. Yet sometimes, through jokes, both communists and their opponents could carry on a debate about the failings of communism.

    Declassified CIA Soviet Jokes

    Ronald Reagan tells Soviet Jokes.

    The bitter joke in Russia today: “My grandfather served time for telling a joke, I’m going to serve time for sharing memes.”

    Hammer & Tickle by Ben Lewis 

    Trailer to documentary Hammer & Tickle: The Communist Joke Book

    Example of joke from Hammer & Tickle the book:

    A man dies and goes to hell. There he discovers that he has a choice: he can go to capitalist hell or to communist hell. Naturally, he wants to compare the two, so he goes over to capitalist hell. There outside the door is the devil, who looks a bit like Ronald Reagan. “What’s it like in there?” asks the visitor. “Well,” the devil replies, “in capitalist hell, they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives.”

    “That’s terrible!” he gasps. “I’m going to check out communist hell!” He goes over to communist hell, where he discovers a huge queue of people waiting to get in. He waits in line. Eventually he gets to the front and there at the door to communist hell is a little old man who looks a bit like Karl Marx. “I’m still in the free world, Karl,” he says, “and before I come in, I want to know what it’s like in there.”

    “In communist hell,” says Marx impatiently, “they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil, and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives.”

    “But… but that’s the same as capitalist hell!” protests the visitor, “Why such a long queue?”

    “Well,” sighs Marx, “Sometimes we’re out of oil, sometimes we don’t have knives, sometimes no hot water…”





    Russian jokes about Ukrainians.

    Ukrainians are depicted as rustic, stingy, and inordinately fond of salted salo (pork back fat); their accent, which is imitated in jokes, is perceived as funny.

    • A Ukrainian tourist is questioned at international customs: “Are you carrying any weapons or drugs?” / “What are drugs?” / “They make you get high.” / “Yes, salo.” / “But salo is not a drug.” / “When I eat salo, I get high!”
    • A Ukrainian is asked: “Can you eat a kilo of apples?” / “Yes, I can.” / “Can you eat two kilos of apples?” / “I can.” / “And five kilos?” / “I can.” / “Can you eat 100 kilos?!” / “What I cannot eat, I will nibble!”
    • A Ukrainian and an African student live together in a room. The African is poor and hungry, but the Ukrainian has received a food package from parents. So he takes out a can of borscht, a big loaf of bread with butter, a big piece of salo, onion, a bottle of gorilka (vodka) and begins to eat. The African looks at him jealously. The Ukrainian asks: “Are you hungry ?” / “Yes, very hungry !” / “Sorry, I don’t have bananas.”

    Ukrainians are perceived to bear a grudge against Russians (derided as Moskali by Ukrainians):

    • The Soviet Union has launched the first man into space. A Hutsul shepherd, standing on top of a hill, shouts over to another shepherd on another hill to tell him the news. “Mykola!” / “Yes!” / “The moskali have flown to space!” / “All of them?” / “No, just one.” / “So why are you bothering me then?” (An oral version may end at the “all of them” sentence, said in a hopeful tone).



    Another Soviet Joke

    A man goes to the official agency to purchase a car, puts down his money and is told that he can take delivery of his automobile in exactly 10 years.

    ”Morning or afternoon?” the purchaser asks. ”Ten years from now, what difference does it make?” replies the clerk.

    ”Well,” says the car-buyer, ”the plumber’s coming in the morning.”

    And, another.

    A party official asks a farmer how things are going, and the farmer replies that the harvest is so bountiful that the potatoes would reach the ”foot of God” if piled on top of one another.

    ”But this is the Soviet Union,” says the commissar, ”there is no God here.” The farmer replies, ”That’s all right, there are no potatoes, either.”



    A man is eaten by Leonid Brezhnev, and as he crawls through his stomach, he meets Gustáv Husák.
    He asks him: “Comrade president, did Brezhnev eat you too?” Husák answers: “No, I came through the other side.”



    a pro regime one, you don’t get much of those…
    Yugoslavian and American are talking and American starts speaking of free speech.
    -In USA we can say whatever we want against our government. Can you say anything against Tito?
    No, but I don’t want to say anything against him.
    That’s it a genuine joke from the 70s I presume…

    And regular one
    -Comarade Tito, Sava Kovačević died.
    -oh, is it noon already?
    You have to be familiar with the People’s Liberation War (Partisan movement in Yugoslavia) for that one. Sava Kovačević was one of most prominent members of the Party and famous war hero. It was a public rumor that his death was the  result of an internal conflict in the party. Officially he died in battle against Germans and it was a heroic death.



    “Give me your watches”. The Red Army during their fairytale liberation were known in Poland for stealing from people various stuff (even underpants), but they loved watches the most. 



    “Declassified and approved for release”
    “In the US jokes have to be approved by the CIA before they are released to the public”
    “Check appendix C for the correct explanations”
    “To be retold by licensed comedians at official, government approved venues only”
    “Unauthorised retelling of these jokes is a criminal offense.”
    “All logos and tradamarks belong to the federal government and the CIA, unless specifically stated otherwise”



    I just stumbled upon a satirical show from SFRY. I watched few years ago, but it didn’t come to my mind when this topic appeared. The show is called “Formula 1” and it’s from ’84. It’s after Tito’s death, when society in Yugoslavia was experiencing some changes. I was very surprised to find out something like this existed, especially when IMF and Yugoslavia’s 20 billion dollar dept is the most mentioned topic I came across. Sadly I can’t find full shows, only bits. This one is about functioners, party executives, members of various boards and other administrative big shots.
    I’ll try to paraphrase it:
    There are 50 000 functioners in the country, a small city. There are no poor people in that city, there are no social apartment buildings-everybody lives in villas and bigger houses, there’s no public transportation-everybody owns a car and so on… Only flaw is that it’s not a compact urban area, it stretches from Slovenia to Macedonia, from Northern Serbia to Croatian coast. But don’t worry, when we achieve full communism and everybody is a functioner, the whole country will become that city and the gaps in that urban area will be filled.

    Back then SFRY was still a one party socialistic country, the name of that party was League of Communists of Yugoslavia, Marxism was still taught in schools, there were still banned songs and films. Yugoslavia was always more liberal than other socialist countries in Europe, but I didn’t expect this even here.




    [delete this comment.the video didn’t show up, just link]



    Absolutely BRUTAL jokes (some of which seem to have been written by @aaaaa) by Slovene-American comedian Anthony Jeselnik. Fantastic.

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