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geofizz56
03-11-2003, 19:02
My Russian co-workers occasionally (okay, rarely) tell jokes. Even when they explain them, I don't see the humor. Am I just not getting it, or is Russian humor incomprehensible to Westerners?

Can someone please enlighten me with examples and explanations?

natalia_apple
03-11-2003, 19:31
sorry, it IS incomprehensible to most westerners....

Maine Surfer
04-11-2003, 05:46
It is possible . A friend of mine has done it. An American, she's spent 8 years in Russia, speaks nearly perfect Russian and has lived with Russian families all these years. She's been studying Russian culture and history, so you can't call her a typical expat. In order to understand Russian humor, one needs to "fully submerge" for quite some time into Russian lifestyle, live it from inside out.

I think quite some expats on this site understand it. It's not alien humor, it's just Russian, although after 8 years away from moterland, I start losing it myself :confused:

natalia_apple
04-11-2003, 05:56
not a terrible loss

Maine Surfer
04-11-2003, 06:16
Bravo Natasha :D I don't think it is either

jheisel
04-11-2003, 13:59
Actually, most of it is just not very funny.

geofizz56
04-11-2003, 14:40
Thanks - that's what I thought, but was afraid my cultural bias was showing.

So - can anyone please translate a joke that Russians find funny, and explain why?

DJ Biscuit
04-11-2003, 15:17
I have been here many many years. All my friends are Russians, practically the only contact I have with expats is on this site and I have noticed over the years that a lot of jokes are simply not funny, or very base or basic. But the majority are the same as western/USA/British jokes, almost translations, same term, personage and punch line.

natalia_apple
04-11-2003, 15:18
only Russian jokes sometimes are more shauvinistic

natalia_apple
04-11-2003, 15:23
nothing funny at all

Tintin
04-11-2003, 15:28
Toilet humour.

Don't tell me I have to explain it to you.....? (!)

DJ Biscuit
04-11-2003, 15:29
Yeah, a lot of Russian jokes like English are a play on words like the above joke, so unless you have agood command of Russian you wont understand, and when a joke and misunderstood words are explained the humour has gone. Thus also culture plays a large part. Essex girl means nothing in Russian for example :)

Tintin
04-11-2003, 15:37
You're dead right DJ.

Mind you - somethings do translate. Respect to the guy who thought up the translation for "Biggus Dickus" from Monty Python's "Life of Brian"

........"Magnus Phallus".

Kshisya
04-11-2003, 16:11
Originally posted by geofizz56
My Russian co-workers occasionally (okay, rarely) tell jokes. Even when they explain them, I don't see the humor. Am I just not getting it, or is Russian humor incomprehensible to Westerners?

Can someone please enlighten me with examples and explanations?

ermmmmmmm:rolleyes: i FinK ...DAT:rolleyes: humor/a joke do not have nationality *griN* it's either funny or not...SIMPLE

*trying to remeber that one CAN'TTTTT badmouth in "Cafe"* *deep sigh*

Facts:
1. co-workers tell you jokesRARELY
2. ppl have to explain jokes to you:eek: you ask them to?????? :confused:
3. you don't get a joke EVEN after they explain :rolleyes:
4. you addressed ppl on some site to
enlighten you with examples and blablabla....

Diagnosis:
No worries;) you just dont have sence of humor. Some ppl can live without ...and for pretty long :p

what a bore *rolls eyes*

DJ Biscuit
04-11-2003, 16:19
Yeah, and also some humour is just not funny or less funny than other humour. Benny Hill is not funny, Blackadder is funny (though I am sure this would not translate as well as Benny Hill)

Some humour IS cultural, you have to be Russian or live here a long time to understand/appreciate 'Astarozhna Modern 2' for example.

Kshisya
04-11-2003, 16:30
DJ i agree there ARE some cultural jokes...however my experience shows that mostly ppl "speak one language" when tell jokes ...and very often jokes in oter langages sound as if they really were translated from my own...

regarding the guy who started the thread i do think he just lacks sence of humor in general...as knowing "Russian collegues" (f*** the spelling;)) they wouldn't give up telling jokes till find something funny to entertain the guy...must be the useless case if they do IT rearly ;)

DJ Biscuit
04-11-2003, 16:35
Ms.K I agree, most jokes are the same the world over as well as universal themes, sex, death, drugs, drink, accidents and so on, happens every where. To paraphrase a Russian saying 'a joke in Africa is a joke.'

If you haven't got humour you haven't got humour, end of story.

Tintin
04-11-2003, 17:07
Originally posted by Kshisya
DJ i agree there ARE some cultural jokes...however my experience shows that mostly ppl "speak one language" when tell jokes ...and very often jokes in oter langages sound as if they really were translated from my own...

regarding the guy who started the thread i do think he just lacks sence of humor in general...as knowing "Russian collegues" (f*** the spelling;)) they wouldn't give up telling jokes till find something funny to entertain the guy...must be the useless case if they do IT rearly ;)

Cool your boots K,

So far we have agreed that some humour is universal, some humour is cultural-specific and some people don't have a sense of humour at all (mentioning no names).

But the question remains......is Russian humour funny? So far people don't seem to think so but then that's subjective, right? I don't think the first post was ignorant at all.

investor
04-11-2003, 17:31
Oh c'mon russian jokes are very funny. It is all matters of mentality. Surely you will never understand why half of the jokes are about Vovocha or Vasily Ivanoch. Or sometimes it is pretty hard for russian even to understand jokes about Hitler.

But I guess that jokes about blondes are universal. ;-))

DJ Biscuit
04-11-2003, 17:34
New Year's Day morning every one is in bed sleeping off the hangover apart from the very young son (toddler) crawling about the apartment. He finds an empty bottle of vodka on the floor from last night, sniffs it and recognising the smell happily says 'Papa!'

geofizz56
04-11-2003, 17:35
Thank you, TinTin. I actually do have a sense of humor, and have managed to understand jokes from Argentina to Malaysia. But Russian humor has so far baffled me. Sorry to have offended some on the board by trying to understand.

Kshisya
04-11-2003, 17:40
Originally posted by Tintin
Cool your boots K,

So far we have agreed that some humour is universal, some humour is cultural-specific and some people don't have a sense of humour at all (mentioning no names).

But the question remains......is Russian humour funny? So far people don't seem to think so but then that's subjective, right? I don't think the first post was ignorant at all.

:rolleyes: men....*sigh* ..."cool your boots"...the very right way to address Our Royal Highness:rolleyes: :p

okay *putting right hand on The Bible* getting straight to the point -> Russian humour IS very FUNNY :D and it is Our humble opinion and more than subjective point of view :p

Kshisya
04-11-2003, 17:46
Originally posted by geofizz56
Thank you, TinTin. I actually do have a sense of humor, and have managed to understand jokes from Argentina to Malaysia. But Russian humor has so far baffled me. Sorry to have offended some on the board by trying to understand.

myabe you are just cold *concerned look*...its getting clder and colder day by day...and you know it might affect....:rolleyes: :eek: ...nu ;) lotsa stuff :D...so you dear better get ready to frosts ...etc...dont freez to ya bOnes ;)

Tintin
04-11-2003, 17:48
OK OK! I have to admit I find Russian humour funny.

Kshisya
04-11-2003, 17:54
Originally posted by Tintin
OK OK! I have to admit I find Russian humour funny.

hehe nice that you admit :D i wonder how would you dare to object Our Royal Opinion :p it might cost ya life :p

Intourist
04-11-2003, 18:24
Originally posted by geofizz56
My Russian co-workers occasionally (okay, rarely) tell jokes. Even when they explain them, I don't see the humor. Am I just not getting it, or is Russian humor incomprehensible to Westerners?

Can someone please enlighten me with examples and explanations?

Can I add my two kopecks ? I'll preface my comments by saying that I find Russian humor as funny as "Western" humor. I use quotes since I, personally, use that to mean American in my given case, but I would note that many Western Europeans have differing senses of humor amongst themselves. Would anyone here argue, for example, that Brits and Yanks have very different senses of humor despite using one language ? Me thinks not.

Anyway, as someone mentioned earlier, there are indeed a lot of the same jokes everywhere. The problem, I think, outside of word-plays and culturally specific jokes, is translation. Russian and English are exceptionally different languages where word to word translatin most always leads to a non-native sounding translation. Humor requires precision. A lot of what makes a joke funny is the delivery. A few words used incorrectly throws the whole thing off-balance. Few and far between are those who have the language skills in both Russian and English to accurately deliver a punchline in said languages.

For those of you who do read and understand both languages, see if you can find the same version of a joke in both languages (you can, quite easily) and look at how different they are worded.

Last, I would add that if English language websites are any indicator of "Western" humor, one can understand why Russians feel that foreigners have no sense of humor either.

Regards,
Intour

P.S. If we really had that different a sense of humor, would we really enjoy (have fun) participating in exchanges on this site ?