Sounds unbelievable, right 🙂 Typically, in the Western imagination, Russians are sombre people, who live in cold places, dress in grey or brown, drink vodka in shots and rarely smile, much less laugh. I’ve found that much of this image is easy to dispel as an outdated Cold War stereotype. The image problem is exacerbated by the Russian habit of maintaining a poker face in public and a tendency towards, let’s say, a brusque manner. The irony is that Russians actually have a great sense of humour.
Whether you believe it or not, I am going to prove that it is so sharing my own experiences and observations.
HUMOUR AS NEWS
Being myself Russian, I start my day with pretty unusual portion of news. This is anekdot.ru – a brilliant site where Russian speaking people post their newly invented jokes and real-life funny stories. The charm of it is that reading these jokes, freshly created on the same day or the next day when something happened (in Russia or around the world) one can get the best update on the situation in a witty perspective. I wonder if there is such a site anywhere in the world? And if it is being used as a kind of a news portal?
An average Russians tells from 1 to 5 (some to 10) jokes A DAY! In my whole 12 years of living in Austria I have heard may be 1 or 2 jokes from people here (1 or 2 in 12 years!). I thinks, it’s pretty much same in many places. But Russia is different 🙂
There is a supposition that humor is being used as an “antidepressant” because, as commonly believed, “Russian life is hard.” Indeed, Russian humour is, most often, a self-deprecating and effective weapon against iniquity, injustice and pain, of which Russians have had extra helpings – especially in the last century or so.
A man is walking down the street with a spear through his chest. His friend runs up and says, “Wow! Does it hurt?”
“Only when I laugh,” comes the reply.
WHAT IS A RUSSIAN JOKE?
The most popular form of Russian humour consists of jokes (анекдоты — anekdoty), which are short stories with a punch line. Typical of Russian joke culture is a series of categories with fixed and highly familiar settings and characters. Surprising effects are achieved by an endless variety of plots and plays on words. (more…)