(and my book of ethnic jokes is way too old - from time when they trained marathon runners to give best performance by having 'Finish line' at border with Finland, and when people had to tell name, addres, and next of kin to write letter to editor of Pravda - all old stuff!)
Being that the vast majority of us here are western men trying to make connections with FSU women and their familes, it is completely useless, disrespectful and utter bad manners for any of us to crack jokes about FSU people and their life situations like we do with our own western lives and countries.
Even those with plenty of FSU travel experience will refrain from making jokes at the expense of the very same people they're trying to befriend.
On the other hand, I'd like to read Pitchka's or Marinka's versions of the popular jokes of their land.
A russian man walks into a bar and sees a glass bowl filled up with rubles. He asks the bartender what's that about. The bartender says, "We're having a contest to win the money but no one has won it for 2 years. You must complete three tasks to win it." What must I do? replies the man. The bartender says, "First you must drink 5 bottles of vodka within an hour. Second you must go out the backdoor and pull an infected tooth from the pitbull dog chained up in the yard. Third, the owner of the bar is an old woman who hasn't had sex in twenty years.You must go upstairs and have sex till she is satisfied." So the man decides to try it. He buys 5 bottles of vodka and sits at the table. He starts chugging away at them and 45 minutes later they're gone. Then he staggers out the back door to the dog. Everyone in the bar was laughing when they were hearing the screams of pain from the dog and the man. An hour later the man comes back in with a hundred badly bleeding dog bites and staggers to the bartender and says,"Now where's that old lady with a sore tooth".
We, Russians, tend to believe that humor prolong life. Self-criticism and the ability to laugh at oneself have always been the peculiarities of Russian humor. When making jokes at other nations the Russians can easily fool around, tease, play jokes on their own nation. I don't think that back in the USA heroes of American anecdotes are ready to admit their defeat and to lose. They just get into funny situations with representatives of other countries. Correct me if I am mistaken.
E.g.: one of the most popular anecdote characters is Russian Ivan-the-Fool, who finds the most stupid solutions in ordinary situations (speaking name). Sure, these anecdotes are not very complimentary, but there is moral hidden under this or that joke. Russians resort to irony to strike at their weak points, they mock at such phenomena as meanness, idleness, folly, improvidence, etc.
Any comic public event turns into an anecdote, or joke played at different humor festivals.
Most peoples of each country do the same thing.
Humor does prolong life!!
A chinese family lived on the street where I grew up and one of the elders was this tiny shriveld old man whose favorite thing to teach all the kids in the neighborhood was "never let anyone rob your sense of humor" and "a man who laughs 100 times per day lives to be 100 years old (even if he doesn't want to)
Though we may not be looking for examples, here are some I have run across and have posted in previous posts.
Humour is one the quickest ways to know a culture, in my opinion.
Three people are in a prison camp, and decided to compare reasons for being sent there.
The first one says: "I was late for work, so I was arrested for sabotage."
The second one says: "I was early, so I was arrested for spying."
The third one says: "I was on time; I was arrested for buying a foreign watch off the black market."
Why did the Estonian put on a gas mask when a nuclear bomb landed on Moscow?
To hide his smile
Why do Russians have a long life expectancy?
He who suffers will live a long life
A political activist named Dave was just arriving in Hell, and was told he had a choice to make. He could go to Capitalist Hell or to Communist Hell.
Naturally, Dave wanted to compare the two, so he wandered over to Capitalist Hell. There outside the door was Rockerfeller, looking bored. "What`s it like in there?" asked Dave. "Well," he replied , "In Capitalist Hell, they flay you alive, boil you in oil, chain you to a rock and let a vulture tear your liver out, and cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives."
"That`s terrible!!" gasped Dave. "I`m going to check out Communist Hell!" He went over to Communist Hell, where he discovered a huge line of people waiting to get in; the line circled around the lobby seven times before receding off into the horizon. Dave pushed his way through to the head of the line, where he found Karl Marx busily signing people in. Dave asked Karl what Communist Hell was like.
"In Communist Hell," said Marx impatiently, "they flay you alive, boil you in oil, chain you to a rock and let vultures tear out your liver, and cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives."
"But ... but that`s the same as Capitalist Hell!" protested Dave.
"True," sighed Marx, "but sometimes we don`t have oil, sometimes we don`t have knives ..."
Humor can be very different here...very and very...Odessa humor for example is very specific and not all people here do understand it, but I think that Odessa humor is very alive and funny:)))
Popular jokes...when jokes become popular personally I get bored when hearing them. And as for as I know my friends also don't want to hear to any jokes and anekdotes that are repeated for several months already.
Also note that in each company there are jokes which only they understand, and they may laugh like idiots (seams to other people) when there is nothing funny. They will understand but the main part of humor is held in the behaviour and expression of words or faces which have been when the joke was originated...
To my mind one can get bored when reading anecdotes in jest-books or newspapers. Any funny story/anecdote, even "bearded" one will never lose its humor value being told in a company. We also can't leave out the narrator's skills (vivid imagination, acting technique, wittiness), which help him make a brilliant display of eloquence. For example one of my friends is always asked to tell one and the same anecdote because everybody likes the way he acts when telling it. And good memory! Personally I can never remember good anecdotes :o(
Ivan the fool? Never heard of him. But in the US we had our own village idiot. Bill Clinton and you cant say americans don't have a sense of humor, we elected him to two terms! I wonder how his book is selling in Russia? Is it in the humor section or science fiction?
Nasfan, I am not sure about the rating in Russia, but I read somewhere that Clinton's "My Life" breaks all the selling records in the US. More than 400 thousand copies have already been sold. There are a lot of people with good sense of humor all over the world, as the editor demanded another 725 copies should be printed. Is Former President known to be a good storyteller? I guess, yes, otherwise how one can read 957 pages without getting board?
Probably Hillary's 8 million dollars for her memoir was a good stimulus for Mr. President
Ivan the fool is the more frequent character of fairy tales then of anekdotes, of course IMHO:) As for beareded anekdotes, Marinka let me disagree with you. For me it's really boring when somebody says "and I know the anekdote..." and starts telling the anekdote which my dad told me, no matter how good the telling may be, it's not too good to hear such anekdotes IMHO.
In Russia anecdotes about MOTHER-IN-LAW are very popular:
The mother-in-law was dying. She said to her son-in-law, "I had been a good mother-in-law for you. Please, promise to fulfil my last wish. I want to be buried in the Red Square. Under the mattress I have ten thousand rubles, all my life savings. Take them and spend them to get me buried in the Red Square."
The son-in-law took the money and left. In a few hours he came back, and said, "You'll get what you wish. Don't ask how I managed that, just they said you must be there tomorrow by noon, sharp!"
Yes Marinka is correct, the anekdotes about mother-in-law are very popular, also the anekdotes about Englishman German and Russian drinking, or getting into some adventures and how they cope with them are also rather popular:)
As for Odessa humor, once on a market a woman was selling a chicken
"look at this chicken, her legs are like legs of a super model":)
:))) Yes I heard that too!! And there is such a great anekdote which unfortunately impossible to translate in English, because the play of words will be lost, and this is the problem with many many great anekdotes unfortunately.