Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Communist Jokes

Ben Lewis, author of Hammer and Tickle: A Cultural History of Communism, collected hundreds if not thousands of jokes by Russians and Eastern Europeans about the Communist experience. Lewis believes these jokes are unique in that each topic implicitly links back to a general critique of the whole communist system. Here are a few of them:

Who dug the White Sea canal?
The right back was dug by those who told jokes...
And the left bank?
By those who listened.

What is the difference between Stalin and Roosevelt?
Roosevelt collects the jokes that people tell about him, and Stalin collects the people who tell jokes about him.

An old housewive joins a queue: "What are they giving out?"
Person in queue: "A slap in the face."
Old housewife: "To everyone? Or just Stakhanovites?"

Who invented barbed wife?
Lysenko, who crossed a snake with a hedgehog.

Will there be a police force when we have achieved full Communism?
No, by then people will have learned how to arrest themselves.

What is the definition of Capitalism?
The exploitation of man by man.
What is the definition of Communism?
The exact opposite.

Trotsky wakes up in the morning.
"How are you?" an assistant asks.
"I don't know," he says. "I haven't read the papers yet."

What were Mayakovsky's last words before he committed suicide?
"Comrades, don't shoot!"

What's the new sign in Kiev hospitals?
Anyone who has come in for radiation therapy, please go outside.

Do you know why Romania will survive the end of the world?
Because it is fifty years behind everyone else.

What is the difference between a Western fairy tale and a Communist one?
The Western one begins, "Once upon a time there was...", and the Communist one begins, "Once upon a time there will be..."

How will the problem of queues in shops be solved when we reach full Communism?
There will be nothing left to queue for.

What are the most constant problems facing the Soviet economy?
Temporary problems.

What is the difference between life in the time of Jesus and life today?
In those days one man suffered for us all. Today we all suffer for one man.

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