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Foreign Jokes?

 
town drunk
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Something Ernest said in another thread about 'foreign humor' brings this on. It seems that certain jokes can only be appreciated by certain cultures. For example, my international friends(esp. those from Eastern Europe) usually fall out of their chairs with the following. North American friends hear all the words and understand them, but they just don't find it funny.


After Karl Marx died, they were waiting for him in Hell. They had special torture equipment set up, and were ready to go go go. They started torturing him right away, with great enthusiasm, for centuries on end.

Finally, he got used it. He started to protest: after all, what were they going to do, torture him? He gathered his fellow sinners to him, started getting them organized, and pretty soon, there were mass protests in hell.

The Devil, not knowing what to do, called up the ArchAngel Gabriel.

"Gab, this guy is messing up my operation down here. He's got everyone in an uproar, my demons are beside themselves, the whole place is falling apart"

Gabriel: "Ok, don't worry about it. Send him up, I'll give a quite spot, and he'll shut up.".

So, Gabriel pulls Marx up into Heaven, puts him in a secluded spot, and goes about his business.

Marx wanders about heaven for a bit, observing all the saintly people. Finally, he stops and starts to speak to them.

"You! Your son is burning in Hell. And you, your mother is burning in Hell. How can you call yourself good people, knowing that your loved ones are suffering? They are your brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers. Unite! Free them! ..." and so on.

Soon, everyone is Heaven is marching, organizing, and protesting.

Gabriel is besides himself. His job is to keep these people happy, yet they're miserable, and he can't do anything about it.

Gabriel call up GOD.

"WHAT IS IT?"

"I'm sorry Lord, but this Marx guy is causing trouble down here, and I can't seem to stop him"

"BRING HIM TO ME"

So Gabriel flies Marx up to the eight level of Heaven, and tosses Marx over the border to the ninth level (where he's not allowed), to be with God.

A timeless eternity passes with no mention of Marx: However, Gabriel can't quite seem to forget the little looney. Finally, he works up the courage to ask GOD about Marx.

"Lord"

"WHAT IS IT?"

"I'm sorry to bother you, but what ever happened to Marx?"

"WHOM?"

"Marx. Karl Marx"

pause..

"YOU MEAN COMRADE MARX!"

[ June 09, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
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I think if you told that joke with Richard Stallman instead of Karl Marx, I'd crack up.
 
Max Habibi
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Yeah, but Comrade Stallman isn't really as funny

M
[ June 09, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
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Most Russian jokes are pretty short. Here are four examples:

The husband asks his wife:
-- Did your boss call you on the carpet today?
-- Yes, how did you guess?
-- You've got patterns on your back.


News on the radio:
-- The prostitutes in the mining town signed a petition to demand that the miners get paid back wages.


-- Ukraine sent her armed forces to Iraq.
-- Why?
-- So that they don't misbehave at home.


Two Jewish moms talk:
-- You know, my son went to a psychiatrist and was diagnozed with the Oedipus Syndrome.
-- Eh, Oedipus, Schmodipus, he loves his mommy, that's what matters.
[ June 09, 2004: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
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A joke involving Richard Stallman, for those who haven't already heard it:

Richard Stallman, Larry Ellison, and Donald Knuth were sitting around discussing who the greatest programmer in the world was.

Richard Stallman said, "It's me. I programmed half of the open source software out there - the better half - and served as the inspiration for the other half. Besides, God appeared to me in a dream last night and told me that I was the greatest programmer in the world."

Larry Ellison responded, "He can't have said that! When I was on my yacht last Tuesday, programming optimization algorithms for the next version of Oracle, the clouds formed into the visage of God and He told me that it was I who was the greatest programmer in the world!"

At which point Donald Knuth exclaimed, "Wait a minute! I don't remember telling either one of you guys that you were the greatest programmer in the world!"
 
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Max: For example, my international friends(esp. those from Eastern Europe) usually fall out of their chairs with the following. North American friends hear all the words and understand them, but they just don't find it funny.

I was going to give a quote about theories of humor, but found it here:
https://coderanch.com/t/38508/md/Rated-Very-Typical-Russian-Joke

I think, your joke about Marx belongs to the type II: "where humour is used to relief emotions or tension" in this case of living in a Marxist state. On the other hand, I don't find American jokes about lawyer particularly funny, as they didn't play such a prominent role in the Soviet society. Unless there is something "translatable", probably close to the type III.

"How much do you charge for an hour", - asks a client his lawyer.
"$150" - answers he.
"So much?"
"Yes. What is your third question?"
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Max: For example, my international friends(esp. those from Eastern Europe) usually fall out of their chairs with the following. North American friends hear all the words and understand them, but they just don't find it funny.

I was going to give a quote about theories of humor, but found it here:
https://coderanch.com/t/38508/md/Rated-Very-Typical-Russian-Joke

I think, your joke about Marx belongs to the type II: "where humour is used to relief emotions or tension" in this case of living in a Marxist state.



Small world, I'm familiar with the information you cited. I would think, however, that it was more of a cat 1 joke(The superiority-theory), as it appeals to a common base of knowledge( namely, the beguiling properties of Marx's writing, and how they might have affected impressionable and kind youth who were exposed to them).

M
 
Mapraputa Is
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Wouldn't then your North American friends who understood it find it even funnier than Eastern Europeans? Like Warren's joke, part of enjoyment is that it is for "insiders".
[ June 09, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Wouldn't then your North American friends who understood it find it even funnier than Eastern Europeans? Like Warren's joke, part of enjoyment is that it is for "insiders".

[ June 09, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]



I don't think it's a matter of understanding, I think it's a matter of relating. Let's put this is perspective: you might understand staying up night with a broken heart, or you might relate to it. Two different experiences, no?

I think this latter bit, the relating, was @ the heart of what Ernest was talking about. It's simply hard to do with a culture that's alien.
[ June 09, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Ah, now I got it! You are probably right. I forgot that Marx's ideas can still affect somebody. In my experience they were taught so that flies fell down dead from boredom.

Which misunderstanding only proves your thesis about difficutly with relating to an alien culture.
 
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and then of course there are the massive volumes of jokes that make sense only in their original language because they're based on wordplay or very local events which is impossible to translate and don't travel well.

Usually those are pretty short.

This is a borderline case, told by a Dutch standup comedian (Dutch people will I think recognise the style) in the 1980s.

The concrete pole which was thrown from a bridge at president Reagan has caused reactions around the world.
Prime Minister Thatcher spoke of murder, Prime Minister Lubbers spoke of a concrete pole.

Without knowing the persona in question, the joke makes no sense.
 
Warren Dew
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:

I would think, however, that it was more of a cat 1 joke(The superiority-theory), as it appeals to a common base of knowledge( namely, the beguiling properties of Marx's writing, and how they might have affected impressionable and kind youth who were exposed to them).

Is it marxists or antimarxists who find the joke funny?

For marxists, I can see it being a type 1 joke, as the punchline has Marx winning.

For antimarxists, I think it is type 2, as the punchline is about God losing.
[ June 10, 2004: Message edited by: Warren Dew ]
 
Max Habibi
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The joke isn't about anyone winning or losing: That, also, must be lost in the foreignness of the joke.

Marxist? I didn't know there were any left.

M
 
Mapraputa Is
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According to The Russian Dilettante Reagan allegedly collected Russian jokes about himself. Here is one (you might need to scroll down) with some interesting comments.
 
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