Polish Humor

Excuse my pseudoscientific title today: I was writing my MA thesis all weekend and have been a little incalculable since then. In my humble opinion there are as many Polish “humors” as there are Polish people in the world and it is really difficult to generalize here.

Looking for some materials for my today’s entry I came across countless examples of Polish humor ranging from highly sophisticated to very crude or obscene. There are probably as many admirers of absurd humor Monty Python style as people for whom it’s enough to mention some sex organs in a joke to make them laugh.

The discussion questions I found quite often were: Can we laugh at ourselves and is there any taboo? Concerning taboo I’d say religion might still be one of these topics (especially Pope John Paul II) but not on the internet of course. Otherwise we laugh at all sorts of things. We are absolute experts at laughing at others, with special love for jokes about Germans and Russians, which are really not of the highest standards (like the German jokes about the Polish, though). I want to share one joke about different nationalities with you. Maybe not the funniest one but definitely telling a lot about our mentality and stereotypes, too:

  • The devil lured an Englishman, a Frenchman, a German and a Pole to the edge of a terrifying precipice. He approaches the Englishman and says:
    – Jump!
    – I won’t jump!
    – A gentleman would jump.
    The Englishman jumped. Now the devil approaches the Frenchman.
    – Jump!
    – I won’t jump!
    – A gentleman would jump.
    – I won’t jump!
    – But it’s absolutely in vogue right now!
    The Frenchman jumped. The devil comes up to the German and says:
    – Jump!
    – I won’t jump!
    – A gentleman would jump.
    – I won’t jump!
    – But it’s absolutely in vogue right now!
    – I won’t jump!
    – It’s an order!
    The German jumped. Now the devil approaches the Pole and says:
    – Jump!
    – I won’t jump!
    – A gentleman would jump.
    – I won’t jump!
    – But it’s absolutely in vogue right now!
    – I won’t jump!
    – It’s an order!
    – I won’t jump!
    – Ah, OK, so don’t jump!
    The Pole jumped.
  • Before you understand the next one, you have to watch this video (World Cup 2006 Poland against Colombia) in case you haven’t seen it yet:

    And now the joke:

  • The Colombian goalkeeper, Luis Enrique Martinez, enters the kitchen, where his wife is sitting. His wife asks:
    – Hi, darling! So, how badly did you lose against Poland?
    – We won! 2:1!
    – Yeah, right. You might wanna tell me that you scored a goal, too?
  • Well, if that’s not showing distance to oneself and ability to laugh at oneself! For those of you who aren’t convinced yet. Recently there have been plenty of new jokes about the huge wave of Polish emigration in Britain. Have a try:

  • 7 out 10 Poles live under stress. The remaining 3 live in the UK.
  • Or the one apparently told by the British in their pubs but quoted frequently on various Polish forums:

  • What’s the difference between ET and the Polish people?
    ET knew how to speak English, had a bike and wanted to go home.

I want to finish up my entry today in a bit more serious manner (humor is a serious matter, you know that, right?) by quoting a famous Polish poet, Antoni Słonimski, who once said: “God entrusted me with the humor of the Polish, sense of humor is antibiotics fatal for the virus of fanaticism”. I really liked this quote and agree that without sense of humor the world would be a gloomy place. Take care and laugh a lot!

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