Radio Yerevan jokes

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For public broadcaster earlier known as Radio Yerevan, see International Public Radio of Armenia

Radio Yerevan, or Armenian Radio jokes have been very popular in the Soviet Union and in other Communist countries of the ex-Eastern bloc since the second half of the 20th century.

These jokes of Q&A type are allegedly from the Question & Answer series of the Armenian Radio. A typical format of a joke was:

The Armenian Radio was asked: "<...>"
The Armenian Radio answers: "<...>".

Once established, this "headline" became a standard format of many Q&A jokes, and it is often difficult to recognize what was the original format of the joke. A further problem, or asset, with these jokes is that as many were passed from ear to mouth, they changed accordingly over time. Often the first step was affirming with "In principle yes" and then adding an explanation after the famous "but".

Examples of different structured Radio Yerevan jokes:

  • no but (living standards)
The Armenian Radio was asked: "Is it possible to enjoy life to the fullest in the Soviet Union?"
The Armenian Radio answers: "Yes, if you like crowded trains."
  • with the famous but (sex)
The Armenian Radio was asked: "Is it good to sleep with an open window?"
The Armenian Radio answers: "Yes, but with a woman it is better."
  • typical formulation (censorship)
The Armenian Radio was asked: "Is it true that in Moscow, Mercedes cars are being given to citizens?"
The Armenian Radio answers: "Yes, but it is not Moscow but Leningrad, not Mercedes but Ladas, and not given to but stolen from." (This was even funnier in the Hungarian version where the main pun was the similarity of the words osztogatnak "they give them away" and fosztogatnak "they rob them".)
The Armenian Radio was asked: "Is it true that comrade cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's car was stolen in Moscow during the celebrations?"
The Armenian Radio answers: "In principle yes, but it was not in Moscow, rather in Kiev, and it was not his car, but his bike and it was not comrade cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, but comrade highschool teacher Gagarin and his first name was not Yuri, but Leonid..."
  • political jokes
The Armenian Radio was asked: "Has poet Mayakovsky committed suicide?"
The Armenian Radio answers: "We don't know, but his last words were Don't shoot, comrades!".

Outside the Soviet Union, mostly jokes of the political kind were known. Within the Soviet Union, the range of jokes covered all standard matters subject to humorous interpretation: mothers-in-law, sex, national stereotypes, etc.

Q: Is it true that in Romania...
A: (barging in) Yes, it is.
Q: Why do we need two central newspapers, Pravda (Truth) and Izvestiya (News) if both are organs of the same Party?
A: Because in Pravda there is no news, and in Izvestiya there is no truth.
Q: Why do some people say that Hungarians love the Russians and hate the Americans?
A: Because Russians helped Hungarians to get rid of one totalitarian rule, but Americans don't help to get rid of the other.
Q: Why have Solzhenitsyn, Brodsky, Bukovsky, and other dissidents been exiled from the country?
A: Don't you know that the best products are always selected for export?
Q: We are told that the communism is already seen at the horizon. Then, what is a horizon?
A: A horizon is an imaginary line which moves away each time you approach it.
Q: Why do we have to carry the ID booklet to the grocery to be given the baloney quota ?
A: So you can keep the quota of salami in it until you get home.
Q: Why is our government not in a hurry to land our men on the moon?
A: What if they refuse to return?
Q: Got married today. Can you give me some advice ?
A: Too late.
Q: Is it possible to build socialism in Switzerland?
A: It's possible, but why? Did Switzerland really do something wrong to you?
Q: A recent European poll says that 20% of men would cheat on their wives in Germany. Is this true ?
A: Yes, the remaining 80% live in the other European countries.
Q: Whenever we go on vacation, my husband keeps chasing skirts. What can I do ?
A: Take your next vacation in Scotland.
Q: What is communism?
A: It's when everything will be available in stores. In other words, like it was under the Tsar Nicholas the Second.


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