Russian humour

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Russian humour gains much of its wit from the inflection of the Russian language, allowing for plays on words and unexpected associations. As with any other culture's humour, its vast scope ranges from lewd jokes and wordplay to political satire.

Jokes[edit]

The most popular form of Russian humour consists of jokes (анекдо́ты — anekdoty), which are short stories with a punch line. Typical of Russian joke culture is a series of categories with fixed and highly familiar settings and characters. Surprising effects are achieved by an endless variety of plots and plays on words.

Toasts[edit]

Drinking toasts can take the form of anecdotes or not-so-short stories, concluded with "So here's to..." with a witty punchline referring to the initial story.

Chastushka[edit]

Main article: Chastushka

A specific form of humour is chastushkas, songs composed of four-line rhymes, usually of lewd, humoristic, or satiric content.

Black humour[edit]

Apart from jokes, Russian humour is expressed in word play and short poems including nonsense and black humour verses, similar to some of the macabre "nursery rhymes" of Edward Lear.

Often they have recurring characters such as "little boy", "Vova", "a girl", "Masha". Most rhymes involve death or a painful experience either for the protagonists or other people. This type of joke is especially popular with children.

A little boy found a machine gun
Now the village population is none.
Маленький мальчик нашёл пулемёт —
Больше в деревне никто не живёт.
A boy played in the sandbox with no one to mind him,
When quietly a mixing truck pulled up behind him.
He peeped not a peep, cried out nary a cry —
Just his sandals stuck out when the concrete was dry.
Маленький мальчик в песочке играл,
Тихо подъехал к нему самосвал.
Не было слышно ни крика, ни стона —
Только сандали торчат из бетона.

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