How-to coubs: 5 ways to crack jokes in Russian

Let Russian movies teach you how to be funny

It's April Fools’ Day! Soviet movies are all about having a laugh, so watch, enjoy and learn.

1. Not every threat is a threat. But don't forget to point out that it's a joke. (‘Kidnapping, Caucasian Style’, 1967)

- What did he say? (Что он сказал?)
- He said, if you refuse, they’ll slaughter you. (Он сказал, если вы откажетесь, они вас зарежут.)
- It's a joke. (Шутка.)

2. A silly innocent joke can be appropriate for any situation, even if you are applying for a job. (‘Courier’, 1986)

- Are you done writing? Let's read it out. "I was born in Languedoc province in 1668." Write it again. (Написал? Давай почитаем. Я родился в провинции Лангедок в 1668 году. Пиши снова.)
- I was trying to crack a joke. (Я пошутить хотел.)
- I understood. (Я понял.)

3. Every joke has a target. (‘Beware of the Car’, 1966)

- I’m doomed! An investigator has come to my place. (Я погиб, ко мне приходил следователь.)
- They are going to lock you up, and you won’t steal. (Тебя посадят, а ты не воруй.)
- Semyon Vasilyevich, you're in my home. (Семен Васильевич, вы же у меня в доме.)
- Jail is your home. (Твой дом – тюрьма.)
- Dad, your soldier's humor is inappropriate today. (Папа, твои казарменные шутки сегодня неуместны.)

4. Find the right moment for your joke. (‘Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears’, 1980)

- No, I can’t today. I’m going with my family to the countryside. Which road are we taking? (Нет, сегодня не могу, мы сегодня всей семьей на дачу едем. По какой дороге?)
- An asphalted one. (По асфальтированной.)

5. Russian humor is limitless, but remember this simple truth. (‘The Very Same Munchhausen’, 1979)

- They say humor is good. A joke makes you live longer. (Говорят ведь, юмор, он полезный. Шутка, мол, жизнь продлевает.)
- It does not help everyone. Those who laugh live longer, and those who wisecrack live less. (Не всем. Тем, кто смеется, продлевает, а тому, кто острит, укорачивает.)

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