10 things that make Polish people laugh

THERE’S MORE LIKE THIS ON OUR NEW SITE – POLANDIAN.COM

Sensitive content warning: this post contains sexual references and swearing, which some people may find offensive.

There are some things that make everybody laugh regardless of their cultural background. There are, however, some differences in sense of humour between nations. Even in the English-speaking world, some things that are dead serious to Americans seem incredibly funny to the British (and probably vice-versa).
Here’s a subjective list of things that are guaranteed to make Poles laugh:

1. The Czech language

The thought that a language might make people laugh may sound surprising, but it’s true. The Czech language sounds ridiculously funny to the Polish ear. Although both languages derive from a common core and have many similarities they evolved for centuries on their own. Most Czech words sound to Poles like diminutives of their own words, pronounced with an awkward accent, which could be likened to dwarf-speak. What is more, many similar-looking and sounding words have completely different meanings. Simple notices about bus departures at a bus station in the Czech Republic can make a Polish person laugh like crazy; the Czech word for ‘departures’ means ‘faeces’ in Polish. ‘Laska’ (Czech for love) is Polish for ‘blow job.’ I could go on like this for a long time. Anything, which would be normally regarded as funny – when it has the Czech factor added – leads to Poles going completely mental.

An example of Czech language:

and again, with modern audio:

2. Foreign people speaking Polish

Foreign people speaking Polish, or foreign people generally, used to be a very rare thing in Poland. Hearing them speaking Polish is always entertaining. If you’re a foreigner and you want to make the atmosphere more relaxed, say something in Polish (and try to squeeze in some mistakes). Poles will be impressed by your effort to learn their language, that many people regard as difficult (but don’t be fooled, it’s pretty easy).

Example of foreign people speaking Polish:

3. Politics

Political jokes and political satire during communist times were a way of coping with the annoyances of the system. And there was always something to laugh about. There was a saying that Poland was “the merriest barrack in the communist camp.” This approach to politics continues today, and it has to be acknowledged that Polish politicians basically write scripts for comedians with their irrational acts.

Polish politics meets The Muppets

4. Poland

This might come as a surprise, but Poles love to laugh at themselves (but they don’t like it when others do so) and everything that is substandard, weird, awkward, broken, or baldly organised in this country.

5. Westerners

The way that westerners don’t understand some things about Polish reality makes many people laugh (and others sigh). Westerners used to be particularly funny in the past, when Polish reality was more complicated, and they were thought to be unable to comprehend it. The lost foreigner used to be a regular feature in Polish comedy films and series.

6. Hong Kong

Look how people laugh when you mention Hong Kong

7. Peasant people

Years of communism and appreciating the working class and peasant people didn’t really work on the Poles. Peasant people or unqualified workers are commonly associated with inarticulate language, bad grammar, poor vocabulary, tasteless demeanour and occasional problems with personal hygiene. They are a constant source of fun for urban and middle-class Poles. They are mercilessly mocked by the whole pop-culture.
(Stereo)typical peasant person (here fragments of a genuine local election advert):

Poles are in fact huge snobs.

8. Lack of general knowledge

As stated above, Polish people have a tendency towards snobishness. This, combined with an education system focused on feeding students general knowledge basics from all disciplines, makes Polish people sensitive to signs of lack there-of. Not knowing the capital of Bolivia, the main river in Russia, or the exact date of the battle of Racławice, can put you to shame. Be warned. Have ways of escaping questions of this kind in advance. Or you might become a laughing stock.

9. Mohair berets.

Mohair Berets

In the Polish army different beret colours stand for different departments in the army. Mohair berets stand for the elderly ladies (babcias), followers of a local powerful conservative ultra/pseudo-Catholic televangelist leader. Mohair berets is their favourite headgear – and the faithfulness and discipline they they display resembles that of the army – hence the name. Mohair berets are guardians of the social order as they see it. Although in popular belief mohair berets are perceived as blind-to-argument, overwhelmed by all sorts of conspiracy theories, uneducated, aggressive, and xenophobic.

Cabaret mocking mohair berets:

Mohair beret lady arguing her political views calls a street seller speaking for news tv a ‘bitch’:

10. Psychodelic Christian music-videos

Here is the original, aired on a Catholic show on Polish public tv with a genuine Catholic bishop. “Christian is dancing”
Remake
Cocaine-LSD remix
Then came mathematics remake “ Parabolas are dancing”


If you enjoyed this post why not visit my news blog, or click on Pawel on the left to see my other posts on Polandian.

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58 thoughts on “10 things that make Polish people laugh

  1. guest says:

    1.This blog entry is just dumb and not funny at all…

    You should rename it to “10 things that make me laugh” and write your own personal blog about Czech blowjobs and the 100000000000 story about Kaczynski and Radio Maryja…yawn

    2.BTW. It makes no sense to me if a Pole writes about Poles/Poland in this blog….

  2. I completely disagree with guest (who is not even willing to reveal their identity!). It is a funny list…and oh so completely true! The only other thing that I can think of missing from the list…is CHUCK NORRIS!! Poles love to take the piss out of him…and yet in England Chuck Norris jokes are pretty much non-existant (like the man himself!!) ;-)

  3. […] People), write something else besides the political atmosphere in our country. You can read 10 things that make Polish people laugh. What a funny story, supported by funny video, I really love […]

  4. Jacek says:

    1. ‘laska’ means simple ‘girl’ . This word comes from youth slang to everyday use. ‘Zrobić laskę’ – to give blowjob. Two different meaning.

    btw. This you-tube thumbs takes c.a 94MB of memory in my pc. And whole comp slows.. too much..

  5. Bendy says:

    Sheesh, why the negativity? Maybe this is old for Polish readers but us Brits have probably never seen this stuff before. Good to find out new stuff like this.

  6. guest says:

    why the negativity ?

    Because it is not the “Polish humor”. It is the primitive humor of some Polish, TVN24 brainwashed yuppies between 15 and 30 and it makes no sense to present it here.

  7. Pawel says:

    guest,

    Thank you for commenting here, all comments are welcome.
    I understand your point, yet I would insist that what I wrote is representative to the Polish popular culture.

    In my opinion this post shows part of who we are as a nation whether we like it or not. And in that respect it does make sense to write about it.

    You admit yourself that this is “the primitive humour of some Polish, TVN24 brainwashed yuppies between 15 and 30” – therefore you in fact agree that people in Poland do laugh at the things from my list.

    I call these people urban and middle-class.

    I cannot agree however that it applies only to 15-30. Remember those classic comedies like ‘Sami swoi’? (1967) Wasn’t that mocking the peasant people? Popular understanding of religion? ‘Miś’(1981) – Wasn’t that mocking absurds of Poland? ‘Świat według Kiepskich’, ‘Pieniądze to nie wszystko’ (2002)… et caetera…

    (apart the added absurd of Hong Kong and that music video – which by the way still says something about people’s approach to religion)

    Please note that this blog is written by people who live and work in Poland. Polish people live and work in Poland too:)) (surprise, I know) and I see no reason for excluding us from contributing.

    Feel free to post your version of this list within the comments. You obviously have a different idea about it – and I’m sure it would be interesting for me too.

  8. Pawel says:

    Glenn,

    Thanks for the comment:)) Did you hear these:

    When Chuck Norris comes to Polish tax office, he hears:
    “Good morning, how can I help you?”

    Why ‘God’ is called ‘God’? Because ‘Chuck Norris’ was already taken.

    Only Chuck Norris knows how many episodes of The Bold and The Beautiful there are.

    Chuck Norris died 10 years ago. Only death doesn’t have the courage to tell him.

    Chuck Norris can recharge a mobile phone by rubbing it by his beard

  9. Pawel says:

    Jacek,

    Yes, ‘laska’ has two meanings in Polish, which makes it even more ambiguous.

  10. Pawel says:

    PS. Thanks for letting us know about the impact of heavy content. I’ll keep that in my mind for the future. The computer I use has like 3gb ram, so I would never’ve noticed.

  11. Tim Black says:

    Coming from an American living in Poland (Torun), I have found the blog to be interesting and useful knowledge. I especially like the fact that the writer “Pawel” responds and welcomes the options of the general public. Just like in every other aspect in life not everyone will agree with what is said. Although I too, just as with my friend Glenn, find Pawel’s entries to be very true about the Polish people. I only wish that this info. would have came sooner, for I will have to leave Poland in about a month.. But before I do I will be visiting Krakow on the 8th & 9th of March…. So thank you for the info about this city as well…

  12. Marcin says:

    Thanks for this blog entry. As a polish living in UK at the moment I was laughing my guts out. Amazing, but it is all true and brings many memories back to me. Well done! : )

  13. scatts says:

    Pawel, I want to find that Czech language video on you tube but I don’t know how to spell “Jorzyn z Bazyn” correctly. Can you help?

  14. darthsida says:

    I’m not Pawel, but no hard feelings :)

  15. scatts says:

    Darth, thanks for trying, but I don’t get any video coming up?! Strange.

  16. Pawel says:

    Jozin z Bazin :) They have different ż but that’s irrelevant for searches, z is fine:)

  17. Pawel says:

    Scatts, did you see
    Jozin z Bazin 30 years later?
    http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=4d53ygKt_Xw

    Or on Strictly Come Singing, or whatever that’s called:)
    http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=7LO0VxJfNVs

    Hip-hop-pimpy remix;)
    http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=M9oZxF3X8Cs

  18. […] need to thank Pawel for introducing me to “Jozin z Bazin” and also to Mini-Mini kids TV for introducing me […]

  19. Anonymous says:

    Dlaczego wszyscu staraja sie tu wypowiedziec po angielsku skoro i tak wiekszosc komentarzy jest napisana przez polakow??? A co do listy to jest sama prawda no moze ”hong kong” tu nie pasuje bo jest to jednorazowe wydarzenie i smiech jest raczej wywolany ”urokiem osobistym” posla.
    regards for you all !

  20. Pawel says:

    Dlatego że tylko część z prowadzących tego bloga i komentujacych zna język polski – i wypowiadanie się po angielsku sprawia że i oni mogą wziąć udział w dyskusji i odpowiedzieć.

    A i ci z komentujących którzy znają jezyk polski nie koniecznie znają go dobrze;)))

    Ta notka nie jest na poważnie, stąd oprócz Hong Kongu także “Chrześcijanin tańczy”

  21. SOHOSKI 76 says:

    THAT IS BRILLIANT NOT 2 BAD AT ALL
    U SHOULD SHOW MORE OPEN PICTURES ABOUT THIS
    POLISH DUMMYS AND THIS WHOLE POLISH IDIOTIZM ,I’M PRETTY SURE THERE’S A LOT OF THEM .HOW ABOUT
    FUCKOFFSKI OR BULSHITSKI HAHAHAHAHA

  22. Oskar Gie says:

    Well, I think the article isn’t bad at all and pretty(of course there always will be some variation) representative. By the way, what a great site, really brilliant. I think I’m gonna do some advertising on your behalf among my American friends. Thanks alot.

  23. ania says:

    Hi guys and girls:)
    I’m looking for foreigners who live in Poland and who are willing to comlete a questionnaire on Polish and cultural adaptation. It is for my MA research.
    Please contact me at : aniabezu@interia.pl
    Many thanks

  24. island1 says:

    Oskar: Thanks very much. We try :)

    Good to hear we have an advocate across the pond.

  25. Pawel says:

    Thanks Oscar,
    please do advertise us to your American friends :) (and any other for that matter)

  26. Anonymous says:

    one primitive sense of humour

  27. Pawel says:

    @anonymous

    fair enough:)

  28. Polish atheist says:

    I just love Your site. The dancing priest stuff made my day.
    Best regards
    Karolina

    Ps: If it goes for Czech’s language specials, there is probably no better place to look for it, then Polish nonsensopedia ( http://nonsensopedia.wikia.com/wiki/J%C4%99zyk_czeski ; a także: http://nonsensopedia.wikia.com/wiki/S%C5%82ownik_polsko-czechos%C5%82owacki ). It gives a big laugh, even if some things there are not quite true. By the way: the Czechs are very nice, cultural, benevolent, trustworthy, mild, honest people, indeed. It’s just the language… :)

  29. Leopolis says:

    We live in Nowolipki — the capital of the People’s Republic of Mohair. Trust me, it may be funny to you, but living with them every day is no laughing matter.

    We call them the “mushroom ladies” — or pieczarki — because the mohair berets look like mushrooms ;)

  30. Polish atheist says:

    “Mushroom ladies”? I wonder what Hunter S. Thompson would say about them. Probably nothing; just eat them all in the blink of an eye. Gosh, how we could use another Thompson! ;)

  31. whitney says:

    ma mum says polish ppl r so dirty but some can be !!! but ma m8 is polish and he’s not dirty but his bro is he slapps ma ars and fell ma tits the perv lol

  32. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant site! As an englishman with a Polish girlfriend i love the comments on humour and on polish girlfriends…. So true. Keep up the good work ! John ‘craneman’ Wilce

  33. Dorota says:

    10 points and none of them could be omitted!

  34. enter your name here says:

    orginal meaning (and still used) of word “laska” is walking stick (you know, stick that older people using to walk) and it evolved into slang word – girl and after that into expresion “zrobić laskę”. So if you open your polish – english dictionary you probably find “laska – walking stick” as i found at mine.

  35. Ian says:

    2. Foreigners speaking Polish. This of course only works in one direction. “You are in Poland seence yesterday and you cannot satisfactorily say ‘chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie’? For us eet ees very funny!” is OK, but “You’ve been learning English since kindergarten and none of you can say ‘the’? Bloody hell!” is unacceptable.
    11. Benny Hill. The only thing Benny Hill was good at was parodies and impressions, and even then he parodied people and adverts that no British TV viewers under 40 can remember. So all those Poles who say “I like typical British humour like Monty Python or Benny Hill” should be shot.

  36. Pawel says:

    2+11=211 You have a point in what you say about language but that’s not what I meant. There is something comical in foreign people speaking Polish, it results in an authomatic reaction of laughs. It’s not thought trough or clever. It’s just funny on its own. Maybe its the fact that foreigners speaking Polish is new and rare.
    While foreigners speaking English is… majority of English speakers.

    And besides is there a correct way of saying ‘the’? English is not a language that has a prescribted model, like Polish. Varieties are endless.

    And you know with British comedy it’s the same as with the English language. People in the world don’t speak the same English as Brits do. There’s this special variant called ‘EFL – English as a foreign language’. Not without reason it’s usually easier to communicate for instance for a Polish person with a Spanish person in English than for a Polish and English person.

    And So you also have this ‘British comedy for foreigners’:) I’m sure someone from Slovakia would agree with this persons view of what is typical British comedy:))

  37. explorish says:

    dude – awesome stuff. some of it, very familiar!!
    greetings from romania.

  38. Aidan says:

    Dublin guy here who is going out with a POLISH girl.

    Good insight to Polish humour……….

    But why is Hong Kong so funny??

  39. PMK says:

    Um, Polish people don’t laugh at themselves. It’s a well known fact. The only people in the world that can are: the British and the Americans. Make a Polish joke or comment on how something in Poland/Polish culture is funny and they’ll get really offended and angry. I’ve encountered it with every Pole in every part of the world and Poland.

    The Czech Language is very funny to them though (so are politics.)

  40. Dawid says:

    “Well known fact”? Poles laugh at all things Polish and criticize them(selves) extremely often – be it Polish bumby roads, horrible bureaucracy, inept politicians, etc., etc. A hit sitcom on Polish TV is “Świat według Kiepskich” (“The World of the Lousy Family” – the latter being a surname) where a working (or rather unemployed) Polish family is laughed at. Polish comedy shows routinely ridicule Polish reality. The audience of live comedy shows (usually broadcast by the public TV) rolls in the aisles laughing at “Polish jokes”.

    So why your perception is different?

    Because you are a foreigner. It is true that many Poles don’t take foreign criticism well – but not many nations do. So don’t mistake laughing at yourself with being laughed at by outsiders. These are two different things.

  41. Pawel says:

    PMK, Dawid is right. And if you read my point 4 correctly you will see I wrote Poles laugh at themselves – but they don’t like when others (foreigners) do so.

  42. Steven Woodruff says:

    The funniest thing I ever did see and really the #1 thing that makes Polish people laugh the hardest is … Mr. Bean. Though listening to me me speak Polish while drunk comes in a close second.

  43. Steven Woodruff says:

    Suggestion: Write a far more interesting column titled (10 things that make Polish people really angry). ie. # 8 The neighbors just built a house with a roof 2 degrees steeper and 14 cm taller than yours. ect, ect.

  44. Dawid says:

    Might be a good idea, but I’m not actually convinced about the example. Just go outside and look around – all houses along Polish streets are built differently. This is the result of having no overall architectural policy the way i.e. France has had for years. A roof 2 degrees steeper or 14 cm taller just doesn’t make any difference ;)

  45. Dawid says:

    Aidan asked in November “But why is Hong Kong so funny??”. Well, it’s not Hong Kong as such, but rather this particular MP, whose fascination with all things Chinese has earned him a peculiar reputation. It’s just funny when this guy (whom I’ve seen in Beijing with my own eyes actually) keeps referring to his Oriental credentials.

  46. Anonymous says:

    im polish and what im reading here is making me laugh. because its so stupid!!!

  47. Anonymous says:

    damnnnn dude stop hating on Polaks just because your aren’t one!

  48. Dawid says:

    Is it possible to delete comments on this forum?;)

  49. Steven Woodruff says:

    Dawid, wouln’t “architectual policy” be another word for “communist policy” ?

    Like the year 1977 when someone in Moscow got pissed off at Polish designers and decreed that all Polish roofs shall be from now on Flat with no slope at all for example.

    The 40 to 45 degree roof is the result of Poles going hogg ass wild at thier new found freedom. Dare you to try and regulate that new “policy”

    The most sensible roof slope for normal conditions is 30 degrees, unless you are in Siberia and expecting 2 to 3 meters of snow and ice to accumulate on the roof. The crazy, steep, slopes are in fact a tradition of pride that developers love to take full advantage of. Thier is no more expensive roof in the world to build than the Polish roof. I know, I have built them in Poland, America, Canada, Holland, and Norway. Poles spend the most carpenter time and money on roofs than all the above countries. And believe me it’s to show the nieghbors how high thier credit rating is.

  50. Julieann says:

    This is very interesting! My great grand parents were from Korcyznia and Gorlice so I research Poland a lot and came upon this! Because I have Polish ancestors I love reading anything about Poland. Wish I could visit too! But what caught my interest is when you (Steve) mention Mr. Bean. What a riot! I just love Mr. Bean. That is MY kind of humor. Way too funny! Do you think it’s the Polish in me? Ha, ha, ha!!! Oh, I live in New Hampshire, USA.

  51. […] 10 things that make Polish people laugh 1. The Czech language […]

  52. Nicole says:

    “4. Poland

    This might come as a surprise, but Poles love to laugh at themselves (but they don’t like it when others do so) and everything that is substandard, weird, awkward, broken, or baldly organised in this country.” Omg you’re joking right…I laugh all the time :S what to do?!

  53. Melisa says:

    I think this is one of the most significant information for me.

    And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things,
    The site style is ideal, the articles is really nice :
    D. Good job, cheers

  54. Stephanie Ho says:

    I’m from Hong Kong, and I want to know why do Europeans find my country to be funny. Like I went on holiday to Germany once, and the immigration sort of laughed when they looked at my passport and it said “Hong Kong” on it…

  55. LillyTheBoss says:

    Hi, this was awesome although I would like to know how Poles have fun.

    I’ve read online that Poles spend their weekends resting-is this true?

    Thanks! Hey, has anyone been to Georgia, US?

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