Before Hammer and Tickle came
- Greg Benton and Graham Loomes, Big red joke book (1976).
The jokes come from a wide range of countries, including the USA and Britain, with the Soviet bloc playing a major role. Again there are sadly few from China (see my Chinese jokes tag); still, since it’s not a big book, they might as well have called it The Little red joke book.
We might pair this one with Woody Allen’s Hassidic tales:
“Rabbi,” asks a young Jew, “can you build socialism in one country?”
“You can,” says the rabbi, “but then it’s best to live in another country.”
There are some goodies from the GDR, like
Q. Is it true that Walter Ulbricht collects political jokes?
A. No, but he collects people who tell them.
as well as a version of the Li Peng story I told here, with Ulbricht as the subject.
Here’s another story from Prague (cf. many posts under Czech tag):
A restaurant in Prague started up a strip-tease show. To everyone’s surprise, the public appeared to shun in totally. The Prague authorities, concerned at the loss of takings, summoned the restaurant’s manager and asked him some questions.
“Is there something the matter with the seating arrangements?”
“No”, said the manager, “they’re very comfortable.”
“No, the lighting is perfect.”
“In that case, it must have something to do with the women who perform there.”
“Out of the question!” assured the manager. “We hire no-one unless they have been at least thirty years in the Party.”
Of course, many such stories, like folk-songs, travel widely in variant forms.