Polish Sense of Humor or Lack Thereof Posted by Anna on Apr 28, 2009 in Culture
I went to Grycan today (yeah, czas na lody – time for ice cream) with one of my pals and he (oh, hi Martin!) had some interesting things to say about how he perceives our (as in: Polish) sense of humor. But before I proceed any further, just to make things absolutely clear – Martin is German. That will explain many things, I’m sure. I hope.
He reads this blog and he even left maybe two comments once upon a time, sometime last year. But he’s been a keen, faithful reader since this blog began, and because he was passing through my town this week, we decided to meet for coffee (or rather – ice cream).
So, we ate ice cream and talked. And here’s the kicker – based on the comments left on this blog by my Polish readers, Martin says that we, as a nation, give the impression of having no sense of humor whatsoever. What puzzles him is that Poles have a great sense of humor if one deals with them in person, he says.
Apparently, judging from the comments on this blog, we come across as a dull nation obsessed with grammar and taking immense pleasure in pointing out other people’s (Poles) mistakes. He says that this linguistic one-upmanship can be rather amusing for an outsider to watch.
Yikes! Are we really THAT bad? If so, I sincerely apologize, just in general on behalf of all my Polish readers and commenters.
But then Martin went on to say that fortunately, Polish people are quite delightful and funny when you talk to them in person. Now, that’s better! With that, I can completely agree.
What I think the problem is, is that Poles have a very specific sense of humor, one that is not so easily understood by non-natives. Of course, that a sense of humor can be country-specific is true of pretty much any nation in the world, even including Germans.
I’d be the first one to admit that we tend to laugh at things that may seem… well… strange, I guess. Anyone (anyone foreign, that is) who has ever tried to watch “Sami swoi” knows exactly what I’m talking about. My husband to this day doesn’t understand what’s so funny about this film.
So, here’s a very serious question to my non-Polish readers – do we, Poles, have a sense of humor? Or don’t? And how does it come across to foreigners?
- poczucie humoru – sense of humor
- dowcip (masc., plural: dowcipy) – joke (the kind you tell others)
- kawał (masc., plural: kawały) – literally: piece, lump (rather larger), colloquially: joke (the kind you tell others).