Polish Jokes.

When I was a boy, books with Polish jokes would
appear regularly at the corner store. Perhaps once a week or a couple times every month. I remember a profusion of jokes so a new booklet appeared every week in my mind.
When I was a boy, racial or ethnic jokes were smugly racist.
But you could use all the alphabetically descriptive words such as N, W, C, P, J and so on in the open right in the streets. For example, by shouting Polaque at somebody. And you would get away with it.
I felt hurt by the Polish Jokes.
It was an excruciating pain.
I am Polish, Catholic and I have Jewish roots on my father’s side of the family.
I have read about Polish Joke, the play by Ives.
And I am appalled.
Can a crypto Pole write Polish jokes?
I consider the thought to be unfunny.
Some right-wing Poles call my family a gathering of crypto Jews.
And Jewish pure bloods find me comic on the face of my mixed blood.
Where do I stand?
Polish jokes are about reincarnation since a cat advances by embodying any human regardless he or she is a classless one.
Reincarnation is at the opposite pole, so to speak, from Christianity.
A Pole is on the ladder toward higher consciousness.
Am I tripped up?
What are self-styled Polish jokes except a demeaning guilt trip?

Did you really mean to post this in the Thread Games forum?

When I was a kid (1970’s USA), Polish jokes were fairly popular, but they were just “dumb person” jokes with “Polack” as the term for the dumb guy. For quite awhile, I didn’t even realize that “Polack” meant a person from Poland; I just thought it was a word for a stupid person.

Nowadays I’m a little ashamed that enjoyed and spread such jokes, but I did so because I thought they were funny, not because I believed that Polish people were really inferior in intelligence or had any animosity toward them.

“Person X is so dumb…” jokes have always been popular (do people still tell “blonde jokes”?), but today I think most of us realize that it’s Not Cool to make fun of a particular racial, ethnic, geographic, etc. group.

I remember MAD magazine had “American Jokes They’re Telling in Poland.”

It’s probably encyclopedia-sized by now.

I guess that’s one way of looking at it.


Moving from Thread Games to IMHO.


Same here – I probably was 11 or 12 when I finally realized that “Polack” = “Polish person.”

I grew up in Green Bay, where Polish jokes were interchangeable with Belgian jokes, due to having a lot of residents of Belgian descent there.

In the late 1980s / early 1990s, blonde jokes were a thing for a while, but those, too, seem to have faded into obscurity.

I haven’t heard an ethnic joke in decades, though I’m not sure if that’s a function of society finally realizing that they’re demeaning, me no longer being 12, or me hanging out with people who are at least a smidge more enlightened these days.

When I was young - in Chicago, 60s, last name ending in “ski” - no one knew more Polack jokes than me. But everyone told them. And no one got too upset about them. Seem to recall there were a fair share of Italian jokes as well - plus jokes targetting Jews, blacks, Mexicans, gays, and just about any other group that could be made fun of. I think one reason was simply because so many people in my neighborhood were of Polish or Italian background.

I remember my dad saying when he was young (Chicago in the 20s-30s) Bohemians were the most common target of jokes. And I recall hearing that Swedes/Norse/Finns make jokes about each other.

Weird OP, tho.

This reminds me of a moment from Albert Brooks’ film, “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World”.

He’s on the street in India, with an assistant to translate, trying to find out what people there think is funny. At one point a man asks him for a joke and Brooks tells this one in his typical scattered and wandering delivery:

*A Polish guy goes to the eye doctor. The doc asks if he can read line 5, which is C, G, D, F, Z, K.

“The Polish guy says, ‘Read it? I KNOW that guy!’”*

The Indian man chuckles politely and Brooks’ assistant asks, “What should I write down?”

Brooks replies, “Put down Polish jokes work everywhere.”

In Minnesota, Polish jokes become Finlander jokes. Same jokes, different people.

At one time in the upper-midwest, ‘Dumb Swede’ jokes enjoyed a measure of popularity. I don’t know if they still do, but I’ve heard at least a couple in my life.

You are obviously not familiar with mrka’s collected œuvre. :wink:

Many years ago, I remember a time-sharing program where you entered the ethnic group to make fun of, and the group that you belonged to, and the system would print out 100 jokes on the teletype (yes, that long ago).

I was once reprimanded for ‘wasting this expensive educational technology’ on trivia like that. But then I pointed out that you could enter ‘principal’ and ‘teacher’ and generate 100 jokes about dumb principals. The instructor forgot about reprimanding me, and took that printout and headed for the teacher’s lounge.

Mostly the same jokes, just substituted for the target group. I imagine the Cro-Magnons told jokes about the dumb Neanderthals.


I doubt it - light bulbs hadn’t been invented yet.

In areas with strong inter-collegiate rivalries, students and alumni of rival schools are sometimes plugged into the [Dumb X] slot in place of ethnic groups. The University of Texas and Texas A&M schools were known for this, with “Aggie” and “Teasipper” plugged into the jokes. A&M usually took the brunt of it, filling both “rural rube” and “general idiot” roles, while UoT generally got the “clueless/effete city fool” role. I’ve seen books of Aggie jokes, but never one specifically of Teasipper jokes (though I’ve never checked the A&M bookstore).

“How many Neanderthals does it take to make a fire?”
“Only one–but you have to dry him out real good first.”

It’s not only the target group that can be substituted.

Huh. To me, reusable styrene pellets signify higher-order concepts because when kelp grows quickly through civilization you find anew and immediate pleasures.

We rednecks love to make fun of each other.

A lot of it is due to Polish jokes just being played out. Like mother-in-law jokes (which were over 60 years ago), they were done so many times and so many ways that creative exhaustion set in. Also, most of the humor of Polish jokes stemmed from the fact they were largely immigrants from an “exotic” land whose difficulty in adjusting to American culture could be inaccurately and unfairly seen as stupidity. Now that Polish immigrants have been culturally assimilated for several generations, the “dumb foreigner” stereotype no longer applies.

I guess nobody walks into a bar anymore?

Two tuba players walk past a bar…

Well, it could happen!

I grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee on a dead end street with 10 houses. We were the only family who’s name didn’t end in -ski.
In my old grade school yearbooks it seemed like names ending with -ski was about 50%.
I remember going to Summerfest in the 80s to see Emo Phillips perform in the comedy tent. Because it was a tent their were huge tent poles in the middle of the floor and one which was dead center in front of the stage. Emo didn’t miss a beat and started his performance with “I heard there were a lot of Poles in Milwaukee but this is ridiculous!”