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Learning Serbian - Wannabe Lesson 2 (A Little Something About Serbian Humor)

Updated on June 28, 2016

The history of my country has been quite interesting. From the first known Serbian Duke, who ruled over a few Serbian tribes in the beginning of the 7th century, to the last king of my country named Peter II, who ruled from 1941 to 1945, Serbia has gone through a number of different country names, polities, wars, and many other things – some of which were bad, and some of which were good. Unfortunately, it seems that Lady Luck has somewhat forgotten about the people of this country, as there have always been many bad things happening in Serbia. On a lighter note, all of these bad things have helped us develop a unique sense of humor, a great positive spirit and the feeling that nothing will ever be able to destroy us.

Serbian people, as well as people from any other Balkan country are very proud and they have a natural spite. This means that a true Serb will never admit that he has lost – he will rather say that it’s someone else’s fault. We may be a witty nation, but we are far from being intelligent. Our individuals are both witty and intelligent, but as a nation we are pretty much a lost cause.

If you are at all interested in the Serbian language and the Serbian culture in general, one of the first things you will have to accept and try to comprehend is Serbian humor. For instance, I love both British and American humor, and I find them very much different. Honestly, I would have to go for British humor if I had to choose, mostly because it tends to be darker than American humor, and dark is something I can definitely relate to as a Serb.

Anyone who wasn’t born in Serbia has very slim chances of figuring out the most popular Serbian movies, for instance. One of our best comedies ever is about two families, both in the ‘death business’. One family sells coffins to the family members of the deceased, and the other family sells coffins to the first family by digging them up from the ground after the deceased have been buried. A nice concept, don’t you think? The movie is full of extremely dark humor, while not a sentence from it could be characterized as humor per se.

I am someone who really enjoys dark humor, and I don’t mind joking about literally anything, which is the main characteristic of Serbian humor. One of the best examples of this dark humor I can think of from the top of my head is a joke about a woman and her son, who is a sick kid and is about to die from an incurable disease. The mother explains to him that he will start having a mud bath every day. The kid is all happy and he asks if the mud bath will save his life. The mother replies: “No, but you will get used to spending time under the ground.” This is really an awful thing to say to a dying person, and it sounds even worse when you say it in Serbian – trust me.

Boris Tadić and Vladimir Putin laughing their a$$es off at a joke told by the Serbian President
Boris Tadić and Vladimir Putin laughing their a$$es off at a joke told by the Serbian President | Source

This pretty much covers the topic of Serbian humor, and I apologize to anyone who I might have offended with the disgusting joke I’ve told here. As I was supposed to tell you something more about the history of the region I come from, I hope that wannabe lesson 3 will be a little more serious and a little less offensive :)


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    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja Boškov 6 years ago from Serbia

      Hi, Christopher!

      I'm sure you would laugh a lot if you came to live here... You probably couldn't believe half of the stuff happening here, starting from the humor, to the politics in Serbia :)

      Here it is all somehow diabolically twisted and fun in a very strange way :)

      Anyway, thanks for the positive feedback!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I loved your joke. I don't think I could spend any great length of time in Serbia however. I would probably die from laughing.

    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja Boškov 6 years ago from Serbia

      Hi, scarytaff! I'm really glad one more reader got the joke :)

      I hope you will like the rest of my lessons, as I will reveal more interesting stuff about my country.

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 6 years ago from South Wales

      Good hub with an insight of a different kind of humour. I like it. Thanks for the info.

    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja Boškov 6 years ago from Serbia

      Some of them? :) I had a hard time understanding the idea of most of them...

      I just don't understand why someone would take the time to come up with such stupidities, instead of using the time to really gather the fantastic proverbs form all over the world...

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

      I have these exact ones in the book as well. I don't even understand some of them. Thanks for confirming my suspicion that they are made up.

    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja Boškov 6 years ago from Serbia

      Hi, Haunty!

      First of all, I'm glad you liked the wannabe lessons and I hope you will like the ones that are about to be published.

      When it comes to the proverbs, I've just done some online research, providing that I haven't heard of a Serbian proverb containing either hazelnuts or walnuts, and I have stumbled upon the website with these alleged proverbs you are talking about... I am 99% sure that all of them are pretty much BS, and here are a few examples I am positive about being complete nonsense:

      Bosnian - Baghdad is far away, but the foot-rule is here.

      Serbian - Everything comes, even pie.

      Beware of him who squints, or has red hair.

      Beware of the man who swallows his phlegm.

      The last one is just plain disgusting :)

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

      Hi, Nemanja!

      I have enjoyed your first two lessons pretty much. I have just started studying a book that has proverbs from around the world, and I think it's a hoax. I have never heard any of the Hungarian proverbs in the book myself. I'd like to know if you can confirm that the following is a Serbian proverb, and if it is, I'd also like to know its meaning. Thank you.

      "Two hazelnuts make an army for the walnut."

    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja Boškov 6 years ago from Serbia

      Hi, cheaptrick!

      I'm glad you liked it, as I was afraid that many would find the joke too dark...

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!


    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 6 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      I just fell off my chair laughing at your joke!Haaa!

      Now...I must visit a comedy club in Serbia!...Is that near New Jersey?Hmmm...

      Good work,voted up!


    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja Boškov 6 years ago from Serbia

      Thank you very much, Old Poolman!

      I'm glad you liked the idea and I'll try to keep them coming, as you said :)

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      I find these hubs interesting and fun to read. Keep them coming.