Friday, July 23, 2010

It's (Not) So Funny

"It's So Funny" apparently isn't. It is, however, one of the longest-running TV comedy shows in the world. And it comes from North Korea, one of the grimmest, unfunniest places on the planet.

But what the show lacks in humor, it makes up for in propaganda. Most episodes consist of a man and woman, each dressed in military uniform, conversing with each other--or more precisely, praising the policies of Dear Leader--with frequent bursts of dubious laughter. Back in April, Reuters ran a story about the show, including an interview with NK defector-turned-TV-presenter Kim Yong. They showed him a recent episode that the article described this way:
There was one long send-up that did gather a few chuckles. The two talk about how bean-fed North Korean soldiers were able to fight off U.S. imperialist troops during the Korean War.
The women soldier, playing the part of an old woman, said bean-fed troops including her husband had amazing strength on the battle field. "But he died," she said.
The show concludes with the two delivering homilies on Kim Jong-il's military rule.
"He had tried so hard to fill the people's tables," they say in tearful voices.

"The show is delivering the same material over and over again," Kim said, after viewing it. "They are still talking about beans. The country hasn't changed at all since I defected about 20 years ago."

Of course, North Koreans still have a sense of humor, even if there is little to laugh about, as per the Irish proverb: "Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is."

Here is a collection of recent jokes from Radio Free Asia: And here is a collection from Ask A Korean:

No comments: