May 9, 2006

European Union jokes.

Anybody know any?
Austria's ambassador to the UK, Gabriele Matzner-Holzer, asked why there were no jokes about the European Union, and appealed to anyone who knew one to let her know.

Historian Timothy Garton Ash complied, with the one-liner "If the EU applied to join the EU it would not be admitted" - on the grounds that it does not meet its own standards for democracy.

He said political jokes were more characteristic of dictatorships, so their absence was a good sign - except that being as "boring" as the EU was also a problem.
Hmmm... So does it bother Europeans that their union is so boring? How boring is it?


Dan from Madison said...

Isn't European Union joke a double negative?

XWL said...

How boring is the European Union?

It's so boring that I don't have a punchline to coincide with that set-up.

(plus to be fair, I'll have to translate the text of this into 15 different languages, off to babelfish I go)

Comment l'alésage est-il l'union européenne ? Il ennuyeux ainsi que je n'ai pas un punchline à coïncider avec cette installation.

Wie ist das Bohren der europäische Anschluß? Es bohrt so, daß ich nicht ein punchline habe, zum mit dieser Einstellung übereinzustimmen.

Πώς τρυπώντας είναι η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση; Είναι τόσο τρυπώντας που δεν έχω ένα punchline για να συμπέσω με εκείνη την οργάνωση.

Come alesare è Unione Europea? Così sta alesando che non ho un punchline da coincidere con quella messa a punto.

Como furar é a união européia? Está furando assim que eu não tenho um punchline a coincidir com essa instalação.

¿Cómo el agujerear es la unión europea? Está agujereando tan que no tengo un punchline a coincidir con esa disposición.

Hoe boring is de Europese Unie? Het is zo boring dat ik geen punchline om met die opstelling heb samen te vallen.

(sorry other EU countries, babelfish doesn't think you are important enough to have translation tools for)

(and who knew punchline was unique to english?)

altoids1306 said...


I'm pretty sure when the babelfish lexicon is missing a certain word, it simply doesn't translate it, and but places it in the appriopriate part of the sentence.

Steven said...

Karl Marx said, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

The Soviet Union was the tragedy, and so people made jokes about it.

The European Union? People don't tell jokes about the farces.

Tibore said...

Why did the European Union cross the road?...

Wow... you're right. It doesn't work.

So an EU, an Israel, and a Pakistan walk into a bar...

Tibore said...

Bwaha! Did anyone read the BBC comments section?

"SOCIALISM: You have two cows. State takes one and give it to someone else.
COMMUNISM: You have two cows. State takes both of them and gives you milk.
FASCISM: You have two cows. State takes both of them and sell you milk.
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
EUROPEAN FEDERALISM: You have two cows which you cannot afford to keep because of milk imported from a member state with cheaper labour. So you apply for financial aid from the European Union to subsidise your cows and are granted enough to carry on working them. You then sell your milk at the original high price to some government-owned distributor which then dumps your milk onto the market at the price that drove you to subsidies to make Europe competitive."

We have a winner.

Eli Blake said...

Hey, boring is not bad.

Considering Europe's past featuring Julius Caesar, gladiatorial combat in the Colisseum, the Moorish invasions, Charlemagne, Attila the Hun, the Viking raiders, Ghengis Khan, the Black Death, the inquisition, crusades (including the Albigensian crusade right there in Europe), the forced exile of entire nations, Oliver Cromwell, the hundred years war, all sorts of medieval monarchical intrigue, Napoleon, Bismarck, WWI, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, WWII, the Holocaust, the Cold War and the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, I'd say that boring is pretty good for Europe. Boring has its advantages.

Anonymous said...

I notice the machine translated boring as agujerear (digging a hole) instead of aburrida. I think Babelfish knows more about the EU than it lets on.

Ann Althouse said...

Tibore: I did read that and considered copying it into the post, but then I thought about it. It's really not too funny. Can you picture a standup comedian doing that joke? The only way to make it funny would be to act like a clueless European comedian who didn't understand what makes a joke funny (like Andy Kaufman or Borat).

The Drill SGT said...

One of my very few is an EU joke:

In the EU version of Heaven, the:

French are the cooks;
British are the Police;
Germans are the mechanics;
Italians are the lovers; and
Swiss run the government.

In the EU version of Hell, the;

French are the mechanics;
British are the cooks;
Germans are the Police;
Italians run the government; and
Swiss are the lovers.

OK, I know th Swiss aren't really in the EU.

Interestingly, having told this to numerous Europeans, they always agree with at least 9, and sometimes 10 of the stereotypes.

My only other good joke is a doctor joke. I'll save that for later. I have no good lawyer jokes, I'm married to a lawyer.

Ann Althouse said...

Sgt: That joke is in the linked article. I would disqualify it as being just an old joke about European countries. It's not about the EU, and in fact it demonstrates how much funnier the various countries are, compared to the union. By contrast, jokes about the United States can be totally funny without being just about individual states.

The Drill SGT said...

darn, they stole my joke. I swear I didn't read the article. Note, the variation as well.

The Drill SGT said...

OK, Ann,

I'm going to have to expend my last joke.

Why are Doctors different than God?

Because God doesn't think he's a Doctor.

Tibore said...

(Sad sniff) But I thought it was funny!...

Yeah, you're right. It is a bit too cumbersome for efficient stage delivery. Plus, too preachy. Yet, I find an odd sort of humor in it that I appreciate. Sort of the exasperated "Okay, let me tell you how it is" sort of humor. Slightly dry, possibly boring, but definitely heartfelt.

Yeah, if only the late Andy Kaufman could do it in his Latka voice...

Richard Fagin said...

I don't know any EU jokes but the reference to Austria brought up an old UN joke: Kurt (what did you do during the war?) Waldheim.

tommy said...

What's funny about the EU?


Unknown said...

It doesn't really matter if the jokes are funny, as long as they speak truthiness to power.

Palladian said...

Do Europeans have a sense of humor? Can anyone think of a truly funny European? OK, an intentionally funny European? The British are very funny, but they're not Europeans. Jacques Tati? Roberto Benigni? They're about as funny as a urinary tract infection.

The EU chick just wants to find any EU jokes so she can form the "European Commission for Jokes, Gags, Puns, Witticisms, Quips and Humorous Anecdotes" and start writing regulations. What do you think the EU limit for laughter volume will be? How about the EU standard for the heigt of comedy club stage stools?

JCJim said...

Richard Fagin said...
I don't know any EU jokes but the reference to Austria brought up an old UN joke: Kurt (what did you do during the war?) Waldheim.

Did you ever hear of Waldhiemer's Disease?

That is when you grow old and forget you were a Nazi.

There are no EU jokes because the EU IS the joke.

KCFleming said...

Jokes about the EU are a form of harrassment and create a hostile European environment. EU jokes are thus forbidden.

Please mail your fine to Brussels via Althouse.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Icepick said...

Tibore, I liked your joke but I'm envisioning either Steven Wright or Emo Phillips doing the delivery. (Yes, I'm deeply disturbed.)

Sarge, I know a different version of your joke, concerning Canada.

The idea behind Canada was to have British government, American know-how and French culture. Instead they got French government, British know-how and American culture.

Freakin' Canadians....

Joe said...

I came up with a slogan for the EU:
"The EU - Last stop before Eurabia."
OK it isn't that funny but at least its original.

Balfegor said...

I don't think people make jokes about the EU per se, but plenty of people have poked fun at arcane regulations promulgated by the Commission or the Council, or whoever exercises that authority these days. I distinctly remember reading about a regulation mandating the acceptable range of curvature in cucumbers for the European market. There was also the Euro currency, which I recall (possibly they fixed this?) originally came with pictures of make-believe buildings and people, to avoid privileging the achievements of any particular nation. Or the flag proposal, which at one point is supposed to have looked like a TV colour calibration test.

I have no idea how much of this was just people making fun of the EU, and how much is actually silly stuff the EU actually did. But they could be worked into jokes, I think.

vbspurs said...

Q: How boring is the European Union?

A: It's so boring, Brussels was chosen as the capital, to make it look more lively by comparison.


ayahuasca vine said...

Jonathan Lockhart had a funny riff on the New European Man a while back.

Gregg said...

Please note.

EU Directive No. 456179

EU Directive 456179 In order to meet the conditions for joining the Single European currency, all citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland must be made aware that the phrase "Spending a penny" is not to be used after 31st December 2007.

From this date, the correct terminology will be: "Euronating". Thank you for your attention.

Unknown said...

Why do we call Netherlands 'The Netherlands' and not 'Holland' because Benelux would become Bhollux (Bollocks).

sbarabonzy1 said...

Of course there are no jokes specifically about the European citizen as such. The European Union is built on the ground of economic partnership which does not imply the creation of a new kind of citizen who feels European as such, with a set of values, historical memories and so forth which are linked to being a European citizen. Being European is still a geographical connotation. We live in Europe. But each one of us still holds its nationality and we makes jokes about our own countries and jokes about other countries but in none of them there could be a characteristic that could unite all of the different values each one of our countries have apart from the economic aspect that is. This reinforces the concept that the European Union is nothing but an economic partnership (with doubtful benefits for its members by the way).

Seawitch Artist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seawitch Artist said...

Proof the Euro can be saved..