The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 8, No 2 (2020)

Book review: Jonathan Waterlow (2018). It’s Only a Joke, Comrade! Humour, Trust and Everyday Life Under Stalin (1928-1941). Oxford: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Ksenia Shilikhina


The book “It’s only a joke, comrade! Humour, trust and everyday life under Stalin (1928-1941)” is a historiographic study of humour created and used by ordinary Soviet citizens in the pre-war period of the Soviet history. The analysis of multiple sources demonstrates the emergence and functioning of humour under Stalin regime, its social and psychological functions in everyday life of ordinary people. The author suggests that, despite obvious dangers of telling political jokes, people still used humour in their everyday life to create social bonds and to adapt to the new regime.



Arkhipova, A. & Mel’nichenko M. (2010). Anekdoty o Staline: Teksty, kommentarii, issledovaniya [Canned Jokes about Stalin: Texts, Comments, Analysis]. Moscow: OGI.

Bakhtin, M. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination. Four Essays. Ed. by M. Holquist. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.