Obsolete Joke: Soviet Shortages

  • Posted on: 9 March 2016
  • By: Noah Brand

Some jokes are perennial, lasting for decades or centuries with minimal revision. Others have specific expiration dates. In this series, I revisit jokes that can no longer be told.


One day in the Soviet Union, an old Jewish man is down at the collective market, looking at the signs about all the stuff they ain’t got.

“These shortages are awful,” he says. “Look at this: they’re out of bread, they’re out of tea, they’re out of meat, they’re out of eggs… how is a person supposed to live?”