This’n That…Don’t Worry Be Happy

Humor in Russia


Don’t Worry, Be Happy”….an old Bob Marley classic that needs to be sung more often right now. We look around the world and see a lot of suffering due to the financial downturn. Russia is having its problems too, but has a bright spot to keep the masses happy.


Every Saturday night we are graced with a television program named “ProjectParisHilton” (all one word). It stars four of the brightest comedians in Russia today. Ivan Urgant, (a Jew) is the nominal host while Garik Martyrosyan (an Armenian), Sergei Svetlakov (a Russian from Yekaterinburg) and Alexander Tsekalo (a Ukrainian) are contributors. I mention the ethnic origins as it is key to the comedy they render. It has a lot of ethnic overtones. As Russia is a polyglot of races, the appeal of this show is only enhanced with ethnic approaches to humor. Tsekalo has been described by Urgant as “Russia’s Oprah Winfrey” while Tsekalo has returned the favor by describing Urgant as the Barbara Walters of Russia…….all this banter after the two of them interviewed the quirky and illusive Mickey Rourke.


They even make jokes about Obama which would be PC-incorrect in the States. I’m glad to be away from the PC police It’s very sophisticated and light comedy, using current newspapers as the source for their material. Though these guys will take on a big character like Bush or Obama, generally we have a lot of tongue-and-cheek humor that is airy, yet substantive; sweet yet deliciously wicked. Sophie is kind enough to translate it for me. Good fun.


The Mud is Back!


Part of life here in the Urals is the spring mud. Since the snow and ice is never really cleared away over the winter. When the temps rise and it starts to melt, it gets ugly on the streets and roads. I feel sorry especially for women who try to dress nicely and they get dirty just walking to work. The rivers of mud are with us through April. Once the snow melts then the spring rains come; I’ve personally seen snow here on May 16th; some locals have seen it in June. Yuk. Messy place with bad snow management.


Hav’en a Smoke


Good Havana, Honduran and Spanish are here in Russia. I started smoking cigars in Spain in 2007, after having gone smokeless for 15 years. Have to say I just love the smell and flavor. I remember when we lived in Denver and my neighbor Roger would be smoking his cigars out in his garage…… that just smelled the best! Cuban cigars I find over rated. Spanish varieties are my favorite.



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