If you like telling jokes and funny stories to your friends, learning some German jokes can be an excellent way of expanding your vocabulary and improving your German communication skills. There is such a great variety of jokes from all parts of Germany and all areas of life that you are guaranteed to discover many good ones that will be easy for you to remember. When learning a foreign language, it is always important to find things that interest you, so that you can forget about studying and, instead, focus on something you really enjoy.
Humor, and especially jokes, are a matter of taste and are closely linked to the cultural context. For example, while joking is part of everyday conversation in England, most people in the world do not get English humour. Likewise, many American comedians are known around the world despite the fact that the majority of foreigners do not find American jokes funny. It goes without saying that in order to fully appreciate the humor of another culture, you must be highly familiar with that culture and fluent in its language.
German jokes are just as much culture-specific as any other. Do not get discouraged by what others, e.g., English, say about German sense of humor. You will grow fond of German jokes over time as your vocabulary grows and you learn more about Germany and its people. In turn, German humor will not only help you improve your understanding of the German language and culture but will also make it easier to you to make friends in Germany. And, most importantly, this new wisdom will enable you to fully enjoy the creativity and peculiar charm of the German language.
Germans are very orderly people who like categorizing things. Therefore, do not be surprised if you find German jokes being classified into several dozen different categories. The most common type of jokes are about certain stereotypical attributes of individuals (such as Fritzchen, Hänschen, Moritz) or population groups (Ostfriesen, Saxen, nationalities like Poles, East Germans, Dutch, Austrians, Turks but also blonds, Manta drivers, lazy bureaucrats, etc.). Other popular types of jokes include puns (in German known as “Flachwitze” or “Plattwitze”), joke-questions (e.g., radio Yerevan), mum and dad jokes, farmers’ lore jokes and anti-jokes.
There are plenty of resources on the Internet where to find popular German jokes, both in written as well as in video/audio form. Translations into English or other languages are rare, though. Hence, the use of jokes as a study material is suitable mainly for upper intermediate and advanced learners of German. Some of the best Internet resources and their descriptions are listed below.
Websites for Jokes and Other Entertaining German Stuff
- Witz-des-Tages.de: Collection of nearly 10,000 jokes submitted by users with reader’s ratings. You can choose the jokes that have earned the highest or, alternatively, the lowest reader ratings. You can also subscribe to the free daily newsletter to receive the latest jokes.
- Belustigung.de: Over twenty years old collection of jokes from all areas of life (that is, some 50 categories).
- GuteWitze.com: You will find there lots of jokes from nearly 70 categories to give you a good laugh and can add ratings to those you enjoy most. You can submit one too, if you like.
- AberWitzig.com: Short jokes from about two dozen categories. Includes a selection of top 100 jokes. There is also an English version of the website.
- SchlechteWitze.com: Thousands of jokes from all possible categories submitted by users. You can give them “thumbs up” or “down” or comment on them.
- Witze.tv: More than 20,000 German and English jokes and funny aphorisms in over 90 categories with user ratings, plus the joke of the day.
- Jokingo.de: Relatively small collection of short German jokes. Visitors can vote for their favorites.
- Woxikon.de: Hundreds of short jokes for every occasion from 55 categories and the joke of the day.
- Witze.net: Yet another small collection of German jokes.
- Debeste.de: Vote for your favorite joke. There are also funny sayings, comics and videos on this site.
- Witze-Platz.de: You will find there one of the largest collections of funny sayings and jokes on the German web with nearly 10,000 contributions classified into 50 categories.
- Spruchsammlung.com: Thousands of German jokes from over 50 categories with user ratings. However, the main purpose of the website is to collect funny quotations from famous authors.
- Lachmeister.de: On this website you will find jokes, funny sayings, hilarious videos and games, entertaining texts as well as weird names and images. All of them have star ratings attached to them.
- WitzDesTages.net: In addition to jokes, you can find there funny images, short entertaining videos, puzzles, funny names and even cool smileys that allow you to copy their code to be used in forums, chats and social networks.
- Zitronenbande.de: Fifty jokes for children.
German Humour and Jokes on YouTube Videos
- What is German Humor? An episode from the Easy German channel in which random participants in the street carnival in Cologne (West Germany) are asked to define German humour. The video has German as well as English subtitles.
- German Comedy channel, as its name suggests, aims to introduce German comedy and German comedians to audiences from other nations. All sketches are with English subtitles.
- Lustige Witze is a series of 329 videos of German jokes from the channel MasterJam. Most of the videos are about two and a half minutes long and contain twenty jokes, presented both in text and audio.
- Alman Witze is a “joke challenge” from the youtube channel of German comedian Phil Laude. The jokes are presented by Phil Laude and a guest comedian who are competing against each other while you can read the text at the bottom of the video to make sure you do not miss anything.
- Witze zum Totlachen extrem from the channel Sound of Music is a collection of 28 videos of German jokes, but, unfortunately, only the early series have German subtitles.
- Andi Witze Erzähler are sixteen short videos of about one and a half minutes long with German jokes in audio and text form presented by Andi. Each video contains jokes dedicated to a single topic.
Many German jokes, especially those that derive their humor from wordplay (e.g., multiple meanings of the same word or similar words with different meanings), sentence construction or different pronunciation of certain words, cannot be translated in other languages and thus can only be understood by someone with good proficiency in German. As a result, just a few resources listed above are translated into English.
If you like to entertain friends at parties with jokes, the above resources will hopefully come in useful. But, even if you are not too good at remembering funny texts, just reading or listening to German jokes is a good way of adding more color to your daily learning routine. Moreover, you can find links to other entertaining stuff like comedy shows on TV and radio or comic novels and satire in the respective sections of this website. Likewise, reading German papers and magazines online, especially the columns that contain comics, political satire, comic novels and jokes, is yet another enjoyable way of building-up your vocabulary. And lastly, sometimes, learning a little bit of foul language can greatly improve your understanding of German humor.