Dark humour is like food, Stalin once said, not everyone gets it.
Well, he didn’t actually say it – it was just a meme. The real Stalin wasn’t a funny sort of a man in any sense of the world. His sense of humour consisted of DJ-ing at a gramophone and ordering Molotov to dance with another (male) member of the Politburo while Molotov’s wife was holidaying in a gulag on Stalin’s orders.
The real communism wasn’t much funnier in practice, particularly if you had to live there. Yet people have to laugh, even if to maintain sanity. Ridicule is a form of private defiance shared by a teller and a listener, one of the few available to everyone, if not completely risk-free either, as many a man and a woman did end up in gulags too for an ill-advised confidence of a jocular nature. In some ways it was difficult not to laugh; if humour is largely based on absurdity, the latter was one of the very few things that communism had managed to produce in abundance.
So laugh – but never forget either.