In my latest piece for Al-Monitor, I argue that for Iranians, humor is a form of psychological processing—a coping mechanism to deal with dark scenarios. Iran’s past is fraught with such grim realities, and this, perhaps, is the secret to the population’s unwavering wit and reliance on humor during challenging times.
The threat of war and existing sanctions continue to greatly impact the everyday life of Iranians. There are many reports of high inflation, shortage of essential items, and potential rationing of food. Through all these pressures, one constant variable has been the population’s unrelenting sense of humor. There are countless jokes about corruption, Donald Trump, regime officials, and the daily challenges of life. A somewhat recent example is a short clip by Arzhang Amirfazli, a popular TV comedian and actor. In a minute-long clip published on social media, he does an incredible job to summarize the prevailing conditions of day-to-day life in Iran. I translated the short clip and I hope the sharp wit of its creator is not lost the process.
“The conditions of our everyday life: It got disconnected? Mhm. They cut it off? Mhm. It went up? It ran out? It totally disappeared? Uh-huh. It got eliminated? Mhm. Oh, so it’s no longer imported? Uh-huh. It’s no longer exported either? They took it? They removed it? Eh, they are no longer here? Hh-huh. It’s banned now? They embezzled it? Mmm. So, it’s no longer possible? They stole it and polished it off with a cold glass of water? Uh-huh. It’s contraband now? It’s prohibited. Mhm. They eradicated it? Uh-huh. They don’t give it anymore? Uh-huh. It’s very expensive now? Mhm. I shouldn’t even think about it anymore? Uh-huh. I can’t see it? Uh-huh. I can’t eat it? Mhm. And those we can’t even take anymore? Huh-huh. These we can’t hit anymore? Mhm. No! No! We don’t have any needs. It’s not important that you don’t have that. If this is not available then it’s not! No problem. We don’t need that either. There are no issues about this one either. It’s not here, so what? No problem. No! No! We don’t want this either. It was here until now, but it’s not here anymore. What can we do? We are used to it. No, I don’t want it. That one? I don’t want that either. No, we don’t want this either. We don’t need it. No problem! No!”