Learning a Language with Comedy: Saturday Night Live, Dad Jokes, and (e-)Laughs around the World

We often hear about learning languages with Netflix, with YouTube or with learning apps, but have you ever thought about learning languages through international comedy and humor?

I mean, everybody likes a dad joke, right? It’s good to watch a variety of different genres when you are learning a new language, so you can pick up a wide range of vocabulary.

If you are into comedies, Lingopie offers a range of humorous films for you to practice your language skills while having a good laugh. Our team is always looking for fun and fresh ways for our learners to make their language experience more interesting.

That’s why this post is all about international comedy!

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We will offer you a guide on all the Saturday Night Live shows in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Portuguese, as well as a few dad jokes for each language (whoop!).

And finally, we will teach you how to laugh online in each of those languages. Then you can really go and impress your lingo-friends!

So let’s get started.


Spanish Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live in Spain was aired in 2009 and, unfortunately, there were not many episodes.  Funnily enough, the show was aired on Thursdays rather than on Saturdays - I guess Spanish people make their own rules!

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the episodes featuring two actresses you may very well recognize.

Besos Y Lagrimas: Josefina - SNL

Cheesy right? It’s just one of those things that are so bad that they’re actually good.

And on the topic of actresses, here are 5 Hollywood stars who were famous in Spanish first!

Spanish Dad Jokes

Part of learning a new language involves learning how to make jokes and knowing how to be funny in that particular language. This Spanish dad joke is quite popular in Argentina:

¿Cuántas estrellas hay en el cielo? (How many stars are in the sky?)
Cincuenta. (Fifty.)

Well… I’m sure there are more than 50 stars in the sky! There’s a little play on words here -  cincuenta sounds like the Spanish words sin cuenta (which means “countless”). It’s crazy how one letter can change the entire meaning of a phrase!

What about a Spanish pun?

¿Qué hace una abeja en el gimnasio? (What does a bee do in the gym?)
¡Zumba! (Zumba!)

Zumba has a double meaning here. Of course, Zumba is a workout dance, but the verb zumbar in Spanish means ‘ to buzz’ (which bees do!) Funny? No? … okay okay.

How to Laugh (Online) in Spanish

Let’s say you’re texting your Spanish friend and they crack a joke. Would you know how to type a “laughing reaction” in Spanish? Well … you actually might have seen it before:

It’s “Jajajaja”.

The letter J in Spanish is actually pronounced like the letter H in English so they are pretty much the same.


French Saturday Night Live

Le Saturday Night Live had its first broadcast in 2017 but was only aired once *cries in French*.

This particular episode presented by the famous actor Gad Elmaleh proved to be quite popular:


French Dad Jokes

Want to know a good French dad joke?

Quelles sont les deux plus vieilles lettres de l’alphabet?
C’est clair: A, G

(What are the two oldest letters in the alphabet?
It’s obvious: A, G)

It’s all about pronunciation here. When the letters A and G are pronounced in this exact order it sounds like the French word âgé which means “aged”- hence why A and G must be the oldest letters in the French alphabet. Makes sense, right?

Now for a French pun:

Si t’as pas d’bol, t’as pas d’riz. (If you don’t have a bowl, you don’t have rice.)

Of course, you need a bowl to put rice in. But the wordplay here is on the expression avoir du bol which means “to be lucky.” So, in this case, what is being said is that “if you’re unlucky, you don’t have rice.”

(I prefer potatoes personally).

How to Laugh (Online) in French

Just like in English, hahaha is used in French to express laughter through typing. Alternative options are hihihi or hêhêhê. However, most commonly used is the abbreviation mdr. This stands for mort de rire (dying of laughter).


German Saturday Night Live

RTL Samstag Nacht ran from 1993 to 1998. It was well-received among its watchers and many German actors as well as comedians appeared as guests. The show actually won the Bavarian television award in 1994.

Here’s a snippet of one of the episodes:

Mirco Nontschew kocht Chinesisch ! Brüller !!!

German Dad Jokes

There’s a common stereotype that Germans are very serious people and don’t know how to have a good laugh. Well, that’s so far from the truth! And here’s a German pun to liven up your spirits:

Warum sind Seeräuber so schlecht in Mathe? Weil sie Pi raten.
(Why were the pirates so bad at math? Because they guess pi.)

If you aren’t familiar with the German language, the wordplay is on the words schlecht and Pi raten. They both mean pirates. The word raten means to guess (and guessing isn’t really the best of ideas when it comes to doing math).

Here’s another joke for you:

Was sagt ein Krokodil, das einen Clown gefressen hat? – Schmeckt komisch! – (What does a crocodile say after having eaten a clown? – Tastes funny!)


How to Laugh (Online) in German

This one is easy to remember, as Germans also use hahaha and sometimes even lol to express laughter through text.


Italian Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live from Milano was aired from 2006 to 2010. Here is one of the full episodes. How many jokes in Italian can you understand from it?

Saturday Night Live Puntata Intera Alba Parietti‌‌

Italian Dad Jokes

Italians are good-humored people and love a good laugh.

Take a look at this one joke about mothers-in-law. Maybe, don’t tell this joke when yours is around!

Un uomo dice a un dottore, “Dottore, mi può prescrivere un sonnifero per mia suocera?” (A man says to a doctor, “Doctor, can you prescribe a sleeping pill for my mother-in-law?”)

Il dottore risponde, “Perché? Sua suocera soffre d’insonnia?” (The doctor replies, “Why? Is your mother-in-law suffering from insomnia?”)

L’uomo risponde, “No, mia suocera la notte dorme benissimo. Il sonnifero era per il giorno.” (The man responds, “No, my mother-in-law sleeps well at night. The sleeping pill is for the day.”)


Here’s an Italian riddle for you:

Più si cresce e più si accorcia. (The more it grows, the shorter it gets.)

Can you guess what it is?

La vita / Life!

How to Laugh (Online) in Italian

Not too different from the English hahaha, Italians use ahahah to express laughter through text.


Russian Saturday Night Live

Суббота. Вечер. Шоу was aired for only four months, from September 2013 to January 2014.

If you're curious, here is the entire first episode :

Суббота Вечер Шоу Выпуск 1‌‌

Russian Dad Jokes

Let's start with a grim(m) pun!

А вы знаете, почему волки не едят бабушек? Они во рту вяжут.
(Do you know why wolves don't eat grandmothers? They knit in the mouth.)

Here, "knit in the mouth" means to knit - like grandmas usually do, but also refers to the most common meaning of the phrase, to be very sour.

You know when you eat an unripe, green berry and it's so sour it feels like your mouth literally ties into knots? That's exactly what it means! It's a common saying in Russian.

Сегодня в 10.00 утра студент Иванов совершил открытие века. В 10.30 открылось второе веко.
(Today at 10:00 a.m. student Ivanov made the discovery of the century. At 10:30 the second eyelid opened.)

Don't be intimidated. We'll explain!

открытие века as in "the greatest scientific breakthrough of the century" is a phrase very commonly used. "открытие века" = "открытие" + "века". (discovery + century's)

The thing is... the first word, "открытие," meaning discovery, is built more like the word "opening" in English. So, if something was discovered, it was opened. That's just how language evolves!

While the second word "века" is a possessive form (of the century, century's, etc.) which happens to be the exact same form for two different nouns: "век" (meaning "century," and its possessive form being века) and "веко" (meaning "eyelid," and its possessive form being векa). Same word, see?

Simply put, at first, you understand the first sentence as "he made the greatest discovery of the century," but then as you read the following one and you get that "discovery of the century" actually means "opening of an eyelid."

So, he opened one eye first and woke up at 10. Then, he lifted a second eyelid at 10:30.

How to Laugh (Online) in Russian

In Russian, you express laughter online by typing xaxa - the x’s are pronounced as  the letter ‘h’ or ‘kh’ in English. (So again, onomatopoeia for the win!)


Portuguese Saturday Night Live

In Brazil, Saturday Night Live was shown on TV for 6 months in 2012.

If you’ve ever been to Brazil or met a Brazilian, you will know that telenovelas are very popular there. And they do know how to produce some quality funny series.

The Husband Whisperer - Brazil 

In this episode called ‘The Husband Whisperer,’ an actor teaches wives how to tame their husbands. And yes, the idea is taken from the famous Dog Whisperer show with Cesar Millan!

I can’t decide whether it is funny or ridiculous, what’s your take on it?

Portuguese Dad Jokes

Portuguese people definitely enjoy a slower, more relaxed pace of life. They will often be sitting at a cafe during their lunch breaks, just chatting… and maybe cracking a joke or two. Here’s a funny joke about needing to lose weight.

Doutor, como é que eu faço para emagrecer? (Doctor, what do I have to do to lose weight?)
Basta a senhora mover a cabeça da esquerda para a direita e da direita para a esquerda. (All you have to do is move your head from left to right and from right to left.)
Quantas vezes, doutor? (How many times, doctor?)
Todas as vezes que lhe oferecerem comida. (Every time they offer you food.)

Sounds like a good diet to me.

Now, here’s a Portuguese pun for you:

Qual é o continente que tem problema de estômago? Ásia (azia)
What’s the continent that has a stomach problem? Asia.

In Portuguese the word Ásia sounds the same as the word azia, which means acid reflux. LOL.

How to Laugh (Online) in Portuguese

In Portuguese speaking countries, the most common form of expressing laughter is by using kkkkkkk.  It looks weird, I know (but that’s how laughing sounds in Portuguese). The letter K is pronounced as /kah/ so essentially you are saying kahkahkah, which does sound like hahaha.

Another alternative is rsrsrs.

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Summing Up: Comedy around the World

So, now that you have all the tools and knowledge to express laughter in six different languages, it’s time to make some new online friends and have a laugh!

Okay, I’m kidding. But do try to use some of these jokes when communicating with other people in the target language. You could also look up some on your own! And if you feel like you're too shy to learn a second language, we got you covered.

You can really benefit from watching the Saturday Night Live shows mentioned above too. It will improve your listening skills as well as your pronunciation when it comes to speaking.

If you want to further improve your listening, why not browse through the big selection of comedies on the Lingopie website. There is bound to be something for you to enjoy there.

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