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The DPRK’s favourite Korean joke

If you’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to North Korea, you’d likely be surprised to have found that a large number of Korean guides have quite a sharp sense of humour and are quick to tell you a North Korean joke.

Ever the entertainers, it’s not uncommon for one of your Korean guides to opt to tell a joke rather than sing a song on one of those long bus rides to the DMZ. More often than not, the joke that is told is the classic “I want to sing a song” joke, guaranteed to have most Korean guides struggling to complete the joke through stifled fits of laughter.

Written by one of the DPRK’s most well-known comedians, Li Sun Hong, and airing on television for the first time a few years ago, the DPRK’s favourite North Korean joke goes as follows:

A little boy sits at the dinner table with his family eating dinner. After drinking too much juice he announces to the table “Mummy! Mummy! I need to pee!”

Embarrassed by her son’s uncouth table manners she corrects him by saying “my son! How rude of you! Next time you need to use the bathroom please come to me and say, “I want to sing a song,” this is much more polite!”

“Okay, please then, I want to sing a song,” replies the boy as he is escorted from the dinner table to the bathroom.

Later that night while the house is asleep, the little boy wakes up desperately needing to use the bathroom. He tiptoes into his grandfather’s room and gently taps him on the shoulder.

“Grandfather, grandfather, please, I want to sing a song,” says the little boy. Annoyed, the grandfather wakes up and replies “what are you talking about boy?! You can’t sing a song now, it’s the middle of the night!”

“Please, grandfather! I really, really want to sing a song!” replied the boy, getting more and more desperate.

“Are you mad?! You’ll wake everyone up!” replies the grandfather.

“I really, really need to sing a song though!” says the boy. Exasperated, the grandfather sighs and says “okay, well if you really need to sing a song, do it quietly into my ear.”


Two North Korean's cracking up at the North's favourite Korean joke.
Look at ’em, they’re cracking up.

Experience the razor-sharp wit of the North Koreans yourself on one of our tours!