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Dictators, terrorists, and totalitarian ideologues, almost by definition, cannot tolerate being laughed at. Nor can anyone with an inflated ego and thin skin. Ridicule is their Achilles’ heel. And, humor is a robust underground phenomenon in any society. The Soviet leadership was so fearful of humor that the KGB had what Russian comedian Yakov Smirnov called a “Department of Jokes.” That was not the real name of the department, which had a more anodyne designation as a subunit of the KGB’s political enforcement section, the Fifth Chief Directorate, but Smirnov’s nickname for it made the KGB look all the more weak and bizarre (although all jokes still had to be KGB approved).6

Source: Waller-Weaponizing Ridicule