I don't know where you got yours or if you've even tried it, but I assure you it is VERY effective at reducing anxiety for me and is unquestionably not a placebo effect. There are very noticeable effects. Maybe it doesn't work for you, you got a bad brand, or you didn't take enough, but it works for a lot of people.
I encourage everyone to try phenibut for yourselves if you get a chance. The dose I use is typically 1g but I've taken up to 2.5g before. I wouldn't recommend that though because it gives me some infrequent muscle twitches and a bad hangover and drowsiness the next day.
I think he means it's a joke because of the rapid tolerance that develops. I heard one guy say you never get the feeling you got the first time again. Shame.