A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 31, 2015
“A grasshopper walks into a bar…” (bar joke)

“A guy walks into a bar...” is a typical form of what has been called the “bar joke.” A popular joke involving a grasshopper (hinting at the Grasshopper cocktail) is:

“A grasshopper goes into a bar and orders a martini. The bartender says, in passing, ‘Do you know we have a drink named after you?’ The grasshopper says, ‘No really? You have a drink named Howard?’”

The joke (the grasshopper’s personal name varies) has been cited in print since at least 1960.

[This entry was assisted by research from the Quote Investigator and Stephen Goranson of the American Dialect Society.]


Google Books
1960, Crow’s Forest Products Digest (Volume 38, Part 2), “Anything Goes” by Bob Smith, pg. 146, cols. 1-2:
“On the slight chance you may not have majored in biology at Yale, the Melanoplus spretus is a grasshopper to the common people. It soon became apparent he was holding a conversation with a Lucantis cervus. For those clods of you who flunked Latin, the Lucanus cervus is a beetle. This is the way it went:

Beetle (Despondently): “Hi. hopper.”
Grasshopper: “Jeez. Luce, you sound like from graveside. Whatsa- matter...got bursitis in all eight legs?”
Beetle: “It isn’t funny. Migod, did you see the last Saturday Evening Post ads? They now got ‘Bug Kill”...’Spin-In’...’Wing Peel” and “Insect-is-side’...they’re really after me.”
Grasshopper: “Whatya mean people like us? I’ve never noticed any old Homo Sapiens knocking themselves out for us grasshoppers.”
Beetle: “They do too like you. They’ve even named a drink after you. It’s yummy too...cream..shaved ice...and Creme de Menthe.
Grasshopper (Bridling with suspicion): “You nuts or something? I get around...there’s never been a drink named after me. I’ve never heard of a drink named Chester.”

And neither have you.

22 June 1961, Atchison (KS) Daily Globe, “here in Atchison” by Al Bennett, pg. 4, col. 6:
I got this one from Tom Kiene of The Topeka Capital: A man sat down at a bar and saw a grasshopper occupying the adjacent stool. The customer ordered, quaffed and turned to the grasshopper.

“Say, buddy,” he offered brightly, “did you know there is a drink named for you?” “What!” returned the grasshopper in real amazement. “A drink named ‘Howard’?”

24 July 1961, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Ham On Ryon: It’s Almost Too Pat to Be True” by Art Ryon, pg. B5, col. 1:
Silliest story of the week: A bartender meets a grasshopper and is pretty impressed. “Do you know,” he asks, “that we have a drink named after you?” This impresses the grasshopper. “Gee, imagine,” he exclaims, “a drink named Leonard!”

18 August 1961, Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH), “Chit-Chat On Paar’s Show Most Satisfying” by Doc Quigg (UPI), pg. 17, col. 2:
(Jack—ed.) Paar keeps up with the new jokes making the rounds. It wasn’t three days alter I heard the one about the talking grasshopper that he was telling it on his show (The man said lo the grasshopper, “We’ve got a drink named after you.” The grasshopper said: “You’ve got a drink named Irving?").

12 September 1961, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, “Main Street Meditations” by Eleanor Clarage, pg. 19, col. 1:
Seems a grasshopper went into a bar, ordered a martini, and fell into conversation with the bartender, who said, “Say, do you know we have a drink named after you?”

Asked the grasshopper, “You mean ‘Howard’?”

2 October 1969, The Evening Times (Trenton, NJ), “Stop Me If You’ve...” by Don MacLean, pg. 16, col. 1:
A grasshopper goes into a bar and orders a martini. The bartender says, in passing, “Do you know we have a drink named after you?” The grasshopper says, “No really? You have a drink named Howard?”

Google News Archive
21 March 1997, Milwaukee (WI) Journal Sentinel, “A few laughs from an old friend” by William Janz,pg. 1B, col. 1:
“Grasshopper walks into a bar, sits down and the bartender says, ‘Hey, we got a drink named after you.’ And the grasshopper says, ‘Why would you name a drink Bob?’”

Google Books
A Guy Goes Into a Bar ...
By Al Tapper and Peter Robert Press
Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing
2000
Pg. 188:
A grasshopper goes into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender says, “You know, we have a drink named after you here.” The grasshopper looks puzzled and replies, “You have a drink named Fred?”

Google News Archive
30 April 2001, Lawrence (KS) Journal-World, “First 100 days on foreign policy” by jim Hoagland, pg. 6B, col. 2:
WASHINGTON — Grasshopper walks into a bar. Bartender: “We’ve got a drink named after you.” Grasshopper: “You’ve got a drink named Morton?”

Google Books
Jerry and Tom
By Rick Cleveland
New York, NY: Samuel French
2002
Pg. 12:
TOM. You got a joke?
TONY. This grasshopper walks into a bar, the bartender says, You know, we got a drink named after you. The grasshopper goes, What, you got a drink named Kevin?

Google News Archive
10 March 2002, The Blade (Toledo, OH), Pg. C2 masthead:
They said it
“A grasshopper walks into a bar. Bartender says. ‘We’ve got a drink named after you.’ And the grasshopper says, ‘You’ve got a drink named Irving?"”

Twitter
Mike Spencer-Jones
‏@MikeSJ69
A horse walks into a bar. Barman says “Hey,we’ve got a drink named after you”. Horse replies “what, Eric?” #oldjokes
Steeple Claydon, England
4:05 PM - 31 Jan 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Saturday, January 31, 2015 • Permalink