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 September 30, 2013
“Coffee break’s over! Everyone back on your heads!” (joke)

"Coffee break’s over! Back on your heads!” is the punchline of a popular joke. A man is sent to hell and the devil gives him three alternatives. The first two are terrifying. In the third, the man sees people waist deep in garbage or dung, drinking coffee. The man chooses the third fate. Then the devil announces, “OK! Coffee break’s over! Back on your heads!”

The joke has been cited in print since at least the 1970s.


Google Books
The Investment Dealers’ Digest
Volume 44, Part 4
1978
Pg. 64:
Then he saw a group of poor souls on a treadmill, which was very hot. He rejected that one, also.

Then he saw a group standing waist deep in garbage, drinking coffee. Of the three he saw, this seemed the best. So he accepted his post. Just then Satan blew a whistle, and shouted, “OK folks, coffee break’s over. Back on your heads.”

Google Books
The Dog with the Cold Nose
By James F. Dent
Charleston, WV: Jalamap Publications
1981
Pg. 77:
At that same moment, an apprentice demon came in cracking a huge whip. “All right,” the demon roared. “Coffee break’s over. Everybody back on their heads!”

5 April 1987, Sacramento (CA) Bee, “Nurses find sick humor an Rx for stress,” pg. D4:
“This isn’t so bad,” the man was thinking to himself when Satan called out, “OK, coffee break’s over. Everybody back on your heads.”

Barron’s—Tech Trader Daily
November 15, 2007, 3:32 P.M. ET
Coffee Break’s Over, Back On Your Heads
By Eric Savitz
I am reminded of a bad joke, about a man who dies and goes to hell, where he is given three choices of how to spend eternity. In room one, it’s the classic version, the evil-doers being engulfed by fire and brimstone. In room two, people are being devoured by wild beasts. In room three, people are standing around in waist-deep, uh, excrement, drinking coffee. The man chooses option three. He wanders over to a big coffee urn, gets himself a cup of coffee, takes a sip and is feeling pretty good about his decision. And then there is an announcement over a loudspeaker: “Attention! Coffee break is over! Back on your heads!”

Twitter
californiaBNN
‏@californiaBNN
AMERICAN DIGEST: “Coffee break’s over. Back on your heads!” http://tinyurl.com/59oaqa
11:31 AM - 14 Jun 08

Twitter
Nick Gould
‏@nickgould
Back from the weekend sans kids. To quote a classic old joke: “Coffee break’s over! Everyone back on your heads.”
6:14 PM - 29 Sep 13

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, September 30, 2013 • Permalink