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 February 09, 2016
“How do you make a musician complain?"/"Give him a gig.”

Musicians are seldom satisfied. An old joke is:

Q: How do you make a musician complain?
A: Give him a gig.


The joke has been cited in print since at least the 1990s. A variation was cited on Twitter on June 7, 2012:

Q: How do you make musicians complain?
A: Pay them.



Thomas Chapin
A Brief Anthology of Thomas’ Words
1995
About Being a Musician
“I thought: Will I be able to make it on my own? I took every job I could get. Chamber music, country & western with a band from Kentucky. I played flute in a flamenco ensemble, anything, as long as I could finance my own thing. My colleagues often grouse about their work. There’s an old joke: ‘How can you make a jazz musician complain? Give him a gig.’ You should always realize how great it is that you can play what you want.” – Ibid.

Google Groups: alt.music.ska
RiMSHOT! [v03.02] BANTER - Interview w/ Buck Hingley!
Yuzo Watanabe
9/16/97
(...)
There’s an old joke that goes around about the music business:

Q: How do you make a musician complain? 
A: Give him a gig.

Google Groups: rec.music.makers.guitar.jazz
Only three more
Joe Finn
9/1/02
(...)
It’s like the old joke:

Q: Want to hear a musician complain?
A: Give him a gig.

Google Groups: alt.guitar.bass
long week
Scot Larsen
4/22/03
(...)
question: “How do you make a musician complain?”
answer: “Give em a gig.”

Twitter
Joe MuscaraJoe Stone
‏@jmuscara
P.S. How do you make a musician complain? Get him a gig. So don’t mind me.
6:08 AM - 27 Oct 2009

Twitter
Mike del Ferro
‏@mikedelferro
How to make a Musician complain : give him a gig
10:11 AM - 14 Sep 2010

Twitter
Moinlabs
‏@moinlabs
@Stonewing @nailmusic Best musician joke ever! “How do you make a musician complain? Give him a gig.”
5:19 PM - 21 Aug 2011

Twitter
Yosaif Krohn
‏@Yosaifkrohn
Q: How do you make musicians complain?
A: Pay them.
6:56 AM - 7 Jun 2012

Talk Classical
Thread: The most incredibly lame classical music jokes
Lunasong
Nov-11-2012, 06:02
(...)
Q: How do you make musicians complain?
A: Pay them.

Facebook
The Requisite
October 1, 2013 ·
Q: How do you make musicians complain?
A: Pay them.

musicianscontact.com
Date Published: 06/27/2015
Subject: Jokes only musicians understand
(...)
How do you make a musician complain? Give him a gig. How do you make him complain more? Give him a raise.

Westword
“COMMON-FUCKING-SENSE TRUMPS EGO”: EXCLUSIVE WITH CLAUDE COLEMAN OF WEEN
BY ADAM PERRYTUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2016
(...)
“Musicians can be so self-important and uptight. There’s an old joke: ‘How do you make a musician complain? Get him a gig!’”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Tuesday, February 09, 2016 • Permalink