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 March 06, 2015
“How late does the band play?” (joke)

Drummers often play to their own beat. A popular joke involves a bar customer who is listening to a jazz band:

BAR CUSTOMER (to bartender): Hey buddy, how late does the band play?
BARTENDER: Oh, about half a beat behind the drummer.


The joke has been cited in print since at least 1990.


Google Books
Jazz Anecdotes
By Bill Crow
New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
1990
Pg. V:
Our own jokes arise from exaggerating the realities of our lives. Like:

“How late does the band play?”
“About half a beat behind the drummer.”

Google Groups: rec.music.classical
Musician jokes v2.0
boB
9/1/94
(...)
“Hey, buddy.  How late does the band play?” “Oh, about half a beat behind the drummer.”

Google Groups: rec.humor
Canonical List Of Music Humor 1/1
Too Live Krewe
2/15/95
(...)
Hey, buddy, how late does the band play?
Oh, about half a beat behind the drummer.

Google Books
Fakebook:
Improvisations on a Journey Back to Jazz

By Richard Terrill
New York, NY: Limelight Ed.
2000
Pg. 107:
‘Hey buddy, how late does the band play?” ... “Oh, about a half beat behind the drummer.”

Google Books
Man Walks into a Bar:
Over 6,000 of the Most Hilarious Jokes, Funniest Insults and Gut-Busting One-Liners

By Stephen Arnott and Mike Haskins
Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press
2004
Pg. 317:
Man to bartender: “Hey buddy, how late does the band play?” Bartender: “Oh, about a halfbeat behind the drummer.”

Google Books
The Best Musicians’ Jokes
By Bruno Kassel and Carlo May
Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
2005
Pg. 38:
”Hey buddy, how late does the band play?”
“Oh, about a half a beat behind the drummer!”

musicradar
The 23 best drummer jokes ever
Heartbeat of the band, butt of jokes

Joe Bosso August 18, 2008, 12:27 UTC
(...)
“Hey buddy, how late does the band play?”
“Oh, about half a beat behind the drummer.”

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of One-Liners
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
2012
Pg. ?:
Mike: “How late does the band play?”
Marty: “About half a beat behind the drummer.”

Facebook
Canadian Musician Magazine
Joke of the Day
“Hey buddy, how late does the band play?”
“Oh, about a half a beat behind the drummer.”
November 11, 2014

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Friday, March 06, 2015 • Permalink