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.

Recent entries:
“Give me all your money or you’re geography!” (bank robbery joke) (6/24)
“A tragedy is a ship full of bankers sinking. A catastrophe is when they can all swim” (6/24)
“You said you had between ten and fifteen million dollars in the bank” (joke) (6/24)
“Cell phones keep getting thinner and smarter…people the opposite” (6/24)
“Before you diagnose yourself with depression, first make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes” (6/24)
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Entry from March 10, 2015
“How many altos does it take to screw in a light bulb?” (joke)

Singers have popular jokes on how many it takes to screw in a lightbulb:

Q: How many altos does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None, they can’t get up that high.


The joke has been cited in print since at least 1992. “How many sopranos does it take to screw in a light bulb?” is another popular joke.


Google Books
Musical Opinion
Volume 115
1992
Pg. 278:
Q. How many sopranos does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. Four. One to change the bulb and three to kick the chair from under her.
Q. How many altos?
A. Five. One to change the bulb and four to complain that it was too high.
Q. Tenors?
A. Six. One to change the bulb and five to complain that they weren’t asked.
Q. And Basses?
A. As many as you like, because none of them will show up on the day.

Google Books
The Musician’s Joke Book:
Knowing the Score

By Nancy Groce
New York, NY: Schirmer Books; London: Prentice Hall International
1996
Pg. ?:
How many altos does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None, they can’t get up that high.

Google Groups: rec.music.makers.choral
Choral Humour
Lucas M Weiss
2/8/97
Q: Why are altos always locked out of their houses?
A:  because they can’t find the key and they don’t know how to come in.
Q: How many sopranos does it take to screw in a litebulb?
A:  One.  She holds the lightbulb and the world revolves around her.
Q:  How many Altos does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A:  They can’t reach that high.

Google Groups: rec.music.folk
music jokes
cbw
10/27/97
Q.How many altos does it take to change a light bulb?
A.Ten.  One to change it and nine to complain it’s too high!

Google Books
The Best Musicians’ Jokes
By Bruno Kassel and Carlo May
Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
2005
Pg. 99:
How many altos does it take to change a lightbulb?
None, because they cannot reach it.

Twitter
MusicianHumor
‏@JokesBoutMusic
How many altos does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
None. They can’t get that high.
2:08 AM - 6 Mar 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Tuesday, March 10, 2015 • Permalink