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 08, 2016
“How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?” (joke)

The “light bulb joke” has a New York City version:

Q: How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None of your business!
A: Go fuck yourself!


New York City versions of the “light bulb joke” were cited in 1979 and 1980, but the “None of your business!” answer was cited in 1981.


3 July 1979, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “The laugh’s on...” by Warren Berry, pg. A8, col. 1:
New York City joke:
How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
At least eight. One to screw it in and seven onlookers to shout “I’m not gonna get involved!”

13 September 1980, The Irish Times (Dublin), pg. 12, col. 8:
The latest craze in the Unites States is telling light bulb jokes. They go something like this:

How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two, one to call the electrician and the other to mix the martinis.

18 September 1981, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), Fun mag., pg. 4, col. 5:
And more lightbulb jokes:
How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None of your business!

20 December 1982, The Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock, AR), “Money, Mexico and other such matters” by Joe Sobran, pg. 4, col. 4:
“How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?”
“None of your damn business!”

Google Books
15 May 1984, PC Magazine, pg. 84, col. 3:
“How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb? None of your damn business.”

Google Groups: net.jokes
light bulb humor
Michaelntz
12/24/85
(...)
Q:  How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  None of your goddamned business.

Google Books
Crime-victim Stories:
New York City’s Urban Folklore

By Eleanor F. Wachs
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press
1988
Pg. 77:
In this joke, one New Yorker asks another, “How many New Yorkers does it take to change a lightbulb?” The reply? “What’s it to ya?”

Google Groups: eunet.jokes
Oh No! More Lightbulb Jokes!!
Dave Kennard
5/17/89
(...)
Q:  How many New Yorkers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A:  None of your fucking business!

Google Books
The Big Book of New American Humor:
The Best of the Past 25 Years

By William Novak, Moshe Waldoks and Donald Altschiller
New York, NY: HarperPerennial
1990
Pg. 243:
How many New Yorkers does It take to screw in a light bulb? None of your damn business.

Google Books
Jokes My Mother Never Told Me
By Marc Barry
New York, NY: Shapolsky Publishers
1990
Pg. 49:
How many New Yorkers does it take to change a lightbulb?
Go fuck yourself!

Google Groups: rec.org.mensa
E’ (e-prime)
Mike Steiner
5/10/92
(...)
How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?

What’s it to ya?

Google Groups: ba.singles
New Yorkers Club
Rick Ace
8/12/92
(...)
Q: How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: What do I look like, a *#&%$@! electrician?

Google Groups: alt.tasteless.jokes
How many New Yorkers does it take
SheetNFire
9/15/98
How Many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
7 : one to put in the light bulb, one to stand guard and 5 to fuck each other in the ass!

Google Groups: alt.support.loneliness
How Many does it take?
John Urie
3/31/99
(...)
2.  Q:  How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light-bulb?
A:  Nonayya $*^&$^@#$@!! Business!

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
2007
Pg. 256:
How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb? None of your damn business!

Twitter
renee fontes
‏@naylyn
how many new yorkers does it take to change a lightbulb?? none of your business!! smile
6:40 PM - 6 Apr 2009

Google Books
The Little Red Book of New York Wisdom
By Former Mayor Ed Koch with Gregg Stebben and Jason Katzman
New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing
2011
Pg. 136:
How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
None of your fucking business.
LYNNE TILLMAN, NO LEASE ON LIFE

reddit
How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light-bulb?
submitted April 3, 2016 by AwwHellsNo
“Go fuck yourself!”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • Thursday, September 08, 2016 • Permalink