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 18, 2016
“I quit smoking cold turkey” (joke)

"Cold turkey” is defined as a sudden stop to a dependency (such as smoking or drugs). A pun on the “cold turkey” term appeared in New York magazine on November 20, 1978:

“I quit smoking cold turkey.”
“Was it tough?”
“Yeah, now I’m into smoked salmon.”
Albert Puma, Brooklyn


Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff used the joke in his act in the 1980s. “I quit smoking cold turkey,” an American told Smirnoff. “What do you smoke now?” Smirnoff replied, then seemingly unfamiliar with the slang term. “Ham?”


Wikipedia: Cold turkey
“Cold turkey” describes the abrupt cessation of a substance dependence and the resulting unpleasant experience, as opposed to gradually easing the process through reduction over time or by using replacement medication.

The supposed advantage is, by not actively using supplemental methods, the addict avoids thinking about the habit and its temptation, and avoids further feeding the addiction.

Google Books
20 November 1978, New York magazine, “New York Magazine Competition” by Mary Ann Madden, pg. 128, col. 2:
“I quit smoking cold turkey.”
“Was it tough?”
“Yeah, now I’m into smoked salmon.”
Albert Puma, Brooklyn

Google Books
2500 Jokes to Start ‘Em Laughing
By Robert Orben
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1979
Pg. 174:
I quit smoking cold turkey, and you know why? You ever try to keep a cold turkey lit?

11 March 1989, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Comedy Review: Russian Plies His Fish-Out-of-Water Act Into Success” by Duncan Strauss, pg. 12:
A second later, he (Yakov Smirnoff—ed.) re-created his zany first encounter with another American idiom when a woman told him “I quit smoking cold turkey.” To which he replied “Whatever makes you happy.” Wait, wait-get this-then he said: “What do you smoke now-ham?”

Google Books
Jokes Over Easy:
1,386 Delicious Jokes from the Best Comedians

By Judy Brown
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble
2003
Pg. 198:
A friend said, “I quit smoking cold turkey.” What do you smoke now? Ham?
-- YAKOV SMIRNOFF

Google Books
3650 Jokes, Puns, and Riddles
By Anne Kostick, Charles Foxgrover and Michael J. Pellowski
New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal, Publishers’
2009
Pg. 121:
Larry: I quit smoking cold turkey!
Barry: That must’ve been tough.
Larry: Not as tough as keeping that turkey lit!

Twitter
Andrew
‏@Asharwood
I wish I knew how to smoke turkey bc then I could say “I quit smoking cold turkey” to people
6:25 PM - 4 Feb 2010

Twitter
J Ryan Fonder
‏@JRyanFonder
What I meant to say is: I quit smoking, cold turkey. I still smoke cold turkey, and eat it. #commasmakeadifference
7:24 AM - 5 May 2010

Twitter
FunnyOneLiners
‏@Funnyoneliners
I quit smoking cold turkey. The feathers were making me gag.
6:41 PM - 23 Jul 2010

Twitter
✨Tiffany ✨
‏@santasdevil
RT @SamGrittner: I quit smoking cold turkey.... now I microwave it.
2:28 PM - 4 Aug 2010

Twitter
Jamie Capria
‏@MrFornicator
I quit smoking cold turkey… now I warm it up first.
8:21 PM - 21 Nov 2010

YouTube
Quit Smoking Cold Turkey - DAY OF THE JOKE 8
RealPunny
Published on Apr 7, 2012

Reddit
I quit smoking cold turkey.
submitted June 1, 2016 by KREMITTHEFOG
I now let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes first.

Twitter
derrek
‏@derrekord
I quit smoking cold turkey. *turns and gives shit eating grin* now I just smoke cigarettes
11:58 AM - 9 Jul 2016

Twitter
Brady Figuly
‏@bradycomeback
I quit smoking cold turkey. It’s just so hard to get deli meat to light.
11:26 AM - 10 Aug 2016

Reddit
Today I quit smoking cold turkey
submitted September 18, 2016 by TheCreatorLovesYou
Turns out hot turkey is much better for smoking.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, September 18, 2016 • Permalink