New York City-born comedian Joe E. Lewis (1902-1971) told syndicated entertainment columnist Earl Wilson in June 1957 that he had sworn off drinking and heavy eating. “In 14 days,” Lewis said, “I lost almost two weeks.” In July 1957, Earl Wilson republished the joke as one of the year’s best. Lewis frequently used the joke in his comedy act.
Comedienne Totie Fields (1930-1978) often joked about her weight problems as well. “I’ve been on a diet for two weeks—and all I lost was two weeks” is a joke that was added to her act by at least 1967.
Both Joe E. Lewis and Totie Fields have been credited with the joke in quotation collections on the Internet and in books,
Wikipedia: Joe E. Lewis
Joe E. Lewis (January 12, 1902 – June 4, 1971), born Joseph Klewan in New York City, was an American comedian and singer.
Wikipedia: Totie Fields
Totie Fields (May 7, 1930 – August 2, 1978) was an American comedienne.
The Quote Garden
Quotations about Dieting
I’ve been on a diet for two weeks and all I’ve lost is fourteen days. ~Totie Fields
6 June 1957, Rockford (IL) Register-Republic, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 10D, col. 2:
NEW YORK—Comedian Joe E. Lewis told me from Las Vegas that he went on a diet—swore off drinking and heavy eating. “In 14 days,” he said, “I lost almost two weeks.”
Google News Archives
11 July 1957, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Best of New York: 1957 Thus Far Is Most Hilarious” by Earl Wilson, pg. 25, col. 1:
“I went on a reducing diet—quit drinking and eating,” reported Comic Joe E. Lewis, “and in only 14 days, I lost almost two weeks.”
28 August 1964, Marietta (GA) Daily Journal, “Try and Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf, pg. 3B, col. 3:
A fat lady reluctantly agreed to go on a strict diet. Her first report to her doctor read, “Well, I’ve been on that diet of yours now for two weeks, and all I’ve lost is fourteen days!”
18 March 1967, Altoona (PA) Mirror, “What in the World!” by Allen Garvin, Family Weekly, pg. 2, cols. 3-4:
Big Star The biggest new comedienne is Totie Fields. One critic says: “Dressed in yellow, she looks like a 500-pound canary.” Her weight may be one secret of her success. Totie explains: “People can relate to me because the whole world is fighting a losing battle with weight. One look at me, and they’re my people. I throw out such lines as: ‘I’ve been on a diet for two weeks—and all I lost was two weeks.’”
Food and Drink:
A book of quotations
By Susan L. Rattiner
Mineola, NY: Dover
I’ve been on a diet for two weeks and all I’ve lost is two weeks.
New York City • Food/Drink • (1) Comments • Thursday, April 12, 2012 • Permalink
Excellent joke! I would have to agree with Joe on that, doesn’t sound too much fun