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 January 05, 2016
“S car go” (escargot joke)

Escargot (snails) has a joke that’s been cited in print since at least 1980. The slow snail buys a fast sports car and paints the letter “S” all over it. The car dealer asks why, and the snail replies, “I want people to say, ‘Wow, look at that S-car go!’”

The food pun has been frequently told.


8 June 1980, Boston (MA) Herald American, “So this snail hit it big, bought a car and...” by The Paul Sullivan, pg. B14, col. 1:
TODAY’S BAD...er..make that Terrible Joke comes from Chevy Chase, who stars next in two films, “Oh Heavenly Dog” and “Seems Like Old Times.”

Chevy tells about the snail who hit it big in the state lottery and bought a flashy sports car, then went to the Registry to pick out a vanity plate.

“I just want a big capital S on the plate,” he told the clerk, The plate was available, so he gave the snail the forms to fill out.

“But tell me,” asked the clerk, “why do you want the letter S?”

“Because,” said the snail, “when I zip along the highway, I want people to say, ‘Wow, look at that S car go.’”

22 August 1983, Washington (DC) Times, “It finally happened: Worst joke I’ve heard” by John McKelway, pg. 4A, col. 1:
He said there was a snail who slid into an automobile showroom and bought a Cadillac. Before the snail picked up the car, he had the dealer paint the letter “S” all over the car. On the hood, the doors, the trunk, the fenders.

Now, when the snail came back to pick up the car, the dealer said, “Say, snail, why did you want us to paint all them ‘S’es on the car before you came for final settlement?”

“Cause,” said the snail, “we snails get no respect, and I want to drive out there and hear people say, ‘Look at that S-car go (escargot)!’”

3 June 1990, Marietta (GA) Daily Journal, “Vanity tags provide high-speed entertainment” by Nelson Price, pg. 3D, col. 5:
Reportedly, a snail bought a shiny new sports car and had a big capital “S” painted on each door and the trunk. When asked why, he commented he got tired of everybody talking about how slow he was.Now as he went speeding around everyone would say “Look at that ‘S’ car go.” Did you get it—escargot?

Google Books
March 2004, Boys’ Life, “Think & Grin,” pg. 57, col. 3:
A snail goes to buy a car. The salesman is surprised when the snail picks out a fast, expensive sports car. He’s even more surprised when the snail requires that a big red “S” be painted on both sides.

“Why would you want such a thing?” asked the salesman.

The snail replied, “I want people to say, ‘Look at that S car go!’”
Meghan and Jackson Konert, Van Buren, Ark.

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of Really Silly Jokes
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
2011
Pg. 56:
The snail gets his new car and spends the rest of his days roaring happily down the highway at top speed. And whenever anyone would see him zooming by, they’d say, “Wow! Look at that S-car go!” ...

Triad City Beat (Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, NC)
It Just Might Work: Look at that S car go
Posted by Brian Clarey on Wednesday, January 6, 2016
(...)
And the best part about it is the name, based on an old joke that describes a snail buying a Cadillac and demanding the dealership paint a giant letter S on the hood and the doors, setting up the punchline.

“I want everybody to say, ‘Look at that S car go!’”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, January 05, 2016 • Permalink