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 October 07, 2015
“Sex is like bridge…” (bridge joke)

The game of bridge has a popular sex joke connected with it: 

“Sex is like bridge: if you don’t have a good partner, you better have a good hand.”

The joke has been cited in print since at least 1989, when it was cited in a book about acting.

In a 1992 book, the line was credited to female impersonator Charles Pierce (1926-1999). The line is sometimes credited to Brooklyn-born actress Mae West (1893-1980), but this is possibly because of Pierce’s impersonation of her in his act. Bronx-born film director Woody Allen is also sometimes credited with the line, but there’s no evidence that he ever said it. Allen’s character did say in the film Annie Hall (1977), “Hey, don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.”


Wikipedia: Charles Pierce (female impersonator)
Charles Pierce (July 14, 1926 – May 31, 1999) was one of the 20th century’s foremost female impersonators, particularly noted for his impersonation of Bette Davis.

Google Books
Acting:
Onstage and Off

By Robert Barton
New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston
1989
Pg. 182:
“Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.”

Google Books
The Gay Decades:
From Stonewall to the Present:
The People and Events that Shaped Gay Lives

By Leigh W. Rutledge
New York, NY: Plume
1992
Pg. 36:
THE WIT AND WISDOM OF CHARLES PIERCE
“Sex is like bridge: if you don’t have a good partner, you better have a good hand.”

Google Books
Furnished for Murder
By Richard Barth
New York, NY: Ballantine Books
1993, ©1991
Pg. 23:
“Why is bridge like sex?”

Leo sat down on the queen-size bed and waved his hand to dispel some of the smoke. “Why?”

“Because in both you need either a good partner or a good hand.”

Google Books
You’re Making a Scene:
Scenes from Canadian Plays

By Tony Hamill
Toronto, ON: Playwrights Canada Press
1993
Pg. 98:
PHIL. Hey, at least I’m having it. Of course, you know what they say. Sex is like Bridge. If you don’t have a good partner you’d better have a good hand. Well, you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you? Huh?

Google Books
Pieces of a Dream
By Sy Makaringe
New York, NY: Penguin
1996
Pg. 150:
Quotable quotes
Sex is like bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you better have a good hand.
Bumper sticker.

Google Books
Single in the City:
The Independent Woman’s Handbook

By Sunny Singh and Tapas Guha
New York, NY: Penguin Books
2000
Pg. 323:
The great Mae West once said that ‘Good sex is like bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you better have a good hand.’

Google Books
Beer, Boxers, Batteries, and Bodily Noises
By Stuart Kantor and Mark King
Lincoln, NE: iUniverse
2004
Pg. 64:
Woody (snicker, snicker) Allen said that “having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.” Masturbatory humor may be crass, but it’s also part of life.

Google Books
The Biggest Joke Book Ever
By Jack Jacoby
Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing
2008
Pg. ?:
Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand. Woody Allen

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Wednesday, October 07, 2015 • Permalink