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 March 16, 2010
“Taxi driver made them pray” (joke)

New York City cabbies have a reputation of reckless driving. A joke tells of a minister who gets into a cab and dies in a crash. St. Peter allows the taxi driver into heaven, but not the minister. “But I’ve been doing God’s work!” the minister gasps. St. Pater replies: “During your sermons, everyone slept. When he drove, everyone prayed.”

The joke has been cited in print since at least 1981. Since at least 1999, the taxi driver in the joke has been given a Jewish name ("Joe Cohen") to add to the irony of St. Peter’s decision.


New York Jokes - AHAJokes.com
Oh Lordy!
A minister dies and, resplendent in his clerical collar and colorful robes, waits in line at the Pearly Gates. Just ahead of him is a guy dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans.

Saint Peter addresses this guy, “Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?”

The guy replies, “I’m Joe Green, taxi-driver, of Noo Yawk City.”

Saint Peter consults his list, smiles and says to the taxi-driver, “Take this silken robe and golden staff, and enter into the Kingdom.”

So the taxi-driver enters Heaven with his robe and staff, and the minister is next in line. Without being asked, he proclaims, “I am Michael O’Connor, head pastor of Saint Mary’s for the last forty-three years.”

Saint Peter consults his list and says, “Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“Just a minute,” says the preacher, “that man was a taxi-driver, and you issued him a silken robe and golden staff. But I get wood and cotton. How can this be?”

“Up here, we go by results,” says Saint Peter. “While you preached, people slept—while he drove, people prayed.”

Google News Archive
14 February 1981. Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Taxi driver made them pray” by Alex Thien, pt. 3, pg. 1, col. 1:
AL GEIERSBACH said the man of the cloth arrived at the airport and immediately hailed a cab for the trip to his hotel. Unfortunately, the teaxi driver was rather erratic and both died in a head-on crash with a semi.

WHen they arrived at the Pearly Gates and called for St. Peter, they waited until he checked them out on his list. To the taxi driver, St. Peter said, “Well done, my son. You may enter.” To the miniser he said, “I’m sorry, but you can’t come in.”

The minister was shocked.

“I have done the Lord’s work all my life and cannot enter heaven while this man—who just killed us both—is not even questioned. What’s wrong?” he asked.

St. Peter told him, “Well. whenever you preached a sermon, everyone slept. But whenever that man drove his taxi, everyone prayed.”

Google Groups: alt.politics
Newsgroups: alt.politics
From: “Greg”
Date: 1999/05/12
Subject: Political Jokes

Father O’Flannagan dies due to old age. Upon entering St.Peter’s gate, there is another man in front, waiting to go into heaven. St. Peter asks the man, “What is your name what did you accomplish during your life?”. The man responds “My name is Joe Cohen, and I was a New York city Taxi driver for 14 years” “Very well,” says St. Peter, “Here is your silk robe and golden scepter, now you may walk in the streets of our Lord.” St. Peter looks at the Father, and asks “What is your name and what did you accomplish?” He responds, “I’m Father O’Flannagan, and have devoted the last 62 years to the Lord”. “Very well,” says St. Peter, “Here is your cotton robe and wooden staff, you may enter.” “Wait a minute,” says O’Flannagan, “You gave the taxi driver a silk robe and golden scepter, why did I only get a cotton robe and wooden staff?”. “Well,” St. Peter replied, “We work on a performance scale, you see while you preached, everyone slept, when he drove taxis, everyone prayed!”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • (0) Comments • Tuesday, March 16, 2010 • Permalink