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.

Recent entries:
“The shortest distance between two points is always under construction” (6/27)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/27)
“If I had a dollar for every existential crisis I’ve ever had…does money even matter?” (6/27)
“Keep your cymbal jokes to yourself. We’ve heard them all a Zildjian times” (6/27)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/27)
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Entry from April 10, 2011
“That low-down scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it”

This joke has been cited in print since at least November 1861:

“‘A man who’ll maliciously set fire to a barn,’ said Mr. Slow, ‘and burn up twenty cows, ought to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’d like to do it.’ Slow is very severe sometimes.”

There is no evidence that the original joke had anything to do with Texas. James V. Allred (1899-1969) was Texas governor from 1935 to 1939. Allred is credited with using the anecdote, and the joke is now associated with “a congressional candidate in Texas.”


22 November 1861, Springfield (MA) Republican, pg. 2, col. 6:
“A man who’ll maliciously set fire to a barn,” said Mr. Slow, “and burn up twenty cows, ought to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’d like to do it.” Slow is very severe sometimes.

10 March 1871, Kalamazoo (MI) Gazette, pg. 1:
“A man who’d maliciously set fire to a barn,” said good old elder Poyson, “and burn up a stable full of horses and cows, ought to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’d like to be the one to do it.”

Google Books
Wit and Humor:
A choice collection

By Marshall Brown
Chicago, IL: Griggs
1879
Pg. 116:
“A man who’d maliciously set tire to a barn,” said Elder Podson, “ and burn up a stable full of horses and cows, ought to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’d like to be the one to do it.”

Google Books
How to Hold an Audience Without a Rope
By Joshua Bryan Lee
Chicago, IL: Ziff-Davis Pub. Co.
1947
Pg. 247:
Jimmy Allred of Texas was a colorful candidate when he ran for governor. He attacked his opponent with vigor and humor. He opened his campaign by telling the story of the fellow whose righteous wrath caused him to of a certain scalawag, “That scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass; and I’m the one to do it!”

Google Books
If Elected, I Promise:
1001 jokes, toasts, stories, and gems of wisdom by and about politicians

By John F. Parker
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1960
Pg. 18:
It happened to a congressional aspirant in Texas who blurted: “That low-down scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass— and I’m just the one to do it.”

Google Books
1001 Funniest Things Ever Said
By Steven D. Price
Guilford, CT: Lyons Press
2006
Pg. 182:
That scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.
— A congressional candidate in Texas

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, April 10, 2011 • Permalink