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:
“Running is a mental sport and we are all insane” (4/28)
“Monday must be a man. It comes too quickly” (4/28)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (4/28)
“There’s no more difficult transition than Sunday to Monday” (4/28)
“What do you call a Mexican drowning in mayonnaise?"/"Sinko de Mayo.” (4/28)
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Entry from November 15, 2010
“The chicken is the only animal we eat before it’s born and after it’s dead”

"The chicken is the only animal we eat before it’s born and after it’s dead” is a joke (or saying) that’s been used from vaudeville days. Forms of the joke have been cited in print since at least the 1910s.


Google Books
February 1915, San Joaquin Light and Power Magazine (Fresno, CA), pg. 105, col. 2:
The Versatile Hen
Fuzzy Bo: “Talk about yer eagles all ye want to, but give me the good American hen first every time.”
Andy: “Yep, de hen’s a wonder.”
Fuzzy Bo: “Sure, it’s a wonder; ye can eat it before it’s born, an’ ye can eat it after it’s dead; nuthin’ on earth can beat that.”

11 March 1920, Lubbock (TX) Avalanche, pg. 6, cols. 3-4:
The teecher ast of Bilsters who was the most wunder full animal in the earth and he sed it was the chicken. She sed Why and he sed it was because it is good to eat before its born and all so after it died.

Google Books
The Gargoyle
Volume 18
1924
Pg. ?: 
He: What animal is it that you eat before it’s born and after it’s dead?
She: I’ll bite.
He: A chicken. — Purple Cow

Google Books
Minstrel Memories: A gay ‘90s minstrel
By Tom Taggart
New York, NY: Samuel French
1950
Pg. 26:
TAMBO. Good? Dey haven’t laid a bad egg yet. You know, it’s a funny thing about chickens —
INTERLOCUTOR. What is?
TAMBO. It’s de onliest animal you can eat before it’s born.
INTERLOCUTOR. True, quite true.

Google Books
Backyard Poultry Raising:
The chicken-growing, egg-laying, feather-plucking, incubating, caponizing, finger-licking handbook

By John F. Adams
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1977
Pg. 9:
An old vaudeville gag had it that the chicken must be the world’s most useful animal— you can eat it before it’s born and after it’s dead.

Google Books
The Outlaw Trail
By Robert Redford
New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap
1978
Pg. 33:
“Did you know the chicken is the only thing we eat before it’s born and after it’s dead?” said Tex.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Monday, November 15, 2010 • Permalink