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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“Why did the cactus cross the road?"/"It was stuck to the chicken.” (10/15)
“Three conspiracy theorists walk into a bar…” (bar joke) (10/15)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/15)
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Entry from June 08, 2016
“The fat, alcoholic transvestite just wanted to eat, drink and be Mary”

"Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” is an old saying. “Eat, drink and be Mary” is a jocular variant, and “Eat, drink and be with Mary” was cited in 1905. “In New Guinea every woman is named Mary. All the ladies have to do is eat, drink and be Mary” was cited in many newspapers in 1946.

The transvestite joke dates to at least 1976, when this was printed in a Milwaukee (WI) newspaper:

“OF COURSE, YOU heard the new definition of a transvestite. That’s the sort of fellow who wants to eat, drink and be Mary.”

“Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet” is another jocular variation of the saying.


Google Books
Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs
Edited by Jennifer Speake
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2015
Pg. 88:
EAT, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
A conflation of two biblical sayings: Bible (AV) Ecclesiastes 8:15 Then I commend mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry...and Bible (AV) Isaiah 22:13 Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die. There are a number of jocular variants.

28 September 1905, Logansport (IN) Journal, “New Teeth in Old Saws,” pg. 8, col. 1:
Eat, drink and be with Mary.

Chronicling America
5 November 1919, The Monitor (Barton, VT), “Slat’s Diary,” pg. 6, col. 4:
She sed Repeet the 10th commandment & I sed it was eat drink and be Mary for tomorrow you’ll be Dry.

11 August 1946, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), pg. 6-A, col. 4:
In New Guinea every woman is named Mary. All the ladies have to do is eat, drink and be Mary.

Google News Archive
30 May 1954, Florence (AL) Times, “Barbs of Today” by Hal Cochran, pg. 4, col. 1:
In New Guinea every woman has Mary as one of her names. All they have to do is eat, drink and be Mary.

Google News Archive
12 June 1969, Owosso (MI) Argus-Press, pg. 24, col. 3 ad:
EAT, DRINK AND BE MARY
(Title of a film at the adult Auto Theatre.—ed.)

Google News Archive
15 September 1976, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Skip the details, just pour another” by Alex Thien, pt. 1, pg. 17, col. 2:
OF COURSE, YOU heard the new definition of a transvestite. That’s the sort of fellow who wants to eat, drink and be Mary.

Google Books
The Comic Encyclopedia:
A Library of the Literature and History of Humor Containing Thousands of Gags, Sayings, and Stories

By Evan Esar
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1978
Pg. 478:
Or the transvestite who likes to eat, drink, and be Mary.

Google Groups: alt.sex.bondage
tattooed collars
Banshee
4/10/93
(...)
Transvestite:  He who likes to eat, drink and be Mary.

Google Books
Twisted Wisdom:
Modern Anti-Proverbs

By Wolfgang Mieder and Anna Tóthné Litovkina
Burlington, VT: University of Vermont
1999
Pg. 79:
Tim’s Gay bar
Eat, Drink and be Mary (Playboy, May 1975; 170)

Google Groups: alt.culture.hawaii
Oneliners
alohacyberian
8/15/01
1. Definition of a teenager: God’s punishment for enjoying sex.
2. Transvestite: A guy who likes to eat, drink and be Mary!

Google Books
Man Walks into a Bar:
Over 6,000 of the Most Hilarious Jokes, Funniest Insults and Gut-Busting One-Liners

By Stephen Arnott and Mike Haskins
Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press
2007
Pg. ?:
Did you hear about the transvestite who wanted a night on the town? He wanted to eat, drink and be Mary.

Twitter
Andy
‏@awysocki
Ok I was looking up that joke and found this one. Define Transvestite:
A guy who likes to eat, drink and be Mary!
5:47 PM - 5 Dec 2008

reddit
I’ve got a friend who is a fat, alcoholic, transvestite.
submitted June 8, 2016 by kidsolo
All he does is eat, drink and be Mary!!.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, June 08, 2016 • Permalink