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 04, 2015
“Waiter, does the pianist play requests?” (joke)

Some diners enjoy live music, but many diners do not. A popular joke has been cited in print since at least 1922, with the following example (with a waiter) from 1964:

Night club patron: “Does the orchestra play requests?”
Waiter: “Yes sir. What would you like them to play? “
Patron: “Pinochle.”


The request is sometimes given as “cards” or “dominoes” or “tiddlywinks”—anything but music with a musical instrument.

[This entry was prepared with research assistance from the Quote Investigator.]

28 May 1922, Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, UT), magazine sec., pg. 5, col. 7:
MUSIC WITH HIS MEALS.
The discordant music rendered by the so-called orchestra had so upset one of the diners that he called the restaurant manager and remarked:

“I note the paragraph on your menu wherein you state that the orchestra will play anything on request. Can you prove the assertion?”

“Yes,” replied the manager. “Their repertoir is very extensive. What do you wish them to play?”

“Tell ‘em to play pinochle until I have finished my meal, and I will be very grateful.”—From Everybody’s Magazine for June.

2 May 1948, Seattle (WA) Sunday Times, Pacific Parade Magazine, pg. 12, col. 4:
“Does your orchestra ever play requests?”
“Certainly. What would you like to have us play.”
“Pinochle!”

4 November 1953, Springfield (MA) Union, “Today’s Chuckle,” pg. 1, col. 3:
“Does your orchestra ever play requests?”
“Yes, what would you like them to play?”
“Pinochle?”

Google Books
Freedom and Union
Volumes 19-21
1964 (The Google Books date may be incorrect.—ed.)
Pg. 32:
Night club patron: “Does the orchestra play requests?”
Waiter: “Yes sir. What would you like them to play? “
Patron: “Pinochle.”

4 November 1965, Evening World-Herald (Omaha, NE), “A Smile or Two,” pg. 20, col. 2:
Night club patron: “Does the orchestra play requests?”
Waiter: “Yes, sir. What would you like them to play?”
Patron: “Pinochle.”—Freedom & Union.

23 October 1967, Bemidji (MN) Daily Pioneer, “Just Visitin’” with Braggs, pg. 2, col. 6:
Mr. Shaw beckoned a waiter and asked,”Does the orchestra play requests?”

“Oh, yes sir!” the waiter replied. “What would you like them to play?”

“Dominoes, until I have finished my meal,” retorted Shaw.

Google Books
Smart Alec’s Revolting Jokes for Kids
By Ward Lock & Co. Ltd.
New York, NY: Ballantine Books
1989, ©1987
Pg. 52:
“Waiter, waiter, does the band play requests?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Then ask them to play cards until I’ve finished eating.”

Google Books
1001 Really Stupid Jokes
By Mike Phillips
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
2000
Pg. ?:
“Waiter, waiter, does the pianist play requests?”
“Yes, sir”
“Then ask him to play tiddledywinks until I’ve finished my meal.”

Klosi Jokes
Category: Restaurant jokes
Date Added: 11/10/2007
Joke: Waiter, waiter, does the pianist play requests? Yes, sir. Then ask him to play tiddlywinks until I’ve finished my meal.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Sunday, October 04, 2015 • Permalink