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:
“My neighbors listen to good music, whether they like it or not” (4/28)
“Why do Mexicans never cross the border in groups of three?"/"Because a sign says ‘No Trespassing.‘“ (4/28)
“What kind of magic does a vegan wizard use?"/"Soycery.” (4/28)
“Running is like coffee, I’m much nicer after I’ve had one” (4/27)
“Don’t just chase your dreams. Run them down” (4/27)
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Entry from October 06, 2015
“What do you call a person who plays the viola?"/"A violator.”

A person who plays the viola is called a “violist” or simply a “viola player.” However, a popular joke is:

Q: What do you call a person who plays the viola?
A: A violator.


The joke has been cited in print since at least 1932.


Wiktionary: violist
Noun
violist
‎(plural violists)
1. (music) a person who plays the viol or the viola

Google Books
Tromboners: or, Musical Anecdotage
Edited by Ernest Schelling
New York, NY: A. A. Knopf
1932
Pg. 92:
A man who plays the viola is called a violator.

27 June 1946, Kingsport (TN) News, “Daffynitions,” pg. 4, col. 2:
Violator: A man who plays the viola.

Google Groups: eunet.jokes
What do you call a…
Outsider
12/20/99
(...)
...A Person Who Plays The Viola?
A. A Violator.

Klosi Jokes
Category: Music jokes
Date Added: 11/10/2007
Joke: Q: What do you call a person who plays the viola?A: A violator.

Google Books
The Musician’s Joke Book
By Jim Green
London: Omnibus Press
2010
Pg. ?:
Q: What do you call a person who plays the viola?
A: A violator.

Twitter
Eva Leah
‏@evaleah1991
Q: What do you call a person who plays the viola? A: A violator.
9:31 AM - 20 Sep 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Tuesday, October 06, 2015 • Permalink