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:
“I don’t have enough coffee or middle fingers for today” (3/26)
“I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake” (3/26)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/26)
“If you are not coffee, chocolate, or bacon, I’m going to need you to go away” (3/26)
“Life happens, coffee helps” (3/26)
More new entries...

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Entry from September 01, 2016
“What do you call a snake that works in the government?"/"A civil serpent.”

"Civil serpent” is a popular malapropism for “civil servant.” A popular joke in October 1961 featured little girls telling each other what their fathers did. “My daddy is a civil serpent,” one little girl declared.

“What do you call a snake that works for the Government? A Civil Serpent” was posted on Twitter on March 31, 2009.


3 October 1961, Independent (Long Beach, CA)< "Beach Combing" with Malcolm Epley, pg. B-1, col. 2:
STORY is going the rounds about a new government official who moves into a neighborhood which had mostly free enterprisers on the block—a business man or two, a couple of salesmen, a lawyer, a lobbyist.

No wanting his children to face the stigma of having a bureaucrat daddy, he emphasized the positive. Duly advised, his daughter went out to meet her new playmates.

"My daddy's a lawyer," said one.

"My daddy sells air conditioning," said another.

The little girl eyed them proudly. "My daddy," she said, "is a civil serpent."

13 October 1961, The Wall Street Journal, “Pepper...and Salt,” pg. 12, cols. 1-3:
Family Pride
Two little girls were overheard discussing their fathers. “My daddy,” boasted one, “is a dentist.”

“Hmph,” the other retorted. “That’s nothing. Mine’s a civil serpent.”
-- Terry Edler.

29 August 1971, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, “Collection of Humor Published By Paper”, pg. 15C
LONDON (UPI)—(...) Mrs. W. T. Cowley of Ricknmansworth wrote: “Two of our neighbors’ little girls were playing together, and I overheard them discussing their fathers.

“‘My daddy’s a doctor,” said one, in superior tones. ‘Mine,’ replied the other, ‘is a civil serpent.’”

Google Books
Intensely Gross Jokes
By Julius Alvin
New York, NY: Kensington Pub. Corp.
1993
Pg. 79:
What do you call a well-behaved snake?
A civil serpent.

Google Books
Clean Jokes for Kids
By Tamela Hancock Murray
Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour
1998
Pg. 21:
What do you call a mild-mannered snake? / a civil serpent.

Google Books
Dude, Got Another Joke?
By Bob Phillips
Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers
2002
Pg. 145:
Paddy: What do you get if you cross a snake with a government employee?
Page: That’s a mystery.
Paddy: A civil serpent.

Twitter
❤️ FizzyDuck ❤️
‏@FizzyDuck
What do you call a snake that works for the Government? A Civil Serpent
4:18 PM - 31 Mar 2009

Twitter
Ngans Wholesale Club
‏@Ngans
Snake #joke What do you call a snake who works for the governement? A civil serpent!
4:59 AM - 26 Dec 2011

Google Books
Together We Jump:
A Journey of Love, Hope and Second Chances

By Ken McAlpine
Bloomington, IN: iUniverse
2012
Pg. 205:
Uncle Ray shouts, “What do you call a snake who works for the government? A civil serpent! Har!”

Google Books
101 Amazing Animal Jokes
By Jack Goldstein
Andrews UK Limited (andrewsuk.com)
2013
Pg. ?:
What do you call a snake who works for the government?
A civil serpent!

reddit
What do you call a snake that works in the government?
submitted September 1, 2016 by pay_gorn
A civil serpent

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Thursday, September 01, 2016 • Permalink