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 24, 2016
“What instrument does a skeleton play?"/"A trombone.”

A popular Halloween riddle about skeletons is:

Q: What instrument does a skeleton play?
A: A trombone.


The joke has been cited in print since at least 1976.


Google Books
Biggest Riddle Book in the World
By Joseph Rosenbloom
Illustrated by Joyce Behr
New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
1976
Pg. 134:
What musical instrument does a skeleton play?
The trombone.

29 October 1982, St. Cloud (MN) Times, “Just for Laughs,” Pennywhistle Press, pg. 4, col. 4:
Question: What instrument do skeletons play best?
Answer: Trombones.
Sent in by: Bobby and Karie Lucas
Ages 8 and 14
Lansing, Michigan

21 February 1993, Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, IL), “A Little Bit of Humor,” pg. 19, col. 2:
Jeanette: What strument does a skeleton play?
Jeremy: The trombone.

Twitter
Trisha
‏@mom2twinsplus1
@trillian1117 here’s another one: Q: What kind of instrument does a skeleton play? A: A trombone! #lunchboxjokes
10:50 AM - 15 Oct 2009

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of Really Silly Jokes:
Humour for the whole family

By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd
2011
Pg. ?:
What musical instrument does a skeleton play?
The trombone.

Google Books
Funny Halloween Jokes For Kids
By Peter Crumpton
PeteyRF Creative
2015
Pg. ?:
What instrument does a skeleton play?
A trombone!

Reddit
What instrument do skeletons play? (self.SkeletonJokes)
submitted September 22, 2015 by Cheaselord
Trom-BONE.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Monday, October 24, 2016 • Permalink