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 May 18, 2016
“What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit?"/"Ba-na-na-na.”

German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) wrote his Symphony No. 5 with the now-famous beginning of four notes—“short-short-short-long.” There’s a joke:

Q: What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
A: Ba-na-na-na.


The joke has been cited in print since at least 1978. It’s usually a children’s joke, although many children are not familiar with Beethoven’s works.


Wikipedia: Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written between 1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies. First performed in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as “one of the most important works of the time”. The symphony consists of four movements. The first movement is Allegro con brio; the second movement is Andante con moto; the third movement is a Scherzo Allegro; the fourth movement is Allegro.

It begins by stating a distinctive four-note “short-short-short-long” motif twice: ...

26 February 1978, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “Senses,” pg. J41, col. 3:
What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
Bananana, bananana.
--Ellie Weiss, Long Beach

25 March 1979, The Sunday Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), “Grins,” sec. 6, pg. 8, col. 4:
What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
Banana.
Jill Turchany, grade 5

21 November 1981, Rockford (IL) Register Star, “Just for Laughs,” Candlestick Capers, pg. CC1, col. 1:
What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
Bananana, bananana.
Sent in by: V. Longo
Thornwood, N.Y.

Google Books
May 1983, Boys’ Life, “Think & Grin,” pg. 74, col. 3:
Ned: What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
Ted: I don’t know. What?
Ned: Ba-na-na-na.Giles Roblyer, Arnold, Md.

Google Books
The Reader’s Digest
Volume 125, Issues 747-752
1984
Pg. 65:
What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit? Answer: Ba-nan-nan-nah. — Contributed by Yvonne King

Twitter
Tom Kitten
‏@tomkillen
Q: What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
A: Ba-na-na-na.
11:54 PM - 17 Dec 2008

Twitter
Marquette Orchestra
‏@mu_orchestra
Concert was a success. And a joke from @tubaladd: What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit? Ba-na-na-na (sung to tune of his 5th symphony)
5:04 PM - 18 Oct 2009

26 October 2009, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Clowning touch: Hoping to help heal with humor, medical students at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital don wigs and clown costumes before visiting patients who need a boost” by Marie McCullough, pg. D1:
Six other clowns, squished into the small room, began administering RJT (Rapid Joke Therapy), which they warned could cause nausea.

“What is Beethoven’s favorite fruit?”

Sing it: “BA NA NA NA AA.”

YouTube
What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
sweetscreenname
Uploaded on May 22, 2011

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, May 18, 2016 • Permalink