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 January 31, 2017
“What’s red and invisible?"/"No tomatoes.”

A philosophical riddle is:

Q: What’s red and invisible?
A: No tomatoes.


The joke has been cited in print since at least the late 1980s.


Google Books
New Society
Volumes 83-84
1988
Pg. 60:
I was told a philosophical joke last week Question: What is red and invisible? Answer: No tomatoes.

This may not be very funny but it took on what seemed to me added meaning in the light of a recent attempt to seek out material to cram into the gaping maw of this ever-hungry column.

Google Groups: rec.humor
whoops!
cct...@csc.canterbury.ac.nz
12/12/90
(...)
What’s red and invisible?
No tomatoes

Google Groups: news.groups
ross and dave against the world
sine nomine
12/13/92
(...)
what’s red and invisible?
no tomatoes.

Google Groups; alt.locksmithing
Matthew E Cross
4/11/93
(...)
What’s red and invisible?
No tomatoes.

Google Groups: rec.humor
Tomatoes
Fai Chan
6/21/93
What’s red and invisible?
No Tomato!!!  HA!HA!HEE!HEE! 

Google Groups: alt.tasteless.jokes
What’s red..
Warrick Bell
3/6/94
(...)
What’s red and invisible?
No tomatoes.

Google Books
Laugh Out Loud:
A Selection of the Finest Internet Humour, Anecdotes and Wisdom

BY Vivienne Smithdorf and Vanessa Wilson
Sandton, South Africa: Vsquared
2004
Pg. 121:
What is red and invisible? No tomatoes.

Twitter
Dr. bess.wiss. Droso
‏@drosophila
*muahaha* Q: What’s red and invisible? A: No tomatoes..
12:46 AM - 9 Sep 2007

Twitter
Rich Wright
‏@richwright79
what’s red and not there...? No tomatoes
6:35 AM - 30 Mar 2009

Google Books
World’s Worst Jokes
By Tony Husband
New York, NY: Random House
2013
Pg. ?:
What’s red and invisible?
No tomatoes.

Google Books
Sensible Nonsense.. Frank’s Comic Pack:
Humour Pack Series

By Frank Paul
BookBaby
2014
Pg. ?:
What’s red and invisible? No tomatoes.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, January 31, 2017 • Permalink