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 January 13, 2016
“Who beats his chest and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake?"/"Tarzipan.”

"Tarzipan” is a portmanteau of “marzipan” (a confection popular at Christmas) and “Tarzan” (a man of the jungle). A joke was cited in 1978:

Q: What swings about a cake-shop yodelling?
A: Tarzipan.


A 1987 version:

Q: What’s sweet and yellow and swings through trees?
A: Tarzipan.


The joke has been most popular in the United Kingdom, where both marzipan and Tarzan are popular.


Wikipedia: Marzipan
Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal, sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract. It is often made into sweets; common uses are chocolate-covered marzipan and small marzipan imitations of fruits and vegetables. It is also rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing cakes, primarily birthday, wedding cakes and Christmas cakes. This use is particularly common in the UK, on large fruitcakes. Marzipan (or almond paste) may also be used as a cake ingredient, as in stollen. In some countries, it is shaped into small figures of animals as a traditional treat for New Year’s Day. Marzipan is also used in Tortell, and in some versions of king cake eaten during the Carnival season. Traditional Swedish princess cake is typically covered with a layer of marzipan that has been tinted pale green.

Wikipedia: Tarzan
Tarzan (John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke) is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani great apes; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes (magazine publication 1912, book publication 1914), and subsequently in twenty-five sequels, several authorized books by other authors, and innumerable works in other media, both authorized and unauthorized.

Google Books
The Crack-A-Joke Book
Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books
1978
Pg. 62:
What swings about a cake-shop yodelling?
Tarzipan.

Google Books
Modelling Cognition
By Peter E. Morris
New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons
1987
Pg. 285:
Question: ‘What’s sweet and yellow and swings through trees?’
Answer: ‘Tarzipan.’

That particular joke depends for its effect on the reader or listener detecting the resemblance of ‘Tarzipan’ to both ‘Tarzan’ and ‘marzipan’.

22 March 1989, The Guardian (UK), Young Guardian, pg. 2, col. 1:
WHAT is yellow, hairy and swings through the jungle?
Tarzipan.
Gary McSorley

Google Books
Christmas:
Decorations, Feasts, Gifts, Traditions

By David Baird
London: MQP
2005
Pg. 40:
Who beats his chest and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake? Tarzipan!

Twitter
minimalxmasjoke
‏@minimalxmasjoke
What beats his chest and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake?
Tarzipan !
10:08 AM - 19 Nov 2008

Twitter
Andy Hadfield
‏@andyhadfield
Xmas joke: What’s sweet and swings through the jungle? Tarzipan!
6:21 AM - 20 Dec 2008

Twitter
Chesterfield Hotel
‏@Chesterfield_MF
Christmas joke of the day: What beats his chest and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake?Tarzipan !
8:19 AM - 10 Dec 2009

GOogle Books
The Mammoth Book of Really Silly Jokes:
Humour for the Whole Family

By Geoff Tibballs
London: COnstable & Robinson Ltd.
2011
Pg. ?:
Who beats his chest and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake?
Tarzipan.

Google Books
Christmas Cracker Jokes
By Amanda Li
London: Macmillan Children’s Books
2014
Pg. ?:
What jumps from cake to cake and tastes of almonds?
Tarzipan.

Google Books
Dick and Dom’s Christmas Jokes, Nuts and Stuffing!
By Dominic Wood and Richard McCourt
London: Macmillan’s CHildren’s Books
2015
Pg. ?:
Who beats his chest and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake?
Tarzipan.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, January 13, 2016 • Permalink