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:
“The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades” (9/24)
“Hummus is really just pita butter” (9/24)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (9/24)
“Sometimes I wonder how vegans survive off of what little they eat, but they feed off attention” (9/24)
“A gyro is a Greek taco” ("A gyro is a lamb taco") (9/24)
More new entries...

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Entry from February 23, 2017
“Why, in a country of free speech, are there phone bills?”

"Why, in a country of free speech, are there phone bills?” is a jocular one-line saying that has been printed on several images. The one-liner was posted to the newsgroup rec.humor on September 30, 1997 under the topic “Bumper Stickers seen in passing.”

The saying is frequently credited to American stand-up comedian Steven Wright, but Wright probably didn’t say it.


Google Groups: rec.humor
Bumper Stickers seen in passing....
Melissa BEE
9/30/97
(...)
* Why in a country of free speech, are there phone bills?

Google Groups: rec.humor
Free
Erik D. Freeman
12/9/97
(...)
Why in a country of free speech, are there phone bills?

27 September 1998, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “The Scene” by Edgar Williams, pg. MC3, col. 5:
From Jim and Patt Sapp, Bob and Pat Ruf on the Net:

Why in a country of free speech are there phone bills?

4 August 1999, Star-Gazette (Elmira, NY), “Didn’tchaeverwonder?” by Annie Blair, pg. C8:
In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?

11 October 2001, The Mirror (London, UK), “Everything you wanted to know but were too smart to ask” by Andrea Henry, pg. 47:
In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?

Google Books
E-Mail Humor
By Louis G. Morton
Victoria, BC: Trafford
2005
Pg. 30:
In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?

Google Books
Words from the Wise:
Over 6,000 of the Smartest Things Ever Said

By Rosemarie Jarski
New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing
2007
Pg. ?:
Why, in a country of free speech, are there phone bills?
Steven Wright

Twitter
Tracey
‏@Phyrdancer
*Why in a country of free speech, are there phone bills?  (Steven Wright)
8:49 AM - 2 Jun 2007

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Thursday, February 23, 2017 • Permalink