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:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/22)
“There’s no ‘I’ in denial” (10/22)
“I walked past a homeless guy with a sign that read, ‘One day, this could be you‘“ (10/22)
“Your bank account is the adult version of your report card” (10/22)
“Why did the girl sit on her watch?"/"She wanted to be on time.” (10/22)
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Entry from May 21, 2016
“A lawyer helps you get what’s coming to him”

"A lawyer helps you get what’s coming to him” is a jocular saying of unknown authorship that has been cited in print since at least December 1948. American composer and comedian Oscar Levant (1906-1972) has been credited with the line since at least 1976, but it’s not known whe he first said it. The earliest citations in 1948 and 1949 do not credit any author.


Old Fulton NY Post Cards
9 December 1948, St. Paris (OH) News-Dispatch, pg. 1, right masthead:
A Lawyer Helps You Get What’s Coming to Him!

27 January 1949, Burnet (TX) Bulletin, pg. 12, col. 2:
A lawyer helps you get what’s coming to him.

11 June 1949, Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer, “Office Cat” by Junius, pg. 4, col. 5:
Personal Definitions
Lawyer: A person who helps you get what’s coming to him.

1 November 1953, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Radio TV Gag Bag” culled by Larry Wolters, magazine, pg. 44 col. 2:
Daffynitions by Edward Arnold, ABC’s Storyteller:

Lawyer: A person who helps you get what’s coming to him.

Google Books
Encyclopedia of Humor
By Joey Adams
New York, NY: Bonanza Books
1968
Pg. 344:
A lawyer: A person who helps you get what’s coming to him.

Google Books
The Treasure-Trove of American Jewish Humor
By Henry D. Spalding
Middle Village, NY: Jonathan David Publishers
1976
Pg. 145:
And the late Oscar Levant defined a lawyer as “a man who helps you get what’s coming to him.”

Google News Archive
9 October 1981, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, “Shop With Sue,” pg. 3, col. 7 ad:
Lawyer: “A person who helps you get what’s coming to him.”

Google Books
Poetic Justice:
The Funniest, Meanest Things Ever Said about Lawyers

By Jonathan P. Roth and Andrew Roth
Berkeley, CA: Nolo Press
1988
Pg. 26:
A lawyer is someone who helps you get what’s coming to him — Anonymous

Google Books
The Larry Wilde Library of Laughter
By Larry Wilde
Sea Ranch, CA: Jester Press
1988
Pg. 155:
LAWYER
A man who helps you get what’s coming to him.

Google Books
Henny Youngman’s Bar Jokes, Bar Bets and Bar Tricks
By Henny Youngman
New York, NY: Wings Books
1994
Pg. 88:
A lawyer is a person who helps you get what’s coming to him.

Google Books
The Biteback Dictionary of Humorous Business Quotations
By Fred Metcalf
London: Biteback Publishing Ltd
2014
Pg. ?:
A lawyer is a man who helps you get what’s coming to him.
Anon

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, May 21, 2016 • Permalink