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 July 01, 2017
“Guess what?"/"Chicken butt.”

"Guess what? Chicken butt!” is a saying that has been printed on many images. It’s mostly a children’s nonsense rhyme. One says, “Guess what?” The other responds, “What?” This is met with, “Chicken butt!”

“Chicken butt—Go behind and lick it up” was printed in the novel Youngblood (1954) by John Oliver Killens (1916-1987), about African American life in Georgia. “"What, what, Chicken butt; come around the house and lick it up” was published in the poetry collection Delta Return (1956) by Charles Greenleaf Bell.


Google Books
Youngblood
By John Oliver Killens
New York, NY: Dial Press
1954
Pp. 101-102:
“Guess what?” he asked Robby.

“What?”

“Chicken butt—Go behind and lick it up.”

Google Books
Delta Return
By Charles Greenleaf Bell
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press
1956
Pg. ?
(Reprinted in the following book.—ed.)
Google Books
Millennial Harvest: The Life and Collected Poems of Charles Greenleaf Bell
By Charles Greenleaf Bell
Santa Fe, NM: Helen Lane Editions, Lumen Books
2006
Pg. 464:
“What?” They took it up in chant: “What, what,
Chicken butt; come around the house and lick it up.”

Google Books
The Married Land
By Charles Greenleaf Bell
Boston, MD: Houghton Mifflin
1962
Pg. 263:
... but what as a boy he had spoken with boys, white and colored, when they ran and fought together ("What, what, chicken butt, come around the house and lick it up"), ...

Google Books
Black Language
By Malachi Andrews and Paul T. Owens
Los Angeles, CA: Seymour-Smith
1973
Pg. 73:
CHICKEN BUTT— When someone calls out, “What?”, because they didn’t hear, a reply might be the rhyme, “CHICKEN BUTT.” It means forget it, I am not going to repeat it. Junior flip usage.

26 November 1988, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “No cheek-pinching, please, ‘Cosby’ star says” by Bob Batz Jr., pg. B7, col. 4:
“When I (Keshia Knight Pulliam—ed.) was younger, he’d (Bill Cosby—ed.) say, ‘Guess what?’ I’d say ‘What?’ Then he’s say “Chicken butt.’”

Google Books
I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!:
Daily Affirmations by Stuart Smalley

By Al Franken
New York, NY: Dell
1992
Pg. 64:
YOU KNOW WHAT? CHICKEN BUTT!
I didn’t get it either. But when Brent asked, “You know what?” over the phone, and I said “What?” he said, “Chicken butt.” I asked him what it meant, and he said, “Guess what it means.” And I said, “What?” And he said, “Chicken butt.” That’s when I got it. He was being silly. You see, “butt” rhymes with “what.” You know what? Chicken butt!

October 1993, Natural History (New York, NY), “Omaha dance lessons,” pg. 30:
Antonia (our nine-year-old daughter): “Hey, Dad, guess what!”
Me (gullibly): “What?”
Antonia: “Chicken butt!” (Collapses in laughter. Regains control finally.) “Guess who!”
Me (suspiciously): “Who?”
Antonia: “Horse doo-doo!” (Uncontrollable, hysterical howling.) “Dad, guess why!”
Me (with increasing pain): “Why?”
Antonia: “Cow pie!” (Unable to continue because of laughter spasms.)

Google Books
The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give My Children:
Parenting from the Heart

By Steven W. Vannoy
New York, NY: Fireside
1994
Pg. 197:
Or “Guess what? Chicken butt. Guess when? Chicken skin. Guess why? Chicken thigh.”

Urban Dictionary
chicken butt
A rhyme-arific and obnoxious way to respond to the obnoxious & ubiquitous question, “Guess What?” A much easier response than actually trying to guess the topic about to be brought up.
Inane Questioner: “Guess What?”
Clever You: “CHICKEN BUTT!”
Inane Questioner: “umm.. right...”

by Handsome Pete September 25, 2003

YouTube
Chicken Butt Song
jcj5Tahoe
Published on Oct 22, 2008
Just got it in my head to make a little song about the “Guess what? Chicken butt.” dilemma. I hope this explanation provides and answer to this impossible question.

Google Books
Take It from the Top
By Terri Lyons
Xlibris Corporation (Xlibris.com)
2009
Pg. 22:
If someone said “guess what” without a thought, anybody could respond with “chicken butt, run around and lick it up!”

YouTube
Chris Rock Chicken Butt
Shuheb Hoque
Published on May 30, 2015

Google Books
Kids’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny
By Alisha Gaddis
Milwaukee, WI: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books
2016
Pg. ?:
For example, at least a dozen children have asked me, “Guess what?” In compliance with my directive to be responsive, I duly inquire, “What?”

To which the child inevitably responds, “CHICKEN BUTT!”

Today I Found Out
THE ORIGIN OF THE EXPRESSION “GUESS WHAT? CHICKEN BUTT!”
July 6, 2016 Melissa
(...)
Butt, in this sense didn’t mean the back end of the bird, but, rather, its shoulder. A long time ago, butchers would pack less desirable cuts, like shoulders, into barrels, either to store them or ship them. Barrels like these had been called butts since the late 14th century, after the Modern French word for a barrel or wineskin, botte and the Latin buttis (for cask). Over time, the term was applied to the cuts of meat within the barrels as well.

YouTube
Where Does the Expression “Guess What Chicken Butt” Come From?
Today I Found Out
Published on Oct 12, 2016

Twitter
heather thompson‏
@h347h3r_03
Replying to @_Fawnspots_
guess what? chicken butt
guess where? chicken hair
guess why? chicken thy
guess when? chicken penn
guess who? chicken poo
(;
9:36 PM - 30 Jun 2017

Twitter
Brandon Slone‏
@TheThunderbite
If not for the phrase “Guess what!  Chicken butt!” would anyone seriously think about chicken butts?
9:32 PM - 1 Jul 2017

Reddit—Jokes
Guess what?
submitted July 2, 2017 by UniqueUsername203
Chicken butt

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, July 01, 2017 • Permalink