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:
“I saw a sign for a suicide helpline on the back of a bus. It would work much better on the front” (12/10)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (12/10)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (12/10)
“Welcome to Twitter. Please stand by, someone will disagree with you shortly” (12/10)
“Your govt. is imploding. Stay calm and make your way to nearest conspiracy theorist” (12/10)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from November 30, 2015
“Ten percent of my ashes shall be handed to my agent” (show business joke)

A popular show business saying is that an agent owns a piece of his or her client. The following joke was cited in 1948:

“We pass along Edith Gwynn’s Hollywood Reporter quote of Van Johnson’s macabre wheeze about the dying actor who requested that he be cremated and then 10 per cent of his ashes be thrown in his agent’s face.”

In the 2000s, the following line was credited to American comedian and actor Groucho Marx (1890-1977):

“I wish to be cremated. One-tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract.”

Groucho Marx was cremated in 1977, but this line—which it appears that he never said—was not used at that time.


25 April 1948, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Actors Love Agents,” sec. 2, pg. 20, col. 1:
We pass along Edith Gwynn’s Hollywood Reporter quote of Van Johnson’s macabre wheeze about the dying actor who requested that he be cremated and then 10 per cent of his ashes be thrown in his agent’s face.

3 June 1955, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, pg. 44, col. 7:
He Didn’t Forget
Pour Tous, Lausanne, Switzerland

An actor, following his death, was cremated. In his will they found the following proviso:

“Ten per cent of my ashes shall be handed to my agent.”

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
7 October 1955, The Times Record (Troy, NY), “Tea Table Gossip,” pg. 12, col. 3:
A successful novelist felt he had not long to live. Calling his wife, he gave her instructions that he was to be cremated and 10 per cent of his ashes scattered over his literary agent.

23 August 1977, Washington (DC) Star, “Groucho Marx Cremated,” pg. A5, col. 3:
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Comedian Groucho Marz was cremated yesterday after a memorial service attended by his family but not by his longtime companion Erin Fleming, who was not invited, a mortuary spokesman said.

The comedian’s ashes will remain at the crematorium until members of the Marx family “decide what to do with them,” Groman Mortuary manager Russell Mayer said.

Google Books
Cremation in America
By Fred Rosen
Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books
2004
Pg. 6:
“I wish to be cremated. One tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract.”
Groucho Marx

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of Comic Quotes
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
2004
Pg. ?:
I wish to be cremated. One tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract.
GROUCHO MARX

Google News Archive
19 September 2005, The Hour (Norwalk, CT), “A Chuckle,” pg. A3, left masthead:
I wish to be cremated. One-tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract.
Groucho Marx

Google Books
Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
By Gyles Brandreth
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2013
Pg. 152:
There was the actor who put in his will that he wanted to be cremated and ten per cent of his ashes thrown in his agent’s face.
. Harry Richman 1895–1972 American entertainer: attributed, 1940s

Twitter
Jewish Comedians
‏@JewishComedians
Groucho Marx: I wish to be cremated. One tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract.
8:54 PM - 30 Nov 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Monday, November 30, 2015 • Permalink