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 22, 2015
“Why did God create armadillos?” (joke)

One popular armadillo joke is:

Q: Why did God create armadillos?
A: So Texans would have something to eat on the half shell.


“Barbecued armadillo on the half shell” was a joke cited in an Oklahoma newspaper in 1960. “Why’d the good Lord make armadillos?...So niggers could have possum on the half-shell” was cited in My Life in the Klan (1982) by Jerry Thompson. “Why did God create armadillos? So Mexicans would have something to eat on the half shell” was cited in Blanche Knott’s Treasury of Tastelessness (1994).


28 July 1960, Ada (OK) Weekly News, “Jus’ Stirrin’ Up th’ Fire!” by Buzzy Bonehouse, pg. 8, col. 9:
The ole pig stand could start serving barbecued armadillo on the half shell!

Google Books
My Life in the Klan
By Jerry Thompson
New York, NY: Putnam
1982
Pg. 98:
“Why’d the good Lord make armadillos?”
“I dunno.”
“So niggers could have possum on the half-shell.” Everyone burst out laughing.

Google Books
Bubba (he’s the one with his tongue hanging out)
By John Kelso
Austin, TX: C & M Publications
1984
Pg. 114:
It would also be like what they’re trying go do at A&M — trying to make a jalapeno without it being hot.

“The next thing you know they’ll be serving armadillos on the half shell.”

23 February 1984, Mobile (AL) Register, “Favorite Auburn, Alabama jokes told by PEOPLE readers,” Suburban People, pg. 3, col. 4:
NAME WITHHELD, Mobile: “What do they call armadillos at Auburn? Possums on the half shell.”

1 November 1987, Paris (TX) News, “Retirees relish freedom of living on the road” (AP), pg. 9D, col. 3:
“The first things Yankees want to see in Texas is an ‘dillo,” (Robin—ed.) Sargent said, giving the chainsaw a rest. “They call it possum on the half shell, they can look along the side of the road, but it’s more pleasant to look here.”

Google News Archive
20 April 1990, Ocala (FL) Star-Banner, “Whiff is 2 stroke penalty and very bad form besides” by Lewis Grizzard, pg. 11A, col. 1:
Armadillos, known to many as possums on the half shell, dig armadillo holes.

Google Books
Blanche Knott’s Treasury of Tastelessness
By Blanche Knott
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
1994
Pg. 4:
Why did God create armadillos?
So Mexicans would have something to eat on the half shell.

Google Groups: alt.support.anxiety-panic
OT----joke (may be offensive)
Broomstks
11/30/99
Redneck Jokes:
(...)
Q: Why did God invent armadillos?
A: So that rednecks can have ‘possum on the half-shell.

Google Groups: bigweek.general
Southern Humor
M. McWilliams
1/4/01
(...)
Why did God invent armadillos?
So that Texas rednecks can have ‘possum on the half shell.

Google Books
Whispers in the Pines:
A Naturalist in the Northeast

By Joanna Burger
New Brunswick, NJ: Rivergate Books
2006
Pg. 267:
They are frequently killed on roads, giving rise to the common name “Texas turkey” and “possums on the half-shell.” Indeed, cars are a leading cause of death of adult Armadillos.

Google Books
Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes:
Revised and Updated! Over 2,000 One-Liners, Straight Lines, Stories, Gags, Roasts, Ribs, and Put-Downs

Compiled by Barry Dougherty and H. Aaron Cohl
New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
2009
Pg. 162:
Why did God create armadillos?
So Mexicans would have something to eat on the half shell.

Bulldog Barks and Bytes (LA Tech)
Champ967
09-07-2010, 11:05 AM
Why did God make armadillos?
So Aggies could have something to eat on the half-shell.

Uproxx
Florida’s Penchant For Eating Armadillos Has Triggered A Leprosy Outbreak
BY DAN SEITZ • 07.23.15
(...)
Why, you might ask, are Floridians handling armadillos? Well, you know the old joke about how armadillos exist to give Texans something to eat on the half-shell? Nobody explained that was a joke to Florida’s population.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Wednesday, July 22, 2015 • Permalink