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 June 24, 2013
“A fisherman is a jerk on one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other”

"A fisherman is a jerk on one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other” is an old joke that is frequently told about fishing. The joke has been cited in print since at least April 1954, when it was included in Earl Wilson’s syndicated entertainment column:

“A Kansas wife angry at her husband for spending so much time with rod and reel defined a fisherman: ‘A jerk at one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other.’”


23 April 1954, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Bumpkin on Broadway” by Earl Wilson, pg. 4, col. 5:
A Kansas wife angry at her husband for spending so much time with rod and reel defined a fisherman: “A jerk at one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other.”

27 June 1954, San Antonio (TX) Express and News, “Male Call” by Bill Bellamy, Men’s and Sports sec., pg., 1-D, col. 1: 
LIKE CRAZY, these jokes of Nate Wexler:

A fisherman’s wife defines a fishing line as a piece of string with a jerk on one end who is waiting for a jerk on the other.

28 October 1954, Pomeroy (IA) Herald, “Comic Dictionary,” pg. 3, col. 3:
Fisherman: A jerk at one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other end.

Google News Archive
16 October 1962, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Why Not Try My Lap?” by Buck Herzog, pt. 1, pg. 11, col. 1:
Bar sign in a tavern on S. 24th st. and W. Greenfield av., “A fisherman is a jerk holding a line waiting for a jerk on the other end.”

Google News Archive
29 July 1967, Reading (PA) Eagle, “On the Town” by Charles McHarry, pg. 4, col. 1:
Boating editor Don Price’s definition of a fisherman: A jerk on one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other end.

6 October 1974, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), sec. 5, pg. 26 classified ad:
TODAY’S CHUCKLE
Fisherman: One jerk on one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other end.
(Chuck Staub & Assoc.—ed.)

Google News Archive
11 March 1975, St. Petersburg (FL) Independent, “Lingo Marks The Angler” by Jim Austin, pg. 5-C, col. 4:
Here are a few definitions of the more misused terminologies.

FISHERMAN — A jerk on one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other end of the line.

New York (NY) Times
Outdoors: Fishing For Some Answers
By RICHARD D. LYONS
Published: September 03, 1990
(...)
‘’It just proves once again that a fisherman is a jerk on one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other,’’ said Mike Shope, the owner of the Sabbatical, his 29-foot Phoenix.

New York (NY) Times
BOOKS OF THE TIMES; They Fell Hook, Line and Sinker
By CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT
Published: October 14, 1999
‘’A jerk on one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other,’’ is the classic folk definition of fishing that explains the title of Robert Hughes’s witty testimonial to the sport, ‘’A Jerk on One End: Reflections of a Mediocre Fisherman.’’

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Monday, June 24, 2013 • Permalink