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. (10/17)
“How do you stop a dog from barking in the back yard?"/"Put it in the front yard.” (10/17)
“What do you call a nightmare about paper?"/"A bad ream.” (10/17)
“I’ve been cutting carbs lately—with a pizza cutter” (10/17)
“Why did the dog cross the road?"/"To get to the barking lot.” (10/17)
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Entry from July 13, 2017
“Escalators don’t break down. They just turn into stairs”

"Escalators don’t break down. They just turn into stairs” is a saying about escalators that has been printed on several images. The line is a shortening of a joke by American stand-up comic Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005), who said about 2000:

“An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an ‘Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order’ sign, just ‘Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.’”

“What happened when the escalator broke down?"/"Everyone stopped and staired!” and “Why was the blonde late for work?"/"She was stranded on the broken escalator” are other escalator jokes.


Wikiquote: Mitch Hedberg
Mitch Hedberg (24 February 1968 – 30 March 2005) was an American stand-up comic known for his odd subject matter, subdued delivery and memorable routines that often consisted of a string of one-line non sequiturs.
(...)
Mitch All Together (2003)
An escalator can never break, it can only become stairs. You would never see an “Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order” sign, just “Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience. We apologize for the fact that you can still get up there.”

Google Groups: alt.fan.cecil-adams
Unreliable escalators
Chip Campbell
9/3/00
Husky wrote in message
news:kuq2rsoo8nm0q5abvmbpuo03rk08vo6tkr@4ax.com…
> The great thing about escalators is they can never break down . . .
> they can only become stairs.
>
> Mitch Hedberg

Google Books
Jokes Over Easy:
1,386 Delicious Jokes from the Best Comedians

By Judy Brown
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble
2003
Pg. 81:
An escalator can never break; it can only become stairs.—MITCH HEDBERG

30 January 2003, The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), “For comic Mitch Hedberg, life is full of laughs” by Sean L. McCarthy, The Rep entertainment guide, pg. 16, col. 3:
* “An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an ‘Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order’ sign, just ‘Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.’ “

Google Books
Mock Stars:
Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny

By John Wenzel
Readhowyouwant.com Ltd
2009
Pg. 14:
Mild jokes become unexpectedly brilliant when stamped out with the delicacy of a bricklayer: “I like an escalator, man, because an escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. [pause] There would never be an ‘Escalator Temporarily Out of Order’ sign. Only an “Escalator Temporarily Stairs: Sorry for the Inconvenience.’”

Twitter
Jordan‏
@jordmiller
escalators don’t break down, they just turn into stairs.
2:52 AM - 5 May 2009

Twitter
Gabrielle B.‏
@gabsmadblonde
@ramahkid: escalators don’t break. They juts turn into stairs!
12:02 PM - 11 May 2009

Washington (DC) Post
Wheaton escalators back in service
By Luke Rosiak | May 14, 2010; 4:56 PM ET
(...)
It is jokingly said that escalators don’t break, just turn into stairs, but Wheaton is one of the deepest in the Metro system, with escalators nearly as long as the Washington Monument is tall, so many customers will find the shuttles--to Forest Glen, the only station so deep it has only elevators, or Glenmont--handy or even necessary.

Reddit—BestOf
Escalators don’t break; they just turn into stairs. (reddit.com)
submitted September 29, 2010 by jeannaimard

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of One-Liners
Edited by Geoff Tibballs
London, UK: Constable & Robinson Ltd
2012
Pg. ?:
An escalator can never break – it can only become stairs.

Google Books
Life is Funny, Volume 2
By Sondra D Hicks
Published by author
2013
Pg. 33:
Escalators don’t break down...they just turn into stairs

Twitter
One Liner Jokes‏
@one_jokes
Escalators don’t break down… they just turn into stairs.
2:00 PM - 19 Jan 2017

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBuildings/Housing/Parks • Thursday, July 13, 2017 • Permalink