New York City has some tough neighborhoods. “I told the doctor I broke my arm/leg/nose in two places,” a comedian sometimes says. “The doctor told me to quit going to those places!” The joke has been cited in print since at least 1928.
The joke is usually associated with comedian Henny Youngman (1906-1998), but Youngman wasn’t the first to tell it.
Google News Archive
18 September 1928, Lewiston (ME) Evening Journal, “The Alleged Humorists,” pg. 4, col. 5:
Bozo—Louey got his arm broken in two places. Bombo—He’ll know better than to go to those places again.—Answers.
21 August 1936, San Diego (CA) Union, “The Northeast Corner” by Nor’easter, pg. 4, col. 7:
All Figured Out
“What on earth has happened to you?” queried Mrs. Julius Boar of her husband.
“I had my nose broken in two places,” said Julius.
“Serves you right,” she grumbled, “you shouldn’t go to those places.”
25 January 1948, Seattle (WA) Sunday Times, “Daffynitions” by Paul H. Gilbert, Magazine, pg. 12, sol. 1:
DIEHARD: A man who has had his nose broken in two places, but goes back to those places, anyway.
15 April 1974, Springfield (MA) Union, “Singing Trucker Finally Did It!” by Norton Mockridge, pg. 17, col. 1:
NEW YORK—Harry Appel of Scranton, Pa., is a first aid instructor for the American Red Cross, Recently, he tells me, he was teaching first aid to a group of Boy Scouts and he asked one of the scouts:
“What would you do if your arm was broken in two places?”
The kid thought for a minute, and then said:
“I wouldn’t go back to those places.”
30 March 2000, Daily Globe (Ironwood, MI), Porcupine Press, pg. 35, col. 1:
“I told the doctor I broke teg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places.” Henny Youngman
Henny Youngman: I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places. | #Quotes
1:23 PM - 31 Dec 2015