A joke is told about the “optimist” who fell or jumped off New York City’s Empire State Building. As he was falling many floors, someone asked, “How’s it going?” He responded:
“So far, so good!”
The joke pre-dates the Empire State Building (opened in 1931). “The man who fell off the roof of the Railway Exchange Building, and who was heard to remark, as he passed the seventh floor on his way down, ‘So far, so good,” was an optimist’ was cited in print in 1924. “The man who jumped from the top of the Empire State Building said, as he passed the sixtieth story, ‘Well, everything’s all right up till now’” was cited in 1936.
Wikipedia: Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 103-story skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m), and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 feet (443 m) high. Its name is derived from the nickname for New York, the Empire State. It stood as the world’s tallest building for nearly 40 years, from its completion in early 1931 until the topping out of the original World Trade Center’s North Tower in late 1970. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York (although it was no longer the tallest in the US or the world), until One World Trade Center reached a greater height on April 30, 2012.
Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association,
What, we may ask, is an optimist? The man who fell off the roof of the Railway Exchange Building, and who was heard to remark, as he passed the seventh floor on his way down, “So far, so good,” was an optimist.
An Adventure Story
By Frederick R. Bechdolt
New York, NY: Chelsea House
“I heard a story once,” he said with husky attempt at levity, “the optimist — falling from the top of a skyscraper, you know. A man in a fourth-floor window heard him saying as he went down: ‘Well! So far, so good.’ That’s us. So far, so good!
22 February 1936, El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, “It Seems to Me” by Heywood Broun, pg. 4, col. 7:
The man who jumped from the top of the Empire State Building said, as he passed the sixtieth story, “Well, everything’s all right up till now.”
31 March 1948, New Castle (PA) News, pg. 4, col. 1:
If this is inflation, at least we are carrying on after a fashion. As the character said, while passing the twentieth story in the forty-story fall, “So far, so good.”
Thank God for My Heart Attack
By Charles Yale Harrison
New York, NY: Henry Holt
I once heard an optimist described as a man who jumped from the top of the Empire State Building, and as he passed the windows of the sixtieth floor, said: “So far, so good.”
25 July 1952, Evening World-Herald (Omaha, NE), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 24, col. 5:
Occasionally, he (Adlai Stevenson—ed.) said he’s an optimist, like the fellow who jumped off the skyscraper and yelled as he passed the twentieth floor: “So far, so good.”
30 June 1956, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), “TV Gag Bag,” sec. 2, pg. 5, col. 7:
Henry Morgan knows an optimist. He fell off the Empire State Building. As he fell past the 12th floor, he observed; “Well, so far, so good.”
Horse Under Water
By Len Deighton
New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Oh, I know that you have a thousand reasons for not slipping up, but remember that the man who fell off the Empire State Building said to a resident on the first floor as he fell past him, “So far so good.”
Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults
By Donald R. Gallo
New York, NY: Laurel-Leaf Books
“What did the moron say when he jumped off the Empire State Building?” Vicik was laughing so hard he could hardly get out the punch line. “He’s falling, and someone says, How’s it going? And the moron says, So far so good.”
More One Liners, Jokes and Gags
By Grant Tucker
London: The Robson Press
An optimist is someone who falls off the Empire State Building, and after fifty floors says,’So far so good!’
Epic Jokes !
An optimist is someone who falls off the Empire State Building, and after 50 floors says, ‘So far so good!’
3:12 AM - 3 Jul 2014