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 December 19, 2017
“I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do” (joke)

American actor and comedian Bob Newhart has told a joke about country music since at least 1980:

“I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘to put down.’”

The quote has been printed on several images.


Wikipedia: Bob Newhart
George Robert Newhart (born September 5, 1929) is an American stand-up comedian and actor, noted for his deadpan and slightly stammering delivery. Newhart came to prominence in 1960 when his album of comedic monologues, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, became a worldwide bestseller and reached number one on the Billboard pop album chart—it remains the 20th-best selling comedy album in history. The follow-up album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!, was also a success, and the two albums held the Billboard number one and number two spots simultaneously.

Newhart later went into acting, starring as Chicago psychologist Dr. Robert Hartley in The Bob Newhart Show during the 1970s and then as Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon on the 1980s series Newhart.

18 July 1980, Nevada State Journal and Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, NV), “Bob Newhart” at Harrah’s Tahoe (Entertainment Review), enterteinmanet sec., pg. 11, col. 1:
He then asked us whether we liked the other, non-Anderson kind of country—the dusty-boot, long-hair kind. Folks clapped and shouted they did.

“I don’t mean to denigrate that kind of music. And for those of you who like that kind of music, denigrate means...”

30 July 1990, Boston (MA) Globe, “Modest Humor Gives Newhart Appeal” by Jim Sullivan, pg. 40:
Bob Newhart is your comfort comedian. A bemused, perceptive, regular guy who’s trying to make some sense out of an absurd world. He did it on “The Bob Newhart Show” (as a psychiatrist); he did it on “Newhart” (as a Vermont inn-keeper); and he did it as a standup comedian at the sold-out South Shore Music Circus Saturday night. As a standup comic, of course, Newhart is less the double-taking reactor than he is the instigator, though he still reacted perfectly when the setup was right. Mentioning country and western music, he asked if any of the audience were fans of the genre. Some were. He admitted he was not much, but politely said he didn’t wish to denigrate them for a taste he didn’t happen to share. Then, pausing for a killer beat, “for those of you who enjoy country and western, denigrate means . . . to put down.”

19 September 1994, The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, CA), “Nothing New, But Newhart Still Fun” by Chris Garcia, pg. D6, col. 6:
It was Bob Newhart in the raw -a man and a mike—as the comedian returned to his stand-up roots Saturday night at the Burbank Center for the Arts.
(...)
Bob hacked into country music. “I don’t mean to denigrate country music,"he apologized. “Oh, for those of you who enjoy country music, denigrate means to put down or to criticize.”

Google Books
1001 Funniest Things Ever Said
Edited by Steven Price
Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press
2006
Pg. 63:
I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means “put down.” —Bob Newhart

Google Books
The 2,548 Wittiest Things Anybody Ever Said
By Robert Byrne
New York, NY: Touchstone
2012
Pg. ?: 
1,427
I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. If you like it, denigrate means “to put down.”
-- Bob Newhart

Google Books
Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
Edited by Gyles Brandreth
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2013
Pg. 220:
I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down’.
Bob Newhart 1929– American comedian: attributed

Twitter
Mark W.‏
@DurhamWASP
Behind the Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
“I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down’.” Bob Newhart
7:37 AM - 16 Nov 2017

Twitter
Lucky Score‏
@LuckyScoreNet
I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for…
#Quote by #BobNewhart from genre #Music
in #Quotes
1:19 PM - 20 Dec 2017

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Tuesday, December 19, 2017 • Permalink