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 May 08, 2018
“I’m an artist. I draw unemployment”

"I’m an artist. I draw unemployment” is a joke that has been cited in print since at least 1986 and 1989.

“Now he’s an artist for the state. He draws unemployment” was printed in a 1992 newspaper.  “Ah see your an artist for the state of Illinois you draw unemployment” was posted on Twitter on November 17, 2009.

“I asked this chick what she did for a living and she said she’s a artist for the government =>in other words she draws unemployment” was posted on Twitter on April 23, 2010. “I’m an artist for the government, I draw unemployment” was posted on the newsgroup hfx.general on August 16, 2010.


8 November 1986, The Globe and Mail (Toronto, ON), “We Don’t Knock stars just want to have fun” by Gary Toushek, Broadcast Week, pg. 7, col. 4:
I asked one guy what he does and he says he’s an artist. An artist? ‘Yeah,’ he says, ‘I draw unemployment.’

26 September 1989, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), “Bar patrons have plenty of opinions but campaigns left them uninspired” by Peter Kuitenbrouwer, pg. B4:
Iain Duguid, 27, who described his profession by saying, “I’m an artist - I draw unemployment,” is an Irish citizen and can’t vote, even though he moved to Canada in 1970.

27 January 1992, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “Report From New Hampshire: From Worse to Bad. New Hampshirites seek jobs in New York” by Greg Steinmetz, pg. C3:
David Emmons of Concord laid off his son after business at his two beauty parlors fell 40 percent. “Now he’s an artist for the state,” Emmons said sarcastically. “He draws unemployment.”

Google Groups: 3do.bad-attitude
No Offence to anyone...................
Mr. Biff悟 盒假
5/30/02
YOU KNOW YOU’RE MEXICAN IF…
(...)
- Your brother calls himself an artist because he draws unemployment.

Twitter
Mike Collins
@mikecollins911
@smartassbitch81 ah see your an artist for the state of Illinois you draw unemployment.
12:09 AM - 17 Nov 2009

Twitter
SCru Hefner
@SCruFACE1
I asked this chick what she did for a living and she said she’s a artist for the government =>in other words she draws unemployment. lmao
11:12 AM - 23 Apr 2010

Google Groups: hfx.general
Towing Camper Trailers
Rob
8/16/10
(...)
I’m an artist for the government, I draw unemployment. The Ontarians love it.

Twitter
Jacob W. Herzog
@Herzogjw
What do poor artists draw?
unemployment
1:24 PM - 13 May 2012

Twitter
Tim Welch
@PushPop09
the group leader is an artist. he works for the government. he “draws” unemployment
8:08 AM - 17 Jun 2013

Twitter
jordan reicker
@jordanreicker
“I’m an artist; I draw unemployment.”
9:22 PM - 1 Mar 2014

Twitter
The Fimisters
@TheFimisters
That time I got fired as an artist...I was so bad that I couldn’t even draw unemployment.
12:54 PM - 8 Apr 2018

Reddit—Dad Jokes
I’m an artist for the government (self.dadjokes)
submitted May 9, 2018 by deblunked
I draw unemployment

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Tuesday, May 08, 2018 • Permalink