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 April 05, 2019
“It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it”

“It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it” is a jocular saying that has been printed on many images. American stand-up comedian Steven Wright has used the line since at least 1982.


Wikipedia: Steven Wright
Steven Alexander Wright (born December 6, 1955) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and film producer. He is known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery of ironic, philosophical and sometimes nonsensical jokes, paraprosdokians, non sequiturs, anti-humor, and one-liners with contrived situations.

4 August 1982, Boston (MA) Herald American, “The Eye” by Norma Nathan, pg. B12, col. 6:
A low-key comic of the casual ("It’s a small world. But I wouldn’t want to paint it!” and “You can’t have everything! Where would you put it?"), (Steven—ed.) Wright was sighted by a comickase crew of (Johnny—ed.) Carson advancers who popped into Boston as they combed the country for au sourant comedians.

1 April 1983, The Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA), “A scrambled egghead” by Marvin Kitman, pg. 2B, col. 2:
HE (Steven Wirght—ed.) IS SLIGHT, like Woody Allen, but not just neurotic; he is cerebral. You have to think about what he is saying while you’re laughing. “It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.”

Google Books
Nothing but Winners:
Over 6,000 one-liners, alphabetized and categorized for easy reference

By Pat Williams and Ken Hussar
Wilmington, DE: TriMark Pub. Co.
1984
Pg. 22:
It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.

24 May 1985, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), “High-flying artist set to land in Montreal” by Thomas Schnurmacher, pg. D5:
Steven Wright, the deliriously funny, deadpan comedian, is coming to Montreal for two shows at Club Soda on Sunday, June 2.

Wright, who has been the toast of The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live, has an unusual world philosophy.

He says, “It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.”

Google Books
Stand-up Comedians on Television
By the Museum of Television and Radio (New York, N.Y.)
New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams Publishers
1996
Pg. 126:
It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.
Steven Wright

Google Books
Of Wit N Humour
Compiled by Vincent Thnay
Lulu Press (Lulu.com)
2015
Pg. ?:
It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it. Steven Wright

Twitter
Wrecks
@SmilingCashews
“It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.” - Stephen Wright
1:19 AM - 30 Mar 2019

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Friday, April 05, 2019 • Permalink