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.

Recent entries:
“We know the location of the Big Apple, but do we know where the Minneapolis?” (9/14)
“I was very young when I learned to count. It was odd at first, even then” (9/14)
Entry forthcoming (9/14)
Entry forthcoming (9/14)
Entry forthcoming (9/14)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from May 14, 2019
“My school was so tough, the school newspaper had an obituary section”

"My school was so rough/tough, the school newspaper had an obituary column/section” is a jocular saying that has been printed on several images. “I live in a tough neighborhood. My kid goes to the only school where the school newspaper has an obituary column” was printed in Parade magazine, “My Favorite Jokes” by Rodney Dangerfield, on June 13, 1971.

The joke has often been told about New York City. “Talk about tough neighborhoods. At P.S. 1044, our school newspaper had an obituary page” was printed in The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, NJ), on September 1, 1972. “Speaking about his boyhood in New York, he (Jack O’Donohue—ed.) cracked: ‘I don’t want to say I came from a tough neighborhood, but the high school newspaper carried an obituary section’” was printed in The Sunday Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ) on August 1, 1976.

American comedian Norm Crosby has usually been credited with the joke in the 2000s, but there is no evidence that he said it before Rodney Dangerfield. “My school was so tough the school newspaper had an obituary column. — Norm Crosby” was printed in the book A Treasury of Humor (2000) by Lowell D. Streiker. “My school was so tough, the school newspaper had an obituary column. —NORM CROSBY” was printed in The Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes (2009).


Wikipedia: Rodney Dangerfield
Jack Roy (born Jacob Rodney Cohen, November 22, 1921 – October 5, 2004), popularly known by the stage name Rodney Dangerfield, was an American stand-up comedian, actor, voice artist, producer, screenwriter, musician and author, known for his self-deprecating one-liners humor, his catchphrase “I don’t get no respect!” and his monologues on that theme.

Wikipedia: Norm Crosby
Norman Lawrence Crosby (born September 15, 1927 in Boston) is an American comedian sometimes associated with the Borscht Belt who often appeared on television in the 1970s. He is known for his use of malapropisms and is often called “The Master of Malaprop”.

13 June 1971, Boston (MA) Sunday Globe, “My Favorite Jokes” by Rodney Dangerfield, Parade magazine, pg. 23, col. 2:
I live in a tough neighborhood. My kid goes to the only school where the school newspaper has an obituary column.

9 December 1971, Courier-Post (Camden, NJ), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 37, col. 7:
RODNEY DANGERFIELD says his kid goes to a rough school: “It’s the only public school where the school newspaper has an obituary column.”

Google Books
Executive’s Handbook of Humor for Speakers
By Bureau of Business Practice
Waterford, CT: Bureau of Business Practice
1971
Pg. ?:
Talk about tough neighborhoods. At P.S. 1044, our school newspaper had an obituary page.

1 September 1972, The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, NJ), pg. 26, col. 7 classified ad:
Talk about tough neighborhoods. At P.S. 1044, our school newspaper had an obituary page.
(Donald G. Gordon Inc.—ed.)

29 May 1973, Tooele (UT) Bulletin, pg. 9, col. 6:
Out school was so tough it was the only public school where the school newspaper has an obituary column.

18 May 1976, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, “Levinson Managing Nicely” by Larry Fields, pg. 27, col. 4:
Penn Valley’s Bobby Rydell met Freddie Prinze during Bobby’s recent gig at the Sahara in Vegas. “I went to such a tough school in New York,” Freddie told him, “the school newspaper had an obituary column!”

1 August 1976, The Sunday Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), “There’s a lighter side, too, at the Games” by Dave Klein, sec. 5, pg. 8, cols. 1-2:
Jack Donohue, the native New Yorker who coach Lew Alcindor at Power Memorial H.S., then became head coach at Holy Cross, is now the coach of the Canadian National team.

Speaking about his boyhood in New York, he cracked: “I don’t want to say I came from a tough neighborhood, but the high school newspaper carried an obituary section.”

8 July 1977, Nevada State Journal and Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, NV), “Hangin’ Out” by Guy Richardson, Entertainment sec., pg. 3, col. 3:
“I come from a tough neighborhood—the school newspaper had an obituary column.”—Johnny Dark.

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. 473:
Our high school was so tough, the school newspaper had an obituary column.

11 December 1993, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Wolfberg is falling-down hilarious” by Dave Tianen, pg. 16B, cols. 3-4:
(Dennis Wolfberg, a stand-up comedian.—ed.)
On teaching elementary school 12 years in the South Bronx: “The school newspaper had an obituary column. I used to assign essays on what I’d like to be if I grow up.”

Google Books
A Treasury of Humor:
Thousands of humorous stories, jokes, anecdotes and one-liners, up-to-date and categorized for ease of use

By Lowell D. Streiker
Peabody, MA: Hendrickson
2000
Pg. 359:
My school was so tough the school newspaper had an obituary column. — Norm Crosby

Google Groups: alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer
On Rewatching Triangle
Sarah Trombley
1/14/01
(...)
>dangerous, it’s still not THAT dangerous. How many friends or loved ones
>has Buffy actually lost? More than she’d like, but their life expectancy
>is measured in years, not weeks.

This is a town where the high school newspaper has an obituary section.

Google Groups: nyc.politics
Homeland Terrorists: DROP DEAD, NEW YORK!
Sus Scrofa
6/9/06
(...)
My school was so tough the school newspaper had an obituary section.
-- Norm Crosby

Google Books
The Friars Club Encyclopedia of Jokes: Revised and Updated!
Over 2,000 One-liners, Straight Lines, Stories, Gags, Roasts, Ribs & Put-downs

Compiled by Barry Dougherty and H. Aaron Cohl
New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
2009
Pg. 427:
My school was so tough, the school newspaper had an obituary column. —NORM CROSBY

Google Books
A Tribute to Teachers:
Wit and Wisdom, Information and Inspiration About Those Who Change Our Lives

By Richard Lederer
Portland, OR: Marion Street Press
2011
Pg. ?:
My school was so tough that the school newspaper had an obituaries section.-Norm Crosby

Google Books
The 2,548 Wittiest Things Anybody Ever Said
By Robert Byrne
New York, NY: Touchstone
2012
Pg. ?:
896
My school was so rough the school newspaper had an obituary section. —Norm Crosby

Twitter
Robert Berger
@mrclassicalmusi
My school was so tough the student newspaper had an obituary column . Norm Crosby .
4:43 PM - 23 Jan 2016

Twitter
MacCocktail
@MacCocktail
“My school was so tough the school newspaper had an obituary section.”
― Norm Crosby (born this day, September 15, 1927)
3:46 PM - 15 Sep 2018

Twitter
Joe/Shoes
@MaxSexPow
Lawler: Razor went to a tough high school. His school newspaper had an obituary section.
Vince: What?! My...that would be tough.
#IYH3
11:29 PM - 14 Oct 2018

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Tuesday, May 14, 2019 • Permalink