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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 15, 2022
“What does a politician do after he dies?"/"He lies still.”

Lawyers have a reputation for stretching the truth (lying). An old joke has it that when a lawyer goes to bed, he lies on his right side and then he lies on his left side, and when he dies he lies still. 

“By lies while alive, This attorney did thrive, And now, he lies, still” is a jocular lawyer epitaph that was printed in the Southern Literary Messenger (Richmond, VA) in March 1839. “Why is a roguish lawyer like a man who cannot sleep? Because he lies first on one side and then turns round and lies on the other, an is wide awake the whole time, and even when dead he lies still” was printed in the Bolivar (TN) Bulletin on June 30, 1866. “What do lawyers do when they die? Lie still” was printed in the Record of the Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA) on March 16, 1878. “‘What becomes of the lawyer when he dies?’ And the answer was ‘He lies still’” was printed in the 1899 yearbook of the Sunset Club (Chicago, IL).

The lawyer joke is also told about politicians. “What does a politician do when he dies? He lies still” was posted on Reddit—Jokes on August 5, 2022.

“How does an attorney sleep?"/"First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other” is one form of the joke.


Google Books
March 1839, Southern Literary Messenger (Richmond, VA), “Recollections of a Retired Lawyer,” pg. 218, col. 1:
An epitaph on a lawyer:

“Beneath this smooth stone,
By the bone of his bone,
Lies Master John Gill,
By lies while alive
This attorney did thrive,
And now, he lies, still.”


Newspapers.com
30 June 1866, Bolivar (TN) Bulletin, pg. 4, col. 1:
Why is a roguish lawyer like a man who cannot sleep? Because he lies first on one side and then turns round and lies on the other, an is wide awake the whole time, and even when dead he lies still.

Google Books
September 1866, Arthur’s Home Magazine (Philadelphia, PA), “Enigmas, Charades, & c.,” pg. 185, col. 1:
12. Why is a roguish lawyer like a man who cannot sleep? Because he lies first on one side and then turns round and lies on the other, an is wide awake the whole time, and even when dead he lies still.

Chronicling America
29 June 1871, The Elk County Advocate (Ridgway, PA), “Hook and Eyes,” pg. 3, col. 3:
What do great liars do when they die?—They lie still.

11 August 1871, The Daily Post (Pittsburgh, PA), “Varieties,” pg. 3, col. 5:
WHAT do great liars do when they die? They lie still.

16 March 1878, Record of the Times (Wilkes-Barre, PA), “Splinters,"pg. 4, col. 3:
What do lawyers do when they die? Lie still.

Newspapers.com
20 June 1879, Brandon (VT) Union, “Lukens’ ‘Pith and Point,’” pg. 1, col. 8:
When a notorious prevaricator sleeps he lies still, and when he is awake he still lies.

Google Books
December 1883, Gibson’s Law Notes, “Attorneys-at-Law” by a Law Book-Worm, pg. 365, col. 1:
We have it on the authority of a well-worn joke, that lawyers “lie first on one side and then on the other,” and in their graves “they lie still.”

Google Books
Year Book
Sunset Club (Chicago, Ill.)
1898-1899
Pg. 60:
“What becomes of the lawyer when he dies?” And the answer was “He lies still.”

Newspapers.com
3 September 1899, Oregon Statesman (Salem, OR), pg. 3, col. 3:
My boy Dick asked me the other day, what a lawyer does when he dies. I gave it up. “He lies still,” said Dick.

Newspapers.com
24 October 1913, Virginia (MN) Enterprise, pg. 2, col. 3:
O’DEA BELIEVES HE
HAS WON AN AUTOMOBILE
Deputy Sheriff Artie O’Dea firmly believes he is going to be riding around in his own automobile before many more weeks, the result of his aptitude at solving riddles. The Chicago American has offered an automobile to the first ten people sending to it the correct answer to the riddle “What Does a Lawyer Do When He Dies?”

O’Dea is sure he has the right answer pegged and that he will be among the fortunate ones.

“What does a lawyer do when he dies?”

“That’s easy,” said O’Dea.

“He lies still.”

Artie is confident he is right because he says its the truth and you can’t beat that for any price.

Newspapers.com
25 April 1914, The Westerham Herald (Westerham, Kent, UK), pg. 5, col. 3:
With due apologies he would liken them to the lawyer of whom it was said: “He lies first on one side, then on the other; and when he dies he lies still.” (Laughter.)

Newspapers.com
4 December 1915, The Illustrated Leicester Chronicle (Leicester, UK), pg. 20, col. 3:
A STRIKING LIKENESS.
Pat: “Why is a sleepless man like a lawyer, Mike?” Mike: “Can’t tell.” Pat: “Be jabers! First he lies on one side and then on the other, and he is wide awake all the time; and when he dies he lies still!”—“Weekly Irish Times.”

29 March 1917, The Post (Cincinnati, OH), pg. 4, col. 2:
THAT fresh, yet not unclever office boy,is again at my elbow.

“Why are lawyers uneasy sleepers?” he asks.

“Why?” I inquire.

“Because they first LIE on one side and then on the other and when they die, they lie still,” he answers.

Well said, Tommy. He’s a nickel for a pack of cigarets.

9 June 1917, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, pg. 9, col. 6:
WHAT DO LAWYERS DO WHEN THEY DIE? THEY LIE STILL.

Newspapers.com
28 September 1922, Charlotte (NC) Observer, “Pithy paragraphs,” pg. 14, col. 3:
What does a lawyer do when he dies?
He lies still.

Newspapers.com
24 October 1951, Linton (IN) Daily Citizen, “Mine Run,” pg. 1, col. 1:
Prevaricator—One who, when he dies, lies still.

Google Groups: soc.retirement
Canadian Content
Surken
Apr 30, 1996, 3:00:00 AM
> t still surprised me is that anyone, anywhere in the world, still believes
> any promises a politician makes.
> You know most politicians are lawyers, and do you know what a
lawyer does when hi is dead?
He lies still.
Fred

Newspapers.com
10 June 1996, Lancaster (PA) New Era, “Short and Snappy,” pg. B-2, col. 2:
What does a lawyer do after he dies?
Lies. Still.

Google Books
The Joke’s On… Lawyers
By Stan Ross
Sydney, Australia: The Federation Press
1996
Pg. 57:
Q: How can you tell there’s an afterlife for lawyers?
A: Because after they die, they lie still.

20 July 1997, Sunday Age (Melbourne, Australia), “What they’re watching,” pg. 5:
Liar Liar confirms the truth or prejudice of the lawyer joke: what happens when lawyers die - they lie still.

Google Books
Theology and Law: Partners Or Protagonists?
By Gordon Preece
Adelaide, Australia: ATF Press
2005
Pg. 1:
For evidence you only have to look at the abundance of lawyers jokes — such as Q: What happens to lawyers when they die? A: They lie still.

YouTube
Ok, here is the joke. What do lawyers do after they die? They ...
botcaster inc. bot
Published on Jan 22, 2016
What do lawyers do after they die?
They lie still.

Reddit—Jokes
Posted by u/slender_creeper September 6, 2016
Gravestone of a lawyer
“Here lies a lawyer. he lies still.”

Twitter
Lucky Score‏
@LuckyScoreNet
What do lawyers do after they die?
They lie
still.
#Joke from #LawyerJokes in #Jokes, #Humor and #Satire
7:55 PM - 27 Jul 2017

Twitter
Tony Hammond
@hhjhammond
Replying to cononeilluk
A suitable epitaph might be “By lies when alive this politician did thrive and now that he’s dead he lies still”
5:52 AM · Dec 10, 2021·Twitter Web App

Reddit—Jokes
Posted by u/Selipa90 May 7, 2022
What does a politician do when he dies?
He lies still

CBR.com
Every Riddle Given By The Riddler In The Batman, Explained
BY GRACE MAGEE
UPDATED AUG 01, 2022
(...)
11
“What Does A Liar Do When He’s Dead?”
The first dead body found in The Batman is that of Don Mitchel, the mayor of Gotham City. After accusing Mitchell of lying to hide the city’s corrupt nature, the Riddler bashed his head in, cut off his thumb, and wrapped his head in duct tape to lay the clues for his first riddle.

The riddle’s answer is simply “he lies still,” meaning that his dead body lies motionless ("still"). It also means that even when a liar is dead, his lies continue to circulate until the whole truth is revealed.

Reddit—Jokes
Posted by u/Si_Vis_Pacem- August 5, 2022
What does a politician do after he dies?
He lies still.

Twitter
Imtiaz Mahmood
@ImtiazMadmood
What does a politician do after he dies?
He lies still.
10:39 AM · Aug 5, 2022·Twitter Web App

LaffGaff
Politician Death
August 15, 2022 by laffgaff
What does a politician do after he dies?
He lies still.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Monday, August 15, 2022 • Permalink