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 Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 20, 2017
“What turns a fruit into a vegetable?"/"AIDS.”

A riddle using the slang terms of “fruit” (homosexual) and “vegetable” (a comatose person) is:

Q: What turns a fruit into a vegetable?
A: AIDS.


The joke—often regarded as offensive—has been cited in print since at least 1987 (near the beginning of the AIDS epidemic).


Google Books
Plays & Players
Issues 400-411
1987
Pg. 84:
Have you heard about AIDS, the new ingredient that turns a fruit into a vegetable?’ Strong stuff, and yet not as powerful as the testimonies of real-life victims, who talk about the process of growing to hate their bodies, of the longing for physical contact.

Google Groups: aus.jokes
ALL ARE OFFENSIVE
Jim Scanlon
11/25/96
(...)
Another was the definition of AIDS “ A horrible disease that turns a fruit into a vegetable”!

Google Groups: alt.horror
Re: Most Offensive Joke Ever
T.A. Kinn
5/11/07
(...)
Q: What turns a fruit into a vegetable?
A: A.I.D.S.

Twitter
Muireann McGovern‏
@MuireannNiSh
Alison: “What turns a fruit into a vegetable?” Me: “I dunno, frogurt?” Alison: “AIDS!” I feel so guilty for laughing! xD
10:56 AM - 8 Mar 2010

Google Books
Boycott These Jokes
By Jeo King
Marine Publishing
2016
Pg. ?:
Q: What turns a fruit into a vegetable?
A: AIDS.

Reddit—Jokes
What turns a fruit into a vegetable?
submitted May 20, 2016 by BedrockPerson
AIDS.

Reddit—Jokes
What turns a fruit into a vegetable?
submitted June 22, 2017 by I_love_the_As
Aids.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, June 20, 2017 • Permalink