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 July 24, 2018
“Who’s the greatest chicken-killer in all of Shakespeare?"/"Macbeth. He did murder most foul.”

A Shakespeare riddle is:

Q: Who’s the greatest chicken-killer in all of Shakespeare?
A: Macbeth. He did murder most foul.


“the pun is on “foul” for “fowl.” “Murder most foul, as in the best it is, But this most foul, strange, and unnatural” is actually from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, not Macbeth. The joke has been cited in print since at least January 1901.


Wikipedia: Macbeth
Macbeth (/məkˈbɛθ/; full title The Tragedy of Macbeth) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare; it is thought to have been first performed in 1606. It dramatises the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake

Wikipedia: Homicide
Murder most foul, as in the best it is, But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
. William Shakespeare, Hamlet, (Ghost, Act I, scene v, line 27).

4 January 1901, The Farmers Advocate, pg. 11, col. 4:
Ten Conundrums.
(...)
9. Who was the greatest chicken killer in Shakespeare?

20 January 1901, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), “In Puzzledom,” sec. 3, pg. 7, col. 8:
Conundrums.
1. Who was the greatest chicken-killer spoken of in Shakespeare, and why?
Macbeth. Because “He did murder most foul.”

Google Books
Conundrums: Containing One Thousand of the Latest and Best Conundrums
By Dean Rivers
Philadelphia, PA: The Penn Publishing Company
1905
Pg. 11:
Who is the greatest chicken-killer spoken of in Shakespeare? Macbeth, because he did murder most foul.

Google Books
Young Folks’ Treasury: Ideal Home Life
Volume X

By Hamilton Wright Mabie (editor)
New York, NY: The University Society Inc.
1909
Pg. 364:
Who is the greatest chicken-killer spoken of in Shakespeare? Macbeth, because he did murder most foul.

Twitter
Lee Jackson
@VictorianLondon
“Who is the greatest chicken-killer in Shakespeare? Macbeth, because he did murder most foul.” joke, 1893
1:26 PM - 3 Feb 2011

Google Books
No Cure for the Dead:
A Florence Nightingale Mystery

By Christine Trent
New York, NY: Crooked Lane Books
2018
Pg. ?:
I waited patiently while the good doctor spun a joke about Macbeth being the greatest chicken-killer in Shakespeare’s plays because he committed murder most fowl.

Twitter
Acting Resource Guru
@ActResourceGuru
Did you know it’s #TellAnOldJokeDay?! Here’s one that you actors will get - Who is the greatest chicken-killer in all ofShakespeare? ... Macbeth! Because he did murder most foul! #GetIt? 😂🎭🐔
2:52 PM - 24 Jul 2018

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, July 24, 2018 • Permalink