What's the joke thas hase the punchline "what and give up show business"
March 27, 2009 11:42 AM   Subscribe

What's the original joke that has the punchline "what, and give up show business?" Google doesn't help, since it's such a common reference, most links are using the line assuming you know the joke.
posted by bonecrusher to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Googling helped me find it. I Googled "What, and give up show business?" +joke and got:

This- It reminds me of the joke about the man with the carnival whose job it was to clean up the smelly bucketloads of prolific elephant dung. A passerby, who saw him hip-deep in the excrement, asked, “My good man, how can you put up with such demeaning conditions? Haven’t you ever thought about another line of work?” To which the carnival worker replied, “What—and give up show business?”

This - Behind the Scenes A guy works in the circus, following the elephants with a pail and shovel. One day, his brother comes to see him. He says, “Sam, I’ve got great news. I’ve got you a job in my office. You’ll wear a suit and tie, work regular hours, and start at a nice salary. How about it? Sam says, “What? And give up show business?

And many others.
posted by Miko at 11:50 AM on March 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


There may be more than one take, but this is the one I know:
It reminds me of the joke about the man with the carnival whose job it was to clean up the smelly bucketloads of prolific elephant dung. A passerby, who saw him hip-deep in the excrement, asked, “My good man, how can you put up with such demeaning conditions? Haven’t you ever thought about another line of work?” To which the carnival worker replied, “What—and give up show business?”
posted by adamrice at 11:51 AM on March 27, 2009


The one I've heard involves the guy whose job it is to shovel elephant poop at the circus. I don't know the exact framing and wording of the joke, but someone comments to him that his job is awful and asks why he doesn't find another one, and his response is "What, and give up show business?!"
posted by amyms at 11:51 AM on March 27, 2009


Yep, what Miko and adamrice said!
posted by amyms at 11:52 AM on March 27, 2009


Thanks everyone. I did visit that link before posting, but the joke is 13 long paragraphs from the top and I didn't make it that far...
posted by bonecrusher at 11:55 AM on March 27, 2009


"Find in page" helps with that.
posted by Miko at 12:02 PM on March 27, 2009


Thanks everyone. I did visit that link before posting, but the joke is 13 long paragraphs from the top and I didn't make it that far...

In most browsers, [Ctrl] + F brings up a in-page search, that's probably how they found it so quickly without reading through the whole page.
posted by brenton at 1:48 PM on March 27, 2009


I believe I've heard other variations of this joke- it might be like the Aristocrats, where the setup can be crafted any way you like. As long as it leads to the right punchline.
posted by gjc at 4:30 PM on March 27, 2009


No, the canonical joke is with cleaning up elephant shit. If you've heard other variations, they were either deliberately playing off the original or displays of ignorance. This is not one of those things where the punchline is fixed but you can set it up any way you like.
posted by languagehat at 6:27 AM on March 28, 2009


gjc, I believe the line is flexible enough that it can work in lots of situations, but it's pretty much always a reference back to the original example of the elephant poop guy, i.e. that whatever it is you're kidding about, it's as bad as that.

Google Books pretty much has only that version, most canonically in Jackie Martling's Joke Book; even a South African variation is about "giving enemas to elephants".

I'm pretty sure this is in one of Asimov's humor collections.
posted by dhartung at 6:53 AM on March 28, 2009


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