Jokes and Humor Department

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?


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Although we cover a lot of professional topics in our work at XooxleAnswers, occasionally we are lucky to get an offbeat and captivating question like: What is the origin of the old joke, Why did the chicken cross the road?

Most pundits. like Wikipedia, and Yahoo Answers cite 1915 as the date the joke first appeared in print.

But XooxleAnswers researchers established that the joke appeared in print quite a bit earlier, with numerous pre-1915 publications to choose from.

The earliest use of the joke in print dates back to a New York magazine, The Knickerbocker, in 1847, as shown below. Sorry that the image is a bit on the fuzzy side. If it’s hard to read, the excerpt says:

Gossip with Readers and Correspondents.

…There are ‘quips and quillets’ which seem actual conundrums, but yet are none. Of such is this: ‘Why does a chicken cross the street? Are you ‘out of town?’ Do you ‘give it up?’ Well, then: ‘Because it wants to get on the other side!’

March 1847

And there you have it. By the way, we’ve updated the Wikipedia site to reflect this earlier date for the joke, but it will be a while, we guess, before the information trickles through to the rest of the online reference universe.

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