Joke: I'm looking here because the light is better (1932)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 11 19:15:03 UTC 2013

Last month LH mentioned the joke (or allegory) about the misdirected
search of an inebriate beneath a shining lamppost. I heard the same
tale a few decades ago. Additional citations or information would be
welcome. The QI post shows some panels from a Mutt and Jeff cartoon in
1942 along with the 1932 cite. Thanks:


On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 11:02 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at> wrote:
> LH said:
>> I wonder if that's the same drunk who's looking for the
>> keys that he lost two blocks away under that same lamppost
>> because the light is so much better there.
> I did not find this joke in the YBQ or the DMP. A scholarly joke
> tracing reference work may exist; perhaps a list member can name one.
> After a quick search, below are the two most interesting cites I
> found. The earliest cite does not involve a drunk. Inebriation may
> have been incorporated in the evolving joke to provide a rationale for
> Mr. Snoop's casual attitude toward empirical reality.
> [ref] 1932 October, Boys' Life, Volume 22, Number 10, Think and Grin,
> Edited by F. J. Rigney, Quote Page 36, Published by the Boy Scouts of
> America, New York. [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> Bright Idea
> MR. SNIFF: What are you looking for?
> MR. SNOOP: A five-dollar bill.
> MR. SNIFF: Are you sure you lost it on this street?
> MR SNOOP: Oh no! I lost it in the next block, but I'm lookin' up here
> because the light is better.
> [End excerpt]
> Below is version with a drunk that was collected by the indefatigable Evan Esar.
> [ref] 1945, Esar's Joke Dictionary by Evan Esar, Quote Page 140,
> Harvest House, New York. (Verified with scans) [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> A policeman saw a drunk crawling about in the gutter under a lamppost
> and asked him what he was doing. "Lookin' for a quarter I losh,"
> replied the drunk. "Where'd you lose it?" inquired the cop. "'Bout a
> block down th' shtreet," was the answer. "Then why look here?"
> insisted the officer. "'Cause there's lotsh more light here,"
> explained the drunk, continuing his search.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson

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