Background of Prohibition Jokes
Prohibition jokes and quotes reflect social sentiment. They can also influence it. During the early years of Prohibition (1920-1933) in the U.S. some theaters banned prohibition jokes, ridicule, or sarcasm. Many newspapers did the same. Even many popular fiction and crime story writers were affected by the political correctness. They had to eliminate all drinking from their narratives. (Also see Drinking Jokes.)
However, it’s impossible to stop people from drinking. And it’s impossible to prevent people from making jokes and observations. This list illustrates that fact.
- During Prohibition it was said tailors would ask customers what size pockets they wanted, pint or quart.
- At first, I thought prohibition was a good thing. People were drinking more and having a lot more fun. Without beer, prohibition doesn’t work!
- Why don’t they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth.
- You can’t seriously want to ban alcohol. It tastes great, makes women appear more attractive, and makes a person virtually invulnerable to criticism.
-Mayor Quimby of The Simpsons
- A man had a bottle in his back pocket. When he fell down, he heard something break. Then he realized the back of his pants were wet. Before looking to see what it was, he said, “I sure hope that’s blood.”-W.C. Fields
- Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.
- Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.
- Prohibition makes you want to cry into your beer and denies you the beer to cry into.
- A prohibitionist is the sort of man one couldn’t care to drink with, even if he drank.
- A farmer had still on his property and took a wagonload of white lightning into town. His neighbor wanted to know why he was going so slowly on the way. The farmer said he could charge more if his product was “aged”.
- When I sell liquor, it’s called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, it’s called hospitality. -Al Capone
- Having prohibition was the best decision ever……bar none.
- There’d never been a more advantageous time to be a criminal in America than during the 13 years of Prohibition. At a stroke, the American government closed down the fifth largest industry in the United States – alcohol production – and just handed it to criminals – a pretty remarkable thing to do.
- Prohibition is the trigger of crime.
-Ian Fleming, Goldfinger
- Prohibition has made nothing but trouble.
- The prohibition law, written for weaklings and derelicts, has divided the nation, like Gaul, into three parts…wets, drys, and hypocrites.
- Alcohol didn’t cause the high crime of the ‘20s and ‘30s, Prohibition did.
-James Carringer Paine
- Our country has deliberately undertaken a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far- reaching in purpose.
- Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.
- I believe strongly that such a law as one prohibiting liquor is foolish, and all the writers, keenly interested in human welfare whom I know, laugh at the prohibition law.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Making prohibition work is like making water run uphill; it’s against nature.
- For every prohibition you create, you also create an underground.
- Prohibitions create the desire they were intended to cure.
- Communism is like prohibition, it is a good idea, but it won’t work. -Will Rogers
- It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.– Mark Twain
- Every general prohibition creates its bootleggers.–Robert A. Heinlein
- Prohibition is an attempted cure that makes matters worse.
– Milton Friedman
Resources on Prohibition Jokes and Quotes
Keith’s Bars Jokes Aimed at Prohibition. Half of the Acts in Vaudeville Houses Affected by New Order. New York Times, Aug 12, 1922, p. 10.
Leacock, S. My Remarkable Uncle. NY: Dodd-Mead, 1944, p. 122.