Oscar Wilde? Felix Unger? Tony Randall? John Glick? Clarence L. Lollar? Dick West? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Making unfounded assumptions causes endless difficulties. A clever quip highlighting this problem is based on splitting a word into three parts:
It is dangerous to assume because you might make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.
This joke was told in a episode of the popular television sitcom “The Odd Couple” in 1973. Did the authors of the teleplay create this joke?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in a 1957 advertisement published in an Espanola, New Mexico newspaper. The advertiser was an automobile insurance provider called the Horace DeVargas Agency, but QI believes the joke was already in circulation, and the attribution should be anonymous. Boldface added to excerpts: 1
. . . I urge you, as a driver, to observe the rules of traffic and highway safety in the operation of your car.
Don’t ass-u-me anything, when you drive because, you’ll make an ass of u and me—ass-u-me.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1957 December 26, Rio Grande Sun, (Advertisement from Horace DeVargas Agency, auto insurance company), Quote Page 10, Column 6, Espanola, New Mexico. (Newspapers_com) ↩