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The Best Gorilla Joke Of 1897 refers to a joke told from the point of view of an escaped zoo gorilla where it asks a zookeeper if they've heard about the escaped gorilla. The zookeeper says they have not, then the gorilla says, "That is because I am a quiet gorilla" and mauls them, described through the caption "[Muffled sounds of gorilla violence]." The joke is not actually from 1897 and was first posted by the Tumblr page thatsbelievable in September 2020.
On September 22nd, 2020, Tumblr page thatsbelievable posted an image resembling an old newspaper cutout titled "The Best Gorilla Joke of 1897," followed by a joke where a gorilla asks a zookeeper, "Did you hear about the gorilla who escaped from the zoo?" The zookeeper responds, "No, I did not" and the gorilla says, "That is because I am a quiet gorilla," followed by bracketed text reading, "[Muffled sounds of gorilla violence]" as if the gorilla is mauling the zookeeper. The post gained over 141,000 notes in a year (shown below). There is no evidence pointing to the joke actually being from 1897.
The image of the joke spread online over the course of the year. It quickly inspired memes referencing it. On September 24th, 2020, YouTuber Garold the Great posted a video using simple animation to imagine the joke in real life, gaining over 1,800 views in a year (shown below).
The original image was posted to Reddit board /r/1800HavingFun on January 6th, 2021, gaining over 1,400 upvotes nine months. On January 9th, Redditor i_consume_lean posted a comic to /r/dogelore consisting of five slides recreating the joke with Doge characters, gaining over 4,000 upvotes in nine months (shown below).
On January 21st, DeviantArt user HareMadness posted a comic imagining the incident, gaining over 4,000 views in nine months (shown below, left). On May 18th, Tumblr user pillsburries posted a comic doing the same, gaining over 3,300 notes in five months (shown below, right).