Origin of the Klopman diamond
The Klopman diamond was originally the subject of a traditional joke, a typical version of which is
- A businessman boarded a plane to find, sitting next to him, an elegant woman wearing the largest, most stunning diamond ring he had ever seen. He asked her about it.
- "This is the Klopman diamond," she said. "It is beautiful, but it's like the Hope diamond; there is a terrible curse that goes with it."
- "What's the curse?" the man asked.
- "Mr. Klopman."
Due to the use of the name "Klopman" and the somewhat dark humor, and the fact that it was one of Myron Cohen's standards, this joke is sometimes characterised as Yiddish in origin. Some commentators maintain that "Klopman" is an inherently funny word and that names other than Klopman would not be as funny; they note that this joke has survived essentially unaltered for decades.
In popular culture
Garfield and Friends
The Klopman Diamond was used as a running gag in the animated television show Garfield and Friends. For example, there would be a giant diamond in a museum display case, which Garfield, as the museum tour guide, would casually identify in passing as the Klopman diamond; or Nermal would be required to polish the Klopman Diamond as one of a series of tricks during the obedience event of a cat show. At one point, Garfield even mentioned it as a "rare and valuable gem…as well as a pointless running gag on a popular Saturday morning cartoon show." There was a segment devoted to it in the episode "The Curse of Klopman" (see List of Garfield and Friends episodes). The first episode to mention it (and the second reference to it in a U.S. Acres segment) was in the episode "Wanted: Wade". The Klopman Diamond was also briefly mentioned in the U.S. Acres episode "Secrets of the Animated Cartoon" as one of many things that frightened Wade (the others being monsters, bugs, and cheese sandwiches). The Klopman Diamond also appeared in a "Screaming with Binky" short, in which Binky the Clown inadvertently caused a diamond cutter to shatter the Klopman Diamond into a small pile of dust.
Mark Evanier claims credit for adding references to the Klopman diamond to Garfield and Friends.
As a nod to the old animated series, the more recent series The Garfield Show (also written by Evanier) has also included references to the Klopman Diamond, and a crystal referred to as the Klopman Crystal is made a plot device in the direct-to-video film Garfield's Pet Force. There is also a reference to the Klopman Diamond in the October 2012 issue of the Garfield comic book.
A later joke of Myron Cohen, similar in nature, goes as follows:
- The very same Mrs. Klopman was told by her doctor that she had a fatal condition and would never outlive her husband. She immediately commissioned a world-famous portrait artist to paint her portrait, which was to be hung above the mantel in the living room. As she posed for the portrait, she asked the artist "When you're done...if you have some paints left....I vant you should add some things to the painting..... I vant you should paint on my wrist a three-tiered diamond tennis bracelet," she said. "Also, paint on Tahitian black pearl earrings the size of grapes." She continued in this vein, asking him to paint several rings on her fingers and a ruby and diamond tiara for good measure. The artist did as he was told, and turned out a dazzling portrait.
- When the job was finished, before he left, the artist said, "May I ask you a question, Mrs. Klopman?"
- "Sure, go ahead," she replied.
- "Well," said the artist, "painting the Klopman diamond was easy, but I had a heck of a time dreaming up all the other jewelry you wanted me to add on. Tell me, why did you want it?"
- A crafty gleam lit Mrs. Klopman's eyes as she explained, "because when I'm dead and my husband brings the next Mrs. Klopman into this house, I want her to look at my portrait and go crazy trying to find all that stuff!"
- Mark Evanier discusses adding references of the Klopman diamond to "Garfield and Friends"
- Klopman diamond joke appearing in The Milwaukee Sentinel - Nov 22, 1979