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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Quotations on Humour

Q: “What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?”
A: “Make me one with everything.”

A kleptomaniac is a person who helps himself because he can’t help himself. Anon

I’m too fast. I’m too smart. I’m too pretty. I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked. Muhammad Ali

My success has allowed me to strike out with a higher class of women. Woody Allen

It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens. Woody Allen

The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes. Sir Thomas Beecham

A tense and peculiar family, the Oedipus’s, were they not? Max Beerbohm

I’ve never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn’t make it worse. Brendan Behan

Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis. Brendan Behan

I’m not a politician. I’ve only got one face.
Brendan Behan

I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. George Best

History, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools. Ambrose Bierce

War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography. Ambrose Bierce

The Swiss are the only nation to make the Germans appear inefficient, the French undiplomatic and the Texans poor. Paul Bilton, The Xenophobe’s guide to the Swiss

Dr. Kissinger was surprised that I knew where Ghana was. Shirley Temple Black

My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness for forty years because even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask for directions. Elayne Boosler

How can you lie there and think of England, when you don’t even know who’s in the team? Billy Bragg

I’ve developed a new philosophy . . . I only dread one day at a time. Charlie Brown

Is our children learning. George W. Bush

Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream. George W. Bush

For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off. Johnnie Carson

If Miss means respectably unmarried, and Mrs. respectably married, then Ms. means nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Angela Carter

The plot is so ingenious only a halfwit would guess it. Raymond Chandler on the solution to Agatha Christie’s story in which all of the suspects did the murder in collaboration

You can always spot a well-informed man; his views are the same as yours. Ilka Chase

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing, and then marry him. Cher

A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses. Jean Cocteau

You know, I go to the theatre to be entertained… I don’t want to see plays about rape, sodomy, and drug addiction… I can get all that at home. Peter Cook

I’m a radical feminist, not the fun kind.
Andrea Dworkin

I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher but, I don’t know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in. Oliver Edwards

We have lived through the era when happiness was a warm puppy, and the era when happiness was a dry martini, and now we have come to the era when happiness is “knowing what your uterus looks like.” Nora Ephron

I love that fabric, you were lucky to find so much of it. Dame Edna Everage to an overweight woman

If English was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for us. Miriam Ferguson, former governor of Texas

Start every day with a smile and get it over with.
W.C. Fields

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. Robert Frost

How long can you be cute? Goldie Hawn

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then. Katharine Hepburn

Personally, I think if a woman hasn’t met the right man by the time she’s 24, she may be lucky. Deborah Kerr

The Tories have an education system in which the most important book is the cheque-book. Neil Kinnock

Anyone in his position needs to be whiter than white. Dame Jill Knight MP on Nelson Mandela

The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet. Ring Lardner

The Census Bureau reported that Las Vegas is about to pass Washington, D.C. in population. Of course, there’s a huge difference between Vegas and Washington. See, in Las Vegas, people gamble with their own money. Jay Leno

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.
Abraham Lincoln

If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there. Martin Luther

The best way to get husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they are too old to do it. Shirley MacLaine

These are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others. Groucho Marx

I find television very educating. Every time someone turns on the set, I go and read a book. Groucho Marx

She’s OK if you like talent. Ethel Merman

I thought I’d begin with a sonnet by Shakespeare but then I thought why should I? He never reads any of mine. Spike Milligan

Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. Marilyn Monroe

Hell hath no fury like a noncombatant. CE Montague

This sort of thing may be tolerated by the French – but we are British, thank God. (Viscount Montgommery speaking in the House of Lords on the Bill to legalise homosexuality, 1965)

Humour is practically the only thing about which the English are utterly serious. Malcolm Muggeridge

I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.
Marilyn Monroe

I am the kind of writer that people think other people are reading. VS Naipaul

I came to live in a country I love; some people label me a defector. I have loved men and women in my life; I’ve been labelled “the bisexual defector.” Want to know another secret? I’m even ambidextrous. I don’t like labels. Just call me Martina. Martina Navratilova

I have sacrificed everything in my life that I consider precious in order to advance the political career of my husband. Pat Nixon

You’d be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap. Dolly Parton

A Geordie friend of mine advised me that when judging Southerners we must always remember that they have not had the benefit of our disadvantages.
Harry Pearson

I’m a great believer in getting your priorities wrong, setting your sights low, so that you don’t go through your whole life frustrated that you never became prime minister. John Peel 1939-2004

Singers come and go, but if you’re a good actor, you can last a long time. Elvis Presley

I would even go to Washington, which is saying something for me, just to glimpse Jane Q. Public, being sworn in as the first female president of the United States, while her husband holds the Bible and wears a silly pill box hat and matching coat. Anna Quindlen

If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito. Anita Roddick

As I grow older and older,
And totter toward the tomb,
I find that I care less and less
Who goes to bed with whom.
Dorothy Sayers

Do not join encounter groups. If you enjoy being made to feel inadequate, call your mother. Liz Smith

As far as I’m concerned, being any gender is a drag.
Patti Smith

Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. There’s just so little hope of advancement. Snoopy

Just remember, we’re all in this alone. Lily Tomlin

I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else. Lily Tomlin

If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill came always together, who would escape hanging? Mark Twain

Ann Tyler was waiting with her kids at the bus stop one morning and got to chatting with another Mom. After a while, the other Mom said “So do you have a job now, or are you still just writing?”

To succeed in this world, it is not enough to be stupid, you must be well-mannered. Voltaire

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three others. Orson Welles

Keep a diary and one day it will keep you. Mae West

I am not young enough to know everything. Oscar Wilde

I rose by sheer military ability to the rank of corporal. Thornton Wilder

The typical Englishman is a strong being who takes a cold bath in the morning and talks about it for the rest of the day. Ellen Wilkinson

In Hollywood, all marriages are happy. It’s trying to live together afterwards that causes problems. Shelley Winters