Quips I have loved.

James Hayman.  I’m well aware that the name of our blog site is Maine Crime Writers. For this reason, one would reasonably expect us to write about crime or Maine or perhaps writing. However, today I’ll do none of the above..  When I joined this blog I was told I could write about anything I wanted and since I’m in the mood for a laugh.  So today’s blog will have nothing whatsoever to do with anything in our site name. Instead I’ll offer a  compendium of some of my favorite amusing one (and two and three) liners.

Let’s start with ne f the masters, Groucho Marx.  Groucho famously said:

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

“I find television very educational. Every time someone turns on a set, I go in the other room and read a book.”

“Women should be obscene and not heard.”

“A child of five would understand this. Someone please send me a child of five.” 

One of my favorites of Groucho’s was ad-libbed on his TV quiz show, You Bet Your Life. Upon learning one of his contestants  was the father of 12 children, Groucho asked the man why he’d had so many.  “Because I love my wife,” came the reply. Groucho looked the man up and down for what must have been one of the lengthier  pregnant pauses in TV history. “I love my cigar,” Groucho finally said in rejoinder, “but I occasionally take it out.” CBS briefly pulled Groucho off the air for what in the 1950’s passed for obscenity.

For most lovers of the wise-ass school of writing, the uncontested queen of the quip was Dorothy Parker who, unfortunately for some authors, happened to be assigned occasionally to write book reviews for The New Yorker. Said Ms. Parker’s review of one novel,  “This is not a book to be taken lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

In 1928 there was her famously acerbic review of H.H. Milne’s House at Pooh Corner. Writing as The Constant Reader in the New Yorker, near the end of her review, she wrote, “And it is that word “hummy” my darlings that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader Fwowed up.”

Here’s a bit from Parker’s review of a stage performance by a very young Katherine Hepburn: “Miss Hepburn ran the gamut of emotions fro A to B.”

Some of my other favorite Parkerisms:

“If all the girls at last year’s Yale senior prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”

 “I love to have a martini/ Two at the very most/ Three I’m under the table/Four I’m under the host.”

 Brevity is the soul of lingerie”

 “I require three things in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.”

 “I’ve never been a millionaire but I know I’d be just darling at it.”

 “Ducking for apples-Change one letter and it’s the story of my life.”

Another master of the quip was the New York Yankee great, Yogi Berra who said:

“You can observe a lot just by watching.”

“No one goes there nowadays. It’s too crowded.”

“Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

And finally, when informed that a Jew had been elected Lord Mayor of Dublin, Yogi observed “Isn’t that wonderful. Only in America.”

Another great quipster, as well as a great writer,  was Mark Twain who told us:

“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

“Get your facts first. Then  you can distort them any way you like”

 “Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.”

One could go on and on with these but I won’t. However,  I’d love it if readers would respond with some of their own favorites, famous or not.

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7 Responses to Quips I have loved.

  1. Deanna says:

    A woman is like a tea bag; you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water. ♥ Eleanor Roosevelt

  2. Joan Emerson says:

    This one makes me laugh . . .
    “If it weren’t for electricity, we’d be watching TV by candlelight.” — George Gobel

    These two make me think the truth is often couched in humor . . .
    “The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.” — Thomas Paine
    “The trouble with political jokes is that very often they get elected.” — Will Rogers

    But Kathy Griffin gets the prize . . .
    “There’s one thing that’s really great about waking up early, and it’s not jogging or greeting the day. It’s just that that’s when they make doughnuts.”

  3. MCWriTers says:

    Another one from Yogi Berra:

    In theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice they are different.

    Such a fun topic! I long to write/have my characters say, things that are memorable. Haven’t hit with one yet, but Burgess once remarked that: He felt like a Faberge hand grenade, fragile and explosive.

    Can’t wait to see what people share.


  4. Barry Ergang says:

    Another one from George Gobel. I was going to write it out, but it’s better if you hear it directly. The whole clip is funny, but the greatest line comes at about 30 seconds in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXn0u95meYk

    I saw the entire program the night it originally aired, and it remains the greatest Tonight Show I’ve ever seen.

  5. lil Gluckstern says:

    Thank you to all of you for a bunch a great laughs. George Gobel was a hoot, along with Johnny Carson!

  6. Peg Herring says:

    I love Churchill’s quick wit: When a disapproving woman said to him, “Mr. Churchill, if you were my husband, I’d put poison in your tea,” he replied, “Madame, if you were my wife, I would drink it!”

  7. Brenda says:

    Love this! There are so many wonderful ones and I find more every day.

    I’ve always loved the one wrongly attributed to W.C. Fields (actually said to have been said about him by a NYT reporter): “Any man who hates dogs and children can’t be all bad.”

    One my dad used to say all the time was, “It is a great life if you don’t weaken.”

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