Comical Comments

Article excerpt

Ove Michaelsen sent a passle of funny statements from many different sources. His own are the comments without quotation marks.

ACCREDITATION

A disgruntled recording artist, whose name I will not disclose, considered including this comment in the liner notes for one of her CDs:

"Thanks to all who have helped me through the years to ensure that the number of names in my list of credits be kept to a bare minimum."

ATTIRE

A friend to Dorothy Parker: "Isn't your dress a little too young for you, dear?" Parker's reply: "Do you think so, dear? I think yours suits you perfectly. It always has."

AUDIENCES

"I've played many rooms, and this was one of them."

On inattentive audiences: Why waste good ink on poor paper?

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." --Groucho (Julius) Marx (1890-1977), U.S. comic actor

"One of the more important aspects of public folk singing is audience participation ... So if any of you feel like joining in, I'd appreciate it if you would leave." --Tom Lehrer (intro to "The Irish Ballad," from his album Tom Lehrer Revisted)

I've seen more life in a mausoleum.

"The play was a complete success. The audience was a failure." --from "Pot-Shots" by Ashleigh Brilliant (1933-), English-born U.S. cartoonist

BAD LUCK and HARD TIMES

Opportunity once knocked at his door. It had the wrong address.

It's an air-tight case, but he doesn't stand a chance--he's defended by Murphy's lawyer.

At the end of a rainbow he found a pot of pyrite.

"He once had a near life experience."

A would-be has-been.

You can bet he'll never win.

When there's a 30% chance of rain, it finds him, and he gets all 30% of it.

She took him in and helped him out (in a hurry).

His fate is sealed with a curse.

He suffers from an ongoing shortcoming.

He's always alone with someone new.

When it comes to money, he can't add nor multiply--only subtract and divide.

He told his shrink, "Give me one reason to live." The doc replied, "Okay, I'm stumped." "He's as lonely as a pork chop at a kosher deli, or a tear at a lawyer's memorial."

He's rejected by even the losers. Rodney Dangerfield couldn't have used his material.

CHEAPSKATES

"He writes enormous checks--on her account."

He throws quarter tips around as if they're manhole covers. --paraphrasing Dorothy (Rothschild) Parker (1893-1967), U.S. author and critic

"He would give you the sleeves off his vest." --George S. Kaufman (1889-1961), U.S. dramatist and journalist

COLD CUTS

"Remember the compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how."--Mary Schmich (1954-), "Wear Sunscreen," from her column in the Chicago Tribune, June 1, 1997 (made into a book in 1998, subtitled "A Primer for Real Life"). The piece was widely circulated online, falsely attributed to author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., "from a speech he gave at M.I.T." Ms. Schmich, a veteran journalist, has also been the writer for the comic strip Brenda Starr since the mid 1980s.

Many of these one-liners have been around for generations. Some are recent, and several of the sources were difficult to trace. Louis Safian, Evan Esar, Colin Jarman (the Guinness Book of Poisonous Quotes [1993]), and other compilers have published some cited here. A number of these were adopted or slightly revised by gag writers and humorists, or erroneously attributed to various celebrities. Some were written by their writers. Many of these lines were conceived by yours truly, but never used. I claim no responsibility for consequences that might occur to those who express their freedom of risking personal injury for using any of these lines in conversation.

"Don't insult a crocodile until you've crossed the river." --Middle Eastern proverb

CORRESPONDENCE

It is said that a non-response is the ultimate snub. …