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Some of the Best Things Ever Said about Being Funny

The rewards for being sane may not be very many but knowing what’s funny is one of them. Kingsley Amis

Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh. W. H. Auden

A decadent culture offers opportunities chiefly to the satirist. Jacques Barzun

Stand-up is like a movie every night. You write it, direct it, produce it, the audience votes, and you go home. There’s nothing more satisfying. Elayne Boosler

Literary parody is half obeisance, half ridicule. Its essence is ambivalence. John Brooks

A patient complaining of melancholy consulted Dr. Abernathy. After an examination the doctor pronounced, “You need amusement. Go and hear the comedian Grimaldi; he will make you laugh and that will be better for you than any drugs.” Said the patient, “I am Grimaldi.” Bennett Cerf

Most of what goes on is very funny. Chicago

Wit is something you possess, but humor is something that possesses you. Robertson Davies in The Rebel Angels

Humor, like frogs, can be dissected, but neither ever lives through the process. Frank Gannon

Oh, it’s hard, very hard indeed. But not as hard as doing comedy. Edmund Gwenn on his deathbed, when asked by Jack Lemmon asked him how hard it was to face death.

Major metropolitan police departments regarded him as a kind of traveling hunting trophy. Tony Hendra, about Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce told me that backstage once: the best laughs come from things you’re not supposed to laugh at. Tony Hendra

Humor is what you wish in your secret heart were not funny, but it is, and you must laugh. Humor is your unconscious therapy. Langston Hughes

People are much too solemn about things. I’m all for sticking pins into episcopal behinds, and that sort of thing. It seems to me a most salutary proceeding. Aldous Huxley

It isn’t necessary to be cruel in order to be witty. Kindly humor takes a little more work, but it’s an art worth developing. Kat Kinkade

Anger, or more specifically, a need to denigrate everyone in sight, can be sublimated into humor, healthy and corrective cynicism, and the highest forms of spiritual instruction, or be degraded into mere neurotic and counter-productive bullying. Art Kleps

Satire is a weapon of self-defense as well as attack, and the satirist inflicts wounds in retaliation for his own wounds of outrage and pain. Gavin Lambert

Parody is an intuitive kind of literary criticism, shorthand for what ‘serious’ critics must write out at length. It is Method acting, since a successful parodist must live himself, imaginatively in his parodee. It is jiujitsu, using the impetus of the opponent to defeat him. Dwight Macdonald

Humor teaches tolerance, and the humorist, with a smile and perhaps a sigh, is more likely to shrug his shoulders than to condemn. W. Somerset Maugham

“By Jove, if I weren’t flippant, I should hang myself,” he thought cheerfully. (The character Philip Carey in W. Somerset Maugham‘s Of Human Bondage)

Stop dying. Am trying to write a comedy. Wilson Mizner to his brother Addison, who had a fatal illness

Making people laugh is the lowest form of humor. Michael O’Donoghue

The Iban, when they decide that something is really funny, and know that they are going to laugh for a long time, lie down first. Redmond O’Hanlon, about people of Borneo

A sense of humor, properly developed, is superior to any religion so far devised. Tom Robbins

Satire is moral outrage transformed into comic art. Philip Roth

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own. Jonathan Swift

In my experience, most joke-tellers are nags, bores, racists, sadists, boasters, blasphemers, look-at-me types. Paul Theroux

The only requirement for a long career in satire – besides not losing your mind – is a rolling sense of indignation that the world is so resistant to sanity. Gary Trudeau

Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever. By forever I mean thirty years. Mark Twain

The greater the horror the louder the laughter. Unknown

He who laughs last thinks slower. Unknown

As I witness the universe getting away with me, I wonder what other uproarious deceptions it will perpetrate. Alan Watts

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, let me just say, fuck you…. I’ve only been here 45 minutes. It’s gonna be a long day, I’m gonna insult a lot of people. Swami X

Craig Ferguson’s Dad
Craig Ferguson and All That

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