Wit Quotes

/ Quotes /

My son is only half-Jewish: can he go into the pool up to his knees?

Graucho Marx

The Marx brothers were brilliant, famous, great; but the Hollywood country club was still as anti-Semitic as many another.

Those are my principles: and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.

Graucho Marx

You come to Chicago. You come to my house. I’ll let you walk around in it. Then you come home and walk around your own house. You’ll see which one of us is the nigger.

Dick Gregory

In the 1960s comedian Dick Gregory was a leader in march after march. In one particularly nasty one, the (ahem) white sheriff (fat of course, a cracker lout of course) enforcing the (ahem) law of course, stuck the barrels of his shotgun into Gregoary’s gut and told “the nigger” to Git.

As soon as I finish painting the White House.

Someone asked presidential candidate Gregory when he would deal with some pressing issue of his platform.

America keeps changing its clothes but underneath remains dirty.

Dick Gregory

It takes up too many evenings.

Oscar Wilde

dismissing socialism

He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.

Oscar Wilde

To understand all is to forgive all.

French proverb

The wife of some Chicago Sun-Times reporter asked How do you know?

I keep regular health habits: I never smoke more than one cigar at a time, and my hours are regular: I eat when I’m hungry and I get up when I wake up.

Mark Twain

explaining his brilliant old age

This writer is one for the ages: ages four to eight.

Dorothy Parker

Katharine Hepburn emoted the whole range: from A to B.

Dorothy Parker

If all the Vassar girls were laid end to end … I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

Dorothy Parker

Southy will be remembered after Homer and Shakespeare have been forgotten:
but not until then.

Lord Byron

Clever obscenity from eighteenth-century England:

She was so exquisite a whore
That, in the womb of her mother
She pushed her own cunt to the fore
Her father fucked them both: together.

Nell Gwynne had been mistress to King Charles II. She was said to be able to flutter her vulva and ripple as well as squeeze her vagina: a genius at fucking.


I gather these citations as examples of wit. Many would classify equally well under Courage. Here’s a story related by theme that may not sample wit so much but boy, does it example courage!
Bessie Smith, blues hero to the poor (and to anyone with ears), was singing at a performance set up in a tent: like a big revival meeting. The Ku Klux Klan marched on the black gathering in their sheets. Bessie was told to flee.
Flee, hell. Bessie charged out of the tent toward the Klan, shaking her fist, cussing them, and telling them they’d better git’.
Her courage, her righteous fury, was all the crowd needed to find some courage of its own. So the crowd formed up behind her.
Sho’ nuff, the Klan fled.

Dorothy Parker:

I spent a few hours with Dorothy Parker when she was close to 70, and she said at least a couple of funny things in that visit. My college friend was a nephew of Quentin Reynolds, the WW II war correspondent, and I kept him company as he paid his uncle a visit. Reynolds was walking around in his pajamas as his attractive young 24/7 assistant tried to anticipate the old lion’s needs. The knock on the door proved to come from Dorothy Parker, Reynolds’ old buddy who lived upstairs. Parker liked manly men, soldiers, Hemmingway … war correspondents … Her first joke had to do with a friend of hers who took her dog to the opera. The management allowed it so long as the dog had its own ticket. “But didn’t the dog bark?” queried Reynolds. “Oh, no,” answered Parker, “It was too bored.”

But the best wit that evening concerned the number of their friends and neighbors who were dying. (Note: Parker was famous for her participation in the “Round Table” drinking bouts at the Algonquin Hotel. But four decades later she and her buddies were still cheek by jowl, living in the same hotel on Lexington.) But now they were at a age when attrition suddenly escalated. Funeral after funeral was taking place in the mortician parlor right across Lexington from their apartments. Parker said that it was getting so they ought to just install a coal chute from their upper stories which angled across Lexington and penetrate the mortician’s: the corpses could then easily be just slid across the street without waiting for traffic.

PS: Parker’s traipsing between her own digs and those of her drinking companion reminded me of my own living arrangements my last couple of years of college: a few of us guys were in and out of each other’s apartments as though our cheap walk-ups were “duplexes”; but with outside connecting stairways. Then we extended our male quarters to include similar apartments filled with Julliard girls: our quarters came to resemble what would happen in coed college dormitories all over in another eight or ten years: there would be no privacy or refuge for virgins.

2008 11 02 Don’t ever think for one second that the modules at Knatz.com represent a life time of favorite quotes! No, merely things I’ve digitized and scribbled about since launching my home page in the late 1990s. Shakespeare, Donne, Byron … Bateson, Fuller, Korzybski … would fill the bulk of my quotes and references had I started digitizing earlier (or, I’d have been too busy quoting to read much or to think or do much). I started this file with what was in my memory at the time. Now I add a couple of favorite examples of wit more representative of my whole life, stimulated by a current, frustrating attempt to watch a DVD on Dorothy Parker, my degenerate ears and Jennifer Jason Leigh’s styled accent missing each other.

Quotes Quotes by Topic Quotes re: pk

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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