An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





We are living in the machine age. For the first time in history the comedian has been compelled to supply himself with jokes and comedy material to compete with the machine. Whether he knows it or not, the comedian is on a treadmill to oblivion.


Fred A. Allen (1894-1957, American radio comic)


While awaiting sentencing, I decided to give stand-up comedy a shot. The judge had suggested I get my act together, and I took him seriously.


Tim Allen (1953-, American actor, comedian, author)


Comedy just pokes at problems, rarely confronts them squarely. Drama is like a plate of meat and potatoes, comedy is rather the dessert, a bit like meringue.


Woody Allen (1935-, American director, screenwriter, actor, comedian)


I think being funny is not anyone's first choice.


Woody Allen (1935-, American director, screenwriter, actor, comedian)


Humorists can never start to take themselves seriously. It's literary suicide.


Erma Bombeck (1927-, American author, humorist)

Author's website:


Humorists can never start to take themselves seriously. It's literary suicide.


Erma Bombeck (1927-, American author, humorist)

Author's website:


The only honest art form is laughter, comedy. You can't fake it... try to fake three laughs in an hour -- ha ha ha ha ha -- they'll take you away, man. You can't.


Lenny Bruce (1925-1966, American comedian)


Today's comedian has a cross to bear that he built himself. A comedian of the older generation did an "act" and he told the audience, "This is my act." Today's comic is not doing an act. The audience assumes he's telling the truth. What is truth today may be a damn lie next week.


Lenny Bruce (1925-1966, American comedian)


Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people.


Angela Carter (1940-1992, British author)


All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.


Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977, British comic actor, filmmaker)


Charlie Chaplin's genius was in comedy. He has no sense of humor, particularly about himself.


Lita Grey Chaplin


My own habitual feeling is that the world is so extremely odd, and everything in it so surprising. Why should there be green grass and liquid water, and why have I got hands and feet.


John Jay Chapman (1862-1933, American author)


I was doing stand-up at a restaurant and there was a chalkboard on the street out front. It said, "Soup of the Day: Cream of Asparagus. Ellen DeGeneres."


Ellen DeGeneres (1958-, American actress, TV personality)


If I get a hard audience they are not going to get away until they laugh. Those seven laughs a minute -- I've got to have them.


Ken Dodd


The perception of the comic is a tie of sympathy with other men, a pledge of sanity, and a protection from those perverse tendencies and gloomy insanities in which fine intellects sometimes lose themselves. A rogue alive to the ludicrous is still convertible. If that sense is lost, his fellow men can do little for him.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Comedy, like sodomy, is an unnatural act.


Marty Feldman


The guy has baggy pants, flat feet, the most miserable, bedraggled-looking little bastard you ever saw; makes itchy gestures as though he's got crabs under his arms -- but he's funny.


Sterling Ford


Comedy is an escape, not from truth but from despair; a narrow escape into faith.


Christopher Fry (1907-, British playwright)


Comedy deflates the sense precisely so that the underlying lubricity and malice may bubble to the surface.


Paul Goodman (1911-1972, American author, poet, critic)


We mustn't complain too much of being comedians -- it's an honorable profession. If only we could be good ones the world might gain at least a sense of style. We have failed -- that's all. We are bad comedians, we aren't bad men.


Graham Greene (1904-1991, British novelist)


Comedy naturally wears itself out -- destroys the very food on which it lives; and by constantly and successfully exposing the follies and weaknesses of mankind to ridicule, in the end leaves itself nothing worth laughing at.


William Hazlitt (1778-1830, British essayist)


A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.


Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961, American writer)


Comedy may be big business but it isn't pretty.


Steve Martin (1945-, American actor, comedian, screenwriter, playwright, writer)


Comedy comes from conflict, from hatred.


Warren Mitchell (1926-, British actor)


The test of a real comedian is whether you laugh at him before he opens his mouth.


George Jean Nathan (1882-1958, American critic)


I always loved comedy, but I never knew it was something you could learn to do. I always thought that some people are born comedians ... just like some people are born dentists.


Paul Reiser (1957-, American actor, comedian, writer)


My routines come out of total unhappiness. My audiences are my group therapy.


Joan Rivers (1933-, American comedian, talk show host, actress)


There is not one female comic who was beautiful as a little girl.


Joan Rivers (1933-, American comedian, talk show host, actress)


In comedy, reconcilement with life comes at the point when to the tragic sense only an inalienable difference or dissension with life appears.


Constance Rourke (1885-1941, American author)


When humor can be made to alternate with melancholy, one has a success, but when the same things are funny and melancholic at the same time, it's just wonderful.


Francois Truffaut (1932-1984, French film critic and director)


And I did laugh sans intermission an hour by his dial. O noble fool, a worthy fool -- motley's the only wear.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


Though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


Comedy has to be done en clair. You can't blunt the edge of wit or the point of satire with obscurity. Try to imagine a famous witty saying that is not immediately clear.


James Thurber (1894-1961, American humorist, illustrator)


The only rules comedy can tolerate are those of taste, and the only limitations those of libel.


James Thurber (1894-1961, American humorist, illustrator)


The comic spirit is given to us in order that we may analyze, weigh, and clarify things in us which nettle us, or which we are outgrowing, or trying to reshape.


Thornton Wilder (1897-1975, American novelist, playwright)


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