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Quotations about Humor


The Court jester, referred to haughtily as "yon poor fool," was most likely the cleverest man around... ~Stephen Leacock, The Garden of Folly, 1924

If the Universe had a place for everything and everything was in its place, there would be little demand for humor. ~Samuel McChord Crothers, "The Mission of Humor," The Gentle Reader, 1903

But humor is too delicate and evanescent a thing to be extracted from a book like plums from a pudding. ~Beatrix, "What to Read," The Household, supplement to Michigan Farmer and State Journal of Agriculture, 1884 September 30th

Imagination is given to a man to console him for what he is not, as humor is given to him to console him for what he is. A man who has both is very near heaven already. ~Maud Wilder Goodwin, "Four Roads to Paradise," 1853

"Poetry," said Shelley, "lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar." This, if you substitute 'absurdity' for 'beauty,' is also a good definition of humour... Humour is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in every-day affairs. ~Christopher Morley, Inward Ho!, 1923

Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn. ~Irvin S. Cobb

You are wise to remember that a well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds a balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life. ~William Arthur Ward, "The Wisdom of Laughing at Yourself"

Humor has a way of bringing people together. It unites people. In fact, I'm rather serious when I suggest that someone should plant a few whoopee cushions in the United Nations. ~Ron Dentinger, unverified

Every survival kit should include a sense of humor. ~Author unknown

Comedy is there to basically show us we fart, we laugh — to make us realize we still are part animal. As intellectual as we think we are, we still trip. We still have human foibles, sexuality, all the different things that still make you aware of your humanity... It's just to keep us awake... all that stuff so you don't take yourself seriously and destroy the species. ~Robin Williams, on the role of the artist in society, interview with Lawrence Grobel, 1991

Getting a comedic view
of your situation
gives you spiritual distance.
Having a sense of humor saves you.
~Joseph Campbell

The average humorist never knows when he is at his wit's end. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, George Horace Lorimer, editor, as reprinted in Poor Richard Jr's Almanack, 1906

JOKE. Something that's extremely clever — when we make it ourselves. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905

Our five senses are incomplete without the sixth — a sense of humor. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place. ~Mark Twain

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. ~Clive James, in The Observer, London, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1980

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility. ~James Thurber

[T]he satirist shoots to kill while the humorist brings his prey back alive. Swift destroyed the human race; Mark Twain and Thurber enabled it to go on. We human beings are all absurd variations of one another in any case, and this is what comedy of all kinds puts down on paper. ~Peter De Vries, 1964

Humor is, I think, the subtlest and chanciest of literary forms. It is surely not accidental that there are a thousand novelists, essayists, poets or journalists for each humorist. It is a long, long time between James Thurbers. ~Leo Rosten

Humor is just another defense against the universe. ~Mel Brooks

Humour and disillusionment are twin sisters. ~Stephen Leacock, The Garden of Folly, 1924

After God created the world, he made man and woman. Then, to keep the whole thing from collapsing, he invented humor. ~Guillermo Mordillo, in Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1982

Humor is reason gone mad. ~Groucho Marx, as quoted by Laurence J. Peter

The writers whom we love are those whose humor does not glare or glitter, but which has an iridescent quality. It is the perpetual play of light and color which enchants us. ~Samuel McChord Crothers, "The Mission of Humor"

Comedy — it's caution thrown to the wind. ~Jerry Lewis, in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, "Heere’s Jerry!," 2018

Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious. ~Peter Ustinov

Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end. ~Sid Caesar, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1984

Warning: Humor may be hazardous to your illness. ~Hot Wire, 1985

A "smartcracker" they called me... There's a hell of a distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words. ~Dorothy Parker, in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, 1958, interviewed by Marion Capron, edited by Malcolm Cowley

In this foolish world there is nothing more numerous
Than different people's senses of humorous...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Very Funny, Very Funny"

Of the five senses, common-sense and a sense of humor are the rarest. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

When in doubt, tell a funny 'til you see what the other fellow is going to do. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

Wit. — Wit is the epitaph of an emotion. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, "Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions" (#202, 1879), Human, All-Too-Human: A Book for Free Spirits, translated from German by Paul V. Cohn, 1913

Many a true word is spoken in jest. ~English proverb

Humor is the good natured side of a truth. ~Mark Twain

If money makes the world go round, it's humor that keeps it from spinning out of control. ~Craig Kimberley

Humor is mankind's greatest blessing. ~Mark Twain

A keen sense of humor helps us overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968

Let your humour always be good-humour, in the double sense of the phrase: if it comes from a bad humour, it is almost sure to be bad humour. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

I'm not a joke machine. You can't just feed crap in and get funny out. ~S.A. Sachs

Question:  What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Walter Cronkite:  I'm strongly urged by advisers not to say "moral laxity," so let's say "sense of humor."
~Proust questionnaire, in Vanity Fair, 1997

The funniest things are the forbidden. ~Mark Twain, 1879

Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that Humour excites in those who lack it. ~George Saintsbury

...the sense of the Absurd, which is despair refusing to take itself seriously. ~Arland Ussher

...for a writer humor is a rubber sword — it allows you to make a point without drawing blood. ~Mary Hirsch

The kind of humor I like is the thing which makes me laugh for five seconds and think for ten minutes. ~William Davis

To me, a comic says funny things. A humorist thinks funny things. But a humorist must not only think funny, he must listen funny... The best story tellers... are listeners and thinkers. ~Jack Paar, 1950s

I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it. ~Frank A. Clark

Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety, — all this rust of life ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth... A man without mirth is like a wagon without springs, in which one is caused disagreeably to jolt by every pebble over which it runs. A man with mirth is like a chariot with springs, in which one can ride over the roughest road, and scarcely feel anything but a pleasant rocking motion. ~Henry Ward Beecher

The distrust of wit is the beginning of tyranny. ~Edward Abbey

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