Comedy Quotes

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Life is a comedy.
• Horace Walpole, letter to Sir Horace Mann, Dec. 31, 1769. In a letter to same, March 5, 1772. "This world is a comedy, not Life".
• Source: Wikiquote: "Life" (Anonymous, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 440-55.)
The comedy gods are smiling on me tonight, because I have been saying, for the longest time, that president Bush must set a timetable for removing his head from his ass...and, by god, today they went in and looked for it. They actually went in and looked for it and... They didn't find it. So now we don't know where it is, but at least for once in my life, I get to see the words "Bush", "operation", and "success" in the same sentence.
Comedy is tragedy plus time.
I never worry about people not taking my work seriously as a result of the humor. In the end, the comic’s best trick is the illusion that comedy is effortless. That people imagine what he’s doing is easy is an occupational hazard. Cary Grant never won an Oscar, primarily, I suspect, because he made everything look so effortless. Why reward someone for having fun, for being charming? In "serious" fiction (as in "serious" film) you can feel the weight of the material. You expect to see the effort and the strain of all that heavy lifting, and we reward the effort as much as the success. Comedy is often just as serious, and to ignore that seriousness is misguided, of course, but most writers with comic world views have accustomed themselves to being sold at a discount. Most of us wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dying is easy, comedy is hard.
Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.
Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.
Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.
I was once on a German talk show, and this woman said to me, "Mr. Williams, why do you think there is not so much comedy in Germany?" And I said, "Did you ever think you killed all the funny people?"
Small Change - " a poetic comedy that's really funny "
When Harold Pinter was lobbying to have London's Comedy Theatre renamed the Pinter Theatre, Stoppard wrote back: "Have you thought, instead, of changing your name to Harold Comedy?"
It's possible [director Jody] Hill has a style, of sorts. But he doesn't work from the heart, or from the gut, as a good comedy director generally needs to. He operates from one guiding question: "How disturbing can we make this shit?"
In 1903, George Bernard Shaw published his Man and Superman, a comedy based on the Don Juan legend and expanding upon Shaw's conception of social evolution; that is the earliest citation we have for the English compound superman. Shaw's use of the term is clearly in allusion to Nietzsche's conception, and immediately thereafter superman became the translation of choice for Ubermensch, gradually, however, acquiring the looser, more generalized denotation of "any man with extraordinary powers or abilities."
• David B. Guralnik, in "Superstar, Supermom, Super Glue, Superdooper, Superman" in Superman at Fifty: The Persistence of a Legend (1987) edited by Dennis Dooley, ‎Gary D. Engle, p. 104
• Source: Wikiquote: "Übermensch" (G)
The Black Bird - " a dumb comedy, with an insecure tone and some good jokes mixed with some terrible ones."
There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?
"On The Hour" quotes from the BBC Radio 4 program "On The Hour"
Comedy is not pretty.
"I'm Alan Partridge" quotes from the BBC television series "I'm Alan Partridge"
The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel.
Horace Walpole
• Letter to Anne, Countess of Ossory, (1776-08-16)
• Original form:
I have often said, and oftener think, that this world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel — a solution of why Democritus laughed and Heraclitus wept.
• Letter to Sir Horace Mann (1769-12-31)
• A favourite saying of Walpole's, often repeated in his letters, this might be derived from a similar statement attributed to Jean de La Bruyère, though unsourced: "Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think".
• Source: Wikiquote: "Horace Walpole" (Quotes)
All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.
On 30 Rock and Studio 60 and the Sunset Strip airing in the same year: "We’ll probably end up doing a terrible crossover, where the Matthew Perry character on the drama rapes my character on the comedy—and then the ‘Law & Order’ team solves the crime."
Comedy, like sodomy, is an unnatural act.
Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people.
Comedy is the blues for people who can't sing.
Yes, it's tough, but not as tough as doing comedy.
Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est. (Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over.)
Canfield, Douglas (1997). Tricksters and Estates: On the Ideology of Restoration Comedy. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky.
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.
I am in no way facetious, nor disposed for the mirth and galliardize of company, yet in one dream I can compose a whole Comedy, behold the action, apprehend the jests, and laugh myself awake at the conceits thereof.
This other man I had dreamed A drunken, vain-glorious lout. He had done most bitter wrong To some who are near my heart, Yet I number him in the song; He, too, has resigned his part In the casual comedy; He, too, has been changed in his turn, Transformed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.
The only rules comedy can tolerate are those of taste, and the only limitations those of libel.
James Thurber
• "The Duchess and the Bugs", 'Lanterns & Lances'' (1961). The piece was "a response" to an award Thurber received from the Ohioana Library Association in 1953.
• Source: Wikiquote: "James Thurber" (Quotes, From other writings)
For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry.
I don’t even think Woody does comedy. I think he does dramas with jokes. They’re all sad at their core.
As soon as I did my first five minutes of stand-up I knew that I would rather be a failure at comedy than a success in marketing.
She is one of the most talented people that ever lived. I mean, either in stand-up comedy, or acting, or whatever you want, you can't beat Madeline Kahn.
Chaplin you got to go with. Chaplin is a man whose talents is such that you have to gamble. First off, comedy is his backyard. He's a genius, a cinematic genius. A comedic talent without peer.
Not living in fear is a great gift, because certainly these days we do it so much. And do you know what I like about comedy? You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you're laughing, I defy you to be afraid.
Not living in fear is a great gift, because certainly these days we do it so much. And do you know what I like about comedy? You can't laugh and be afraid at the same time — of anything. If you're laughing, I defy you to be afraid.
At some point during almost every romantic comedy, the female lead suddenly trips and falls, stumbling helplessly over something ridiculous like a leaf, and then some Matthew McConaughey type either whips around the corner just in the nick of time to save her or is clumsily pulled down along with her. That event predictably leads to the magical moment of their first kiss. Please. I fall ALL the time. You know who comes and gets me? The bouncer.
The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.
• Horace Walpole, letter to Sir Horace Mann. (1770); reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 911-17.
• Source: Wikiquote: "World" (W)
Selling pot allowed me to get through college and make enough money to start off in comedy.
Killing time is perhaps the essence of comedy, just as the essence of tragedy is killing eternity.
I am a guy who talks about bacon and escalators. Stand-up comedy is very much a conversation. It's very personal, stylistically.
On MySpace … the whole demographic of the stand-up comedy fan has changed. It's like an indie band thing. People think they've discovered you.
Some forms of reality are so horrible we refuse to face them, unless we are trapped into it by comedy. To label any subject unsuitable for comedy is to admit defeat.
One who never smiled, carried a face as still and sad as a daguerreotype through some of the most preposterously ingenious and visually satisfying comedy ever invented. That was Buster Keaton.
If the psychic energies of the average mass of people watching a football game or a musical comedy could be diverted into the rational channels of a freedom movement, they would be invincible.
Wilhelm Reich
• Ch. 1 : Ideology As Material Power, Section 4 : The Social Function of Sexual Suppression
• Source: Wikiquote: "Wilhelm Reich" (Quotes, The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933): Massenpsychologie des Faschismus (1933), first translated into English in 1942)
I watch news programs and I love Comedy Central. I love The Daily Show-it's smarter than anything else. I also like The Critic and Celebrity Death Match and South Park. I love all of that.
"Greig, currently hot in the TV comedy Green Wing, has a dark, brittle glamour that isn't quite beauty (there's a disconcerting touch of Edwina Currie about her) and suggests an incipient unhappiness lurking beneath the ready wit."
About Tamsin Greig
• About her performance as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, by Charlie Spencer in The Telegraph. After reading the part about Edwina Currie, she refused to read any more of the article.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Tamsin Greig" (Criticism, A review of her as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing)
Comedy is filled with surprise, so when I cross a line... I like to find out where the line might be and then cross it deliberately, and then make the audience happy about crossing the line with me.
'Feminist comedy,' practically an oxymoron, had a couple of good years after WWII. Chalk it up to the forced female autonomy that occurred during wartime, when Rosie the Riveter went to work in the factories, constructing the Allies' war machines while taking charge of the finances, the home, and the children.
If future society assumes the contours foretold by Marxism, if the jungle of our cities turns to the polis of man and the dreams of anger are made real, the representative art will be high comedy. Art will be the laughter of intelligence, as it is in Plato, in Mozart, in Stendhal.
What is Bresson's genre? He doesn't have one. Bresson is Bresson. He is a genre in himself. Antonioni, Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa, Dovzhenko, Vigo, Mizoguchi, Bunuel - each is identified with himself. The very concept of genre is as cold as the tomb. And is Chaplin — comedy? No: he is Chaplin, pure and simple; a unique phenomenon, never to be repeated.
Wild Wild West is a comedy dead zone. You stare in disbelief as scenes flop and die. The movie is all concept and no content; the elaborate special effects are like watching money burn on the screen. You know something has gone wrong when a story is about two heroes in the Old West, and the last shot is of a mechanical spider riding off into the sunset.
The myriad-minded man, our, and all men's, Shakespeare, has in this piece presented us with a legitimate farce in exactest consonance with the philosophical principles and character of farce, as distinguished from comedy and from entertainments. A proper farce is mainly distinguished from comedy by the licence allowed, and even required, in the fable, in order to produce strange and laughable situations. The story need not be probable, it is enough that it is possible.
Every time is a time for comedy in a world of tension that would languish without it. But I cannot confine myself to lightness in a period of human life that demands light ... We all know that, as the old adage has it, "It is later than you think." ..., but I also say occasionally: "It is lighter than you think." In this light let's not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.
To me, comedies are usually the least funny movies. Movies that are actually a comedy are usually not all that funny. To me Goodfellas and Raging Bull are two of the funniest movies I ever saw. [Vulture, 2010] The Jackass movies are honestly some of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I laugh so hard at them. Those guys are geniuses. If they had grown up with a different group of people, they could’ve been performance artists at Bard College, and people would be writing papers about them.
Einstein in real life was not only a great politician and a great philosopher. He was also a great observer of the human comedy, with a robust sense of humor. The third side of Einstein’s personality is not emphasized by Gimbel, but was an important cause of his immense popularity. He came as an observer to my boarding school in England in 1931, a few years before I arrived there. He was in England as the guest of Frederick Lindemann, an Oxford physicist who was also a friend and adviser to Winston Churchill.
In the twilight of the 20th century, here is a comedy to reassure us that there is hope — that the world we see around us represents progress, not decay. Pleasantville, which is one of the year's best and most original films, sneaks up on us. It begins by kidding those old black-and-white sitcoms like "Father Knows Best," it continues by pretending to be a sitcom itself, and it ends as a social commentary of surprising power.

The film observes that sometimes pleasant people are pleasant simply because they have never, ever been challenged. That it's scary and dangerous to learn new ways. The movie is like the defeat of the body snatchers: The people in color are like former pod people now freed to move on into the future. We observe that nothing creates fascists like the threat of freedom.
Pleasantville is the kind of parable that encourages us to re-evaluate the good old days and take a fresh look at the new world we so easily dismiss as decadent. Yes, we have more problems. But also more solutions, more opportunities and more freedom. I grew up in the '50s. It was a lot more like the world of Pleasantville than you might imagine. Yes, my house had a picket fence, and dinner was always on the table at a quarter to six, but things were wrong that I didn't even know the words for.
Showtime (film), a 2002 American action/comedy film
Dummy (film), a 2002 drama film/comedy film
Stop dying. Am trying to write a comedy.
Wilson Mizner
• Telegram to his brother, upon the news that Addison was fatally ill.
 • Quoted by Stuart B. McIver, Dreamers, Schemers and Scalawags, Pineapple Press, Sarasota, Florida, 1994. ISBN 1-56164-034-4.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Wilson Mizner" (Quotes, On Death and Dying)
The Plague (magazine), New York University's comedy magazine
Avoiding humiliation is the core of tragedy and comedy.
Play your part in the comedy, but don't identify yourself with your role!
Great comedy is great comedy only if it has an element of truth in it.
Rush Limbaugh
• Davis, E. Gene (2007-09-12), Get 'Em Laughing: Public Speaking Humor, Quotes and Illustrations page: 68, publisher: Trafford Publishing, ISBN: 9781425114336
• Source: Wikiquote: "Rush Limbaugh" (Attributed)
… the judge in the Saddam trial appears to be wearing comedy specs and moustache.
Yeah, this comedy is all a part of my “Get Rich Slow” scheme... and it’s working.
Farce may often border on tragedy; indeed, farce is nearer tragedy in its essence than comedy is.
And killing time is perhaps the essence of comedy, just as the essence of tragedy is killing eternity.
Sit the comedy out, and that done, When the Play's at an end, let the Curtain fall down.
• Thomas Flatman, The Whim.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Death" (Quotes: Alphabetized by author or source , Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 163-81.)
Fargo (film), 1996 American dark comedy-crime film by Joel and Ethan Coen, named after the North Dakota city
Foxx was really the king of comedy and timing. He had one of the fastest comedic minds on the planet.
About Redd Foxx
• Dick Gregory, as quoted in "Famed Comedian Redd Foxx is Celebrated in New Book, The Life and Times of Redd Fox", in Jet Vol. 96, No. 7 (19 July 1999), p. 40
• Source: Wikiquote: "Redd Foxx" (Quotes about Foxx)
When we do well, we do the best comedy on TV. That's not ego; that's just the way it is.
A tragedy can never suffer by delay: a comedy may, because the allusions or the manners represented in it maybe temporary.
The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays the part.
• Miguel de Cervantes, as quoted in The Two Hands of God: The Myths of Polarity (1969) by Alan Watts
• Source: Wikiquote: "Comedy" (Quotes)
I think being successful in comedy is being funny and making jokes - anything beyond that is the icing on the cake.
God writes a lot of comedy, Donna; the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny.
Dicaepolis: Comedy too can sometimes discern what is right. I shall not please, but I shall say what is true.
(tr. Athen. 1912, Perseus)
Acharnians, line 500-501
• Source: Wikiquote: "Aristophanes" (Sourced: Each quote is often given in multiple versions: always the translation at Perseus (usually reliable literal translation with hypertext original Greek available) and often another, more oft-quoted translation. For identical translations, the earliest translator found is given. Character names may vary between editions (from different transliteration, translation, or attribution) and are thus always given on the same line as each translation., Acharnians (425 BC))
A long, exact, and serious comedy; In every scene some moral let it teach, And, if it can, at once both please and preach.
• Alexander Pope, Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture, line 22.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Acting" (Quotes, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 4-6.)
'I hate you, I hate you!' cried Madeline, a thing I didn't know anyone ever said except in the second act of a musical comedy.
Basically I'm a very serious person, but I think the form it takes with me is comedy. I see the amusing side of all potentially pompous situations.
Perhaps because ‘dry’ comedy is so much more rare and odd than ‘dry’ wit, there are people that never much cared for Keaton. Those who do cannot care mildly.
Surrounded by countless people who murmur my name and call me 'maître', I am about to inaugurate the exhibition of my one hundred illustrations of the Divine Comedy at the Galliera Museum.
It's like in most parts of America, where there was industry and there is no longer; there is cynicism mixed with sarcasm and some optimism. That's how my background influenced my comedy.
If you feel irritated by the absurd remarks of two people whose conversation you happen to overhear, you should imagine that you are listening to a dialogue of two fools in a comedy.
Arthur Schopenhauer
• T. B. Saunders, trans., § 38
• Source: Wikiquote: "Arthur Schopenhauer" (Quotes, Parerga and Paralipomena (1851): Various portions of this large work have been translated and published in English under various titles. It is here divided up into sections corresponding to those of the original volumes and some of the cited translations. , Counsels and Maxims: Counsels and Maxims, as translated by T. Bailey Saunders (also on Wikisource: Counsels and Maxims).)
Being gloomy is easier than being cheerful. Anybody can say "I've got cancer" and get a rise out of a crowd. But how many of us can do five minutes of good stand-up comedy?
Maybe the trouble is that modern comics strive too hard to be sophisticated and knowing. What we've lost over the years is innocence and, as Keaton and company prove, innocence is an integral part of comedy.
"Leaf by Niggle" ends as a comedy, even as a "divine comedy," on more levels than one. But while it looks forward to "divine comedy", it incorporates and springs from a sense of earthly tragedy: failure, anxiety, and frustration.
He's one of those people who is completely and utterly irreplaceable. One of the things he did was to form the basis of what one would call the new comedy of the 1960s and 1970s. His achievement is absolutely extraordinary.
I never lie, even to this day. Not even a little. Unless you count playing pranks on people, which I don't. That's comedy. Entertainment doesn't count. A joke is different from a lie, even if the difference is kind of subtle.
[with Stephen Colbert, after presenting the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to Ricky Gervais and being informed that Gervais was not there] Ricky Gervais couldn't be here tonight, so instead we're going to give this to our friend Steve Carell.
I think comedy is the most difficult thing in the world, I really do. One can always lament, you know — but to laugh in the face of life, that's very hard. And for me the great tragedian should also be a great comedian.
Martha Graham
• Source: Wikiquote: "Martha Graham" (Sourced, New York Times interview (1985): "Martha Graham Reflects on Her Art and a Life in Dance" (31 March 1985); republished in The New York Times Guide to the Arts of the 20th Century (2002), p. 2734 )
"YOU'RE KILLING ME! I'M BEING MURDERED!!! I can't stand this torture anymmore, I'M DYIN' YOU'RE KILLING ME!!! I'm tellin' ya J.L., you're typecasting me to death. Comedy! always Comedy! ha-ha, WOO-HOO WOO-HOO, Yuck Yuck! Honest J.L., you just gotta give me a dramatic part!" --The Scarlet Pumpernickel
Human life is basically a comedy. Even its tragedies often seem comic to the spectator, and not infrequently they actually have comic touches to the victim. Happiness probably consists largely in the capacity to detect and relish them. A man who can laugh, if only at himself, is never really miserable.
The mystery is that the world is at it is -- a mystery that is the source of all joy and all sorrow, of all hope and fear, and the source of development both creative and degenerative. The contingency of all into which time enters is the source of pathos, comedy, and tragedy.
The comedy is always the same. In the first act the hero imagines a place where happiness exists. In the second he strives towards that goal. In the third he comes up short or what amounts to the same thing he achieves his goal only to find that happiness lies a little further down the road.
Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think. It is vital to mourn the victims of this government, but not at the expense of losing our sense of humor. Our ability to laugh directly coincides with our ability to fight. If we make fun of it, we can transcend it.
There is an outcry against epoch-making masterpieces of philosophy like Jurgen. The salacious musical comedy goes its libidinous way rejoicing, while Ibsen and Bernard Shaw are on the black list. The fact is, of course, that the puritan has been turned by sexual repression into a sexual pervert and degenerate, so that he is insane on the subject.
Marston is a writer of great merit, who rose to tragedy from the ground of comedy, and whose forte was not sympathy, either with the stronger or softer emotions, but an impatient scorn and bitter indignation against the vices and follies of men, which vented itself either in comic irony or in lofty invective. He was properly a satirist.
In pondering why a battered woman does not leave, we must remember that gay men with a taste for violent “rough trade” have always paid for this kind of sex. Are women so perfect and angelic that we cannot imagine them having sadomasochistic impulses? When they are genuinely victimized, women deserve our pity. But victimization alone cannot explain everything in the tragicomedy of love.
Before seeing Truffaut's Small Change, I was afraid it was going to be one of those simple, natural films about childhood which I generally try to avoid — I'm just not good enough to go to them. But this series of sketches on the general theme of the resilience of children turns out to be that rarity — a poetic comedy that's really funny.
Walter: Aw, kids with their hipping and their hopping and... Pull up your damn pants, you morons!
Jeff Dunham: Second Comedy Central special. It's gonna be great. No, Mommy, I don't wanna wear the pink bow.
Peanut: He even does this in his sleep. Ha! What a freak!
Paige Dunham: Would you idiots give it a rest?
José Jalapeño: [to Paige] Would you like to see my stick?
Paige Dunham: Aaaaaaaah! (hides under blanket)
It's a natural aspect of the marketplace. It's always been that way in storytelling. The guy who was good at playing the lover plays the lover, the funny guy gets the comic role. Movies are so expensive, when they put them together they want to have a couple of solid blocks in what they're building. I accept that. In theater, though, I tend to look for other things, I think I tend to be best in comedy.
Groucho appeals on so many levels at once that you could go nuts trying to figure out whether it's the funny movement, the incomparable tone of voice, what he is saying, or that keenly witty face that hits you the hardest. I swear that if he never existed, we would sense a lack in the world of comedy, like that planet in the solar system that astronomers say Ought to be there. For me he is The Master.
I do kind of aspire to do comedy that appeals to a wide range of audiences and doesn't divide people. I never want to do material that makes people laugh at the expense of making other people feel bad - not to say I'm not guilty of that at times. ... I try and make humor out of the really important issues of the day, like Hot Pockets and elevators and not wanting to get out of bed.
I have seen here [in London] a play on Faust, the most diabolic thing imaginable. The Mephistopheles is a masterpiece of caricature and intelligence. It is Goethe's 'Faust', but adapted; the principle features are preserved. They have made it into an opera mixed with comedy and with everything that is most sombre. The scene in the church is given with the priest's chanting and the organ in the distance. Impossible to carry an effect further, in the theater.
Eugène Delacroix
• In a letter (written in London, England) to J. B. Pierret, 18 June 1825; as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 67
• Source: Wikiquote: "Eugène Delacroix" (Quotes, 1815 - 1830)
Farce follow'd Comedy, and reach'd her prime, In ever-laughing Foote's fantastic time; Mad wag! who pardon'd none, nor spared the best, And turn'd some very serious things to jest. Nor church nor state escaped his public sneers, Arms nor the gown, priests, lawyers, volunteers; "Alas, poor Yorick!" now forever mute! Whoever loves a laugh must sigh for Foote. We smile, perforce, when histrionic scenes Ape the swoln dialogue of kings and queens, When "Chrononhotonthologos must die," And Arthur struts in mimic majesty.
• Lord Byron, Hints from Horace, line 329.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Acting" (Quotes, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 4-6.)
The Times Square Incident wasn't a terrorist attack, it was a Jim Carrey movie. The terrorist locked the keys to the safe house he was going to escape to in the carbomb. And I love that he locked the carbomb. "Nobody's getting my Ipod." Then he left the keys to carbomb hanging out of the tailgate of the carbomb, and built the carbomb out of fertilizer that wouldn't explode. I have been doing comedy for 25 years and I have NEVER been that funny.
I am quite content, in this Comedy of Appearances, to follow the old romancers' lead. "Such and such things were said and done by our great Manuel," they say to us, in effect: "such and such were the appearances, and do you make what you can of them."
I say that, too, with the addition that in real life, also, such is the fashion in which we are compelled to deal with all happenings and with all our fellows, whether they wear or lack the gaudy name of heroism.
Everyone is aware of the difficult and menacing situation in which human society -- shrunk into one community with a common fate — finds itself, but only a few act accordingly. Most people go on living their every-day life: half frightened, half indifferent, they behold the ghostly tragi-comedy which is being performed on the international stage before the eyes and ears of the world. But on that stage, on which the actors under the floodlights play their ordained parts, our fate of tomorrow, life or death of the nations, is being decided.
In November, America elected a black man president after two disastrous terms of George W. Bush. Race was transcended. People were so angry that they tossed aside centuries-old prejudices. [...] Last night, America witnessed a non-comedian hosting the Oscars after two calamitous stints by you, Jon Stewart: The George W. Bush of Comedy. Jon, you angered the world so much they were willing to completely redefine their concept of what an Oscars host should be. And like a phoenix from the ashes of the two massive turds you laid on that stage, rose Hugh Jackman.
Answer honestly... Disabuse me of my ignorance. Don’t let me get away with anything. Don’t try to play my game. Be real. Be passionate. Hold your ideas. Give me resistance. Give me traction I can work against. The friction between reality, or the truly held concerns of the person, and the farcical concerns that I have, or my need to seem important, as opposed to actually understanding what’s true... Where those two things meet is where the comedy happens. So be real. That's the best thing you can do. And call me on my bullshit.
With the possible exception of What's Up, Tiger Lily (1966), the schlocky Japanese spy movie to which he attached his own, sidesplitting English soundtrack, no Woody Allen movie has ever been more or less serious than another of his works. He's always been serious. It's the audiences who have been frivolous. In Zelig he reassures us that he can still be funny and moving without making the sort of insistent filmic references in which he delights but which can be infuriating to others. Zelig is a nearly perfect — and perfectly original — Woody Allen comedy.
And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more “drive”, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or “creativity”. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
America's first great surrealist artists were named Walt Disney, Max Fleischer, and Tex Avery. Their artistic medium was cartoon animation, though we must remember that cartoons of this era were seen not only by children but by a mixed audience, consisting mainly of adults. These men took — quite literally — the principles of surrealism and turned them into mass entertainment. As Fleischer's scantily clad Betty Boop ran through a phantasmagoric underground landscape to the driving beat of Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher," moviegoers of the Thirties saw surrealist dream-logic unfold more powerfully than in any experimental poem created in Greenwich Village. To this day the greatest moment of North American surrealism is probably Dumbo's drunken nightmare choreographed to the demonic oom-pah-pah of "Pink Elephants on Parade" from Walt Disney's 1941 movie. When the surrealist style was so quickly assimilated into mass-media comedy, what avant-garde poet could consider it sufficiently chic?
The only thing as bad as bad comedy is bad action. Bad Boys II has plenty of both. In fact, those two things are all it has, unless you count the small helping of bad drama. When it comes to this movie, the word "bad" initially seems highly appropriate. But Bad Boys II isn't just bad — it's a catastrophic violation of every aspect of cinema that I as a film critic hold dear. It seems to have been constructed with terms like "unwatchable" and "godawful" as its slogans. There are motion picture failures every year — the resumes of Hollywood players are littered with them. But, when something this big — a would-be blockbuster with recognizable names in the cast and crew — collapses in such a spectacular fashion, it's worth taking note. Think of how many starving children could have been fed with the money that was poured into [director] Michael Bay's latest sinkhole.
In Germany many readers, blandly ignoring the implicit criticism in the novel, tended to see in Hesse's cultural province nothing but a welcome Utopian escape from the harsh postwar realities. More discerning European critics have usually been so preoccupied with the fashionably grave implications that they have neither laughed at its humor nor smiled at its ironies. In part these one-sided readings are understandable, for the humor is often hidden in private jokes of the sort to which Hesse became increasingly partial in his later years. The games begin on the title-page, for the motto attributed to "Albertus Secundus" is actually fictitious. Hesse wrote the motto himself and had it translated into Latin by two former schoolmates, who are cited in Latin abbreviation as the editors: Franz Schall ("noise" or Clangor ) and Feinhals ("slender neck" or Collo fino ). The book is full of this "onomastic comedy" that appealed to Thomas Mann, also a master of the art.
Though Godot contains all the wit and whimsicality of Murphy (minus a great deal of the old pedantry), it has one new ingredient — humanity. The novel and the play both tell us that human suffering is comic and irrational (" absurd" in the fashionable jargon), but only Godot reads like the work of a man who has actually suffered. …Even if it added nothing to Murphy, Godot would still be remarkable by the mere fact of being a popular play on an unpopular theme. It popularity is a smack in the face for all those who say that to be a skillful playwright one must first be a "man of the theatre." As far as I know, Mr Beckett may never have been backstage in his life until Godot was first performed. Yet, this first play shows consummate stagecraft. Its author has achieved a theoretical impossibility — a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps audiences glued to their seats. What’s more, since the second act is a subtly different reprise of the first, he has written a play in which nothing happens, twice. . . . Godot makes fun even of despair. No further proof of Mr Beckett’s essential Irishness is needed. He outdoes MM Sartre and Camus in skepticism, just as Swift beat Voltaire at his own game. . . . About the only thing Godot shows consistent respect for is the music-hall low-comedy tradition.
About Samuel Beckett
Vivian Mercier, on Waiting for Godot, in "The Uneventful Event" in The Irish Times (18 February 1956), p. 6; also published in The Critical Response to Samuel Beckett (1998) by Cathleen Culotta Andonian. The phrase "Nothing happens, twice" is often quoted in reference to the play, sometimes as if it were a condemnation of it, when in truth Mercier was plainly impressed by the work.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Samuel Beckett" (Quotes about Beckett: Alphabetized by author )
My mother was naturally a rather sensual type of woman and there is not doubt that sexual repression had driven her as nearly as possible to the borders of insanity. My cousin Agnes had a house in Dorset Square. My mother took me to tea there one afternoon. A copy of Dr. Pascal was in the room. The word "Zola" caught my mother's eye and she made a verbal assault of hysterical fury upon her hostess. Both women shouted and screamed at each other simultaneously, amid floods of tears. Needless to say, my mother had never read a line of Zola — the name was simply a red rag to a cow. This inconsistency, by the way, seems universal. I have known a printer object to set up "We gave them hell and Tommy", while passing unquestioned all sorts of things to which exception could quite reasonably be taken by narrow-minden imbeciles. The censor habitually passes what I, who am no puritan, consider nauseating filth, while refusing to license Oedipus Rex, which we are compelled to assimilate at school. The country is flooded with the nasty pornography of women writers, while there is an outcry against epoch-making masterpieces of philosophy like Jurgen. The salacious musical comedy goes its libidinous way rejoicing, while Ibsen and Bernard Shaw are on the black list. The fact is, of course, that the puritan has been turned by sexual repression into a sexual pervert and degenerate, so that he is insane on the subject.
Wikiquote: Job: A Comedy of Justice
Virgil: Ok, Mr. Def Comedy Jam.
One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.
The best comedy is always heartless, an alternative to rational emotion.
I believe in the future a new Dante will write a new Divine Comedy.
I won't ever get on stage at a comedy club when people know about it.
I don't believe that lack of intelligence and appreciation for lowbrow comedy go hand-in-hand necessarily.
The secret of writing comedy is to know where it's all going, then get ahead of it.
Ron White See the individual pages of these performers for their quotes originating from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.
I hope I am pigeonholed with comedy. I’m really not interested in writing the darker stuff, the emotional stuff.
There is nothing more profoundly serious than real comedy, which is an affirmation of human communion, redemption and grace.
Comedy doesn't really have any meaning without sadness … The most meaningful comedy comes from some really serious pathos.
Comedy is like a sweet. On auspicious occasions and during celebrations sweets are always offered. We offer a unique flavour.
Poison Ivy: That's right: the goddess of the Harvest, (throws Nails an orange) and my associate, Thelia, muse of Comedy.
Nye developed his character 'Bill Nye the Science Guy' while living in Seattle and working on the comedy show 'Almost Live.'
About Bill Nye
• Paula Collucci (May 18, 2009), 'Science Guy' Visits Volcano work: The Chronicle, place: Centralia, Washington
• Source: Wikiquote: "Bill Nye" (About Nye)
I like to take chances, and that's the key to comedy -- dancing like an idiot but doing it with wild abandon.
If you thought it was impossible for a film to contain less effective comedy than Date Movie, here's evidence to the contrary.
Dames, a 1934 Warner Bros. musical comedy film directed by Ray Enright with dance numbers created by Busby Berkeley Damës may refer to:
Last night's fierce-eyed Don Giovanni, sung by Vytautas Juozapaitis, was a lean and hungry predator (...) Mozart's dark comedy has been realised with grandeur.
If the Author will it, there may be appended to any comedy an afterpiece. Meanwhile, so far as I may judge, the life of Manuel ends here.
Comedy should never be over-analysed. It's either funny or it isn't. There's a subtle difference between those who say funny things and those who say things funny.
The poet was beginning to perceive that history has no significance until it is seen as comedy—and tragedy. Imagination was beginning to assert its mastery of fact.
Sitcoms routinely portray women hitting men, almost never portray men hitting women. When he fails to leave, it is not called “Battered Man Syndrome”; it is called comedy.
The idea that some of the members of the smooth, bland variety of second generation of linguistic philosophers undergo ”perplexity”, let alone intellectual cramp, has an element of high comedy.
Nye, who earned a mechanical engineering degree from Cornell University, combined his love of science with his flair for comedy when he won a Steve Martin look-alike contest in Seattle.
About Bill Nye
• Pat Whitney (February 21, 2009), Nye: We must all save the Earth work: The Madison Courier, place: Madison, Indiana
• Source: Wikiquote: "Bill Nye" (About Nye)
It's fascinating to watch a show develop from a script to a 22-minute comedy. I try to learn as much, and ask as many questions, as I can without being annoying.
So I kept it to myself. Then some of my classmates started to come down to the comedy club, taking a girl out, and they started finding out I was a stand-up comedian.
But you have to recognize the fact that, critically, Jimmy is great at what he does, and I think he's doing some of the best comedy in late night. I'm a very big fan.
About Jimmy Kimmel
• Robert Morton, former executive producer for David Letterman on Late Show (CBS) and Late Night (NBC) — reported in Don Kaplan (September 12, 2006) "It's Good To Be Kimmel - Midnight Turns Into Jimmy's Prime Time", New York Post.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Jimmy Kimmel" (About)
Its part of a comedy cultural exchange tour: tonight, I am doing the UK and Jim Davidson is being buggered in Baghdad right now, systematically and without cessation, by United States Troops! Such fun.
A comedy is just a tragedy interrupted, I once said. Do you finish with the kiss or when she opens her eyes to tell him she loves him and sees blonde hairs on his collar?
I don’t think I’d have done comedy if I was born eighty years ago [...] I’d have been a lord. Shooting people that were on my land [...] With a wig, yeah. And some crisps.
Nye is a former Boeing engineer whose name (besides meaning 'new' in Danish) has become synonymous with wacky popular science ever since he became a cast member on KING/5's now defunct late-night comedy show, 'Almost Live.'
About Bill Nye
• Tom Paulson (April 5, 2005), That science guy is back, in 'Eyes of Nye' work: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, page: E1, place: Seattle, Washington
• Source: Wikiquote: "Bill Nye" (About Nye)
I watched a rerun on television of a 1960s comedy programme called "Mr Ed", which was about a talking horse. Judging by the quality of the jokes, I would guess that Mr Ed wrote his own material.
She [Comedy] it is who proposes the correcting of pretentiousness, of inflation, of dulness, and of the vestiges of rawness and grossness to be found among us. She is the ultimate civilizer, the polisher, a sweet cook.
We saw each other in the light of bitter comedy, and in the arts, where now one technical element reigned and then another, generation hated generation, and accomplished beauty was snatched away when it had most engaged our affections.
Before 1914 had well begun to make the world safe for hypocrisy, these stories had blended into one continuous and fairly long Comedy of Evasion, called then In the Flesh, but a little later rechristened The Cream of The Jest...
Henryson's greatness is most plainly to be seen in the range of general principles and ideas which informs his poetry and which allows it to encompass tragedy and comedy alike. He is the most Shakespearian of the early Scottish poets.
I'm not sure sophisticated comedy has a place on television any more … I'd like to think it still does … But I'm not sure the networks are interested, I'm not sure anybody else is interested in sophisticated comedy any more.
You say I look goofy? OK, great. You say it's comedy? Great. Whatever anyone thought, I didn't care. Could be goony, could be sexy, could be stupid, could be cool. I didn't know, but as long as it was something, you know?
The entire Bible, viewed as a "divine comedy," is contained within a U-shaped story of this sort, one in which man, as explained, loses the tree and water of life at the beginning of Genesis and gets them back at the end of Revelation.
If i were a little braver i would have asked her something like, "Do you think Kickass: the movie is a comedy in the traditional, classical sense?" and we could have that conversation and it would lead to other conversations during the flat and lonely times.
Life is funny. Life isn't categorized into comedy, drama, action, is it?So I don't know why they try to categorize everything. It drives me crazy-why it would have to be just a romantic comedy or... I want to have a little integrity, a little story, you know?
He eventually quit his day job as an engineer to focus on comedy writing and performing. The decision led to the creation of 'Bill Nye the Science Guy,' which won 28 Emmys in five years. He also won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing and producing.
About Bill Nye
• Pat Whitney (February 21, 2009), Nye: We must all save the Earth work: The Madison Courier, place: Madison, Indiana
• Source: Wikiquote: "Bill Nye" (About Nye)
Comedy is a game played to throw reflections upon social life, and it deals with human nature in the drawing-room of civilized men and women, where we have no dust of the struggling outer world, no mire, no violent crashes, to make the correctness of the representation convincing.
Next door, the TV's flashingblue frames on the wall.It's a comedy from the seventieswith a lead no one recalls.He vanished into oblivionit's easy to doand I cried a sea when you talked to methe day you said we were through.But it's all right, some enchanted nightI'll be with you
Postal is a politically incorrect movie, and also a politically incorrect game. I think if you have a game where you can use a cat as a silencer, you cannot make this as a serious movie. So it must be a funny movie. It should be an absurd comedy.
Ambitious, ingenious and visually breathtaking, Pleasantville is a rarity in contemporary filmmaking; a fully-realized vision that succeeds on multiple levels. Writer and director Gary Ross has crafted a wondrous experience that satisfies as a comedy, a fantasy, a drama and a parable. Movies don't get much better than this.
Fun with Dick and Jane - " a nitwit comedy on the order of For Pete's Sake, though its much worse made...Ted Kotcheff is the kind of director who thinks ugliness is funny. He really should be locked up for what he does to the performers...everything about it feels cheap."
My idea as far as comedy goes has always been to push the limits of what's acceptable for a woman to do or say or be. My hero in that would be Lenny Bruce, who teaches us that words have no meaning. It's the intent behind them that is what's important.
The full comedy of the situation was revealed in 1900, when, nearly a century after France and Germany had laid the foundations of a public system of secondary education, the Court of Appeal virtually decided that there was no Public Authority in England with legal power to establish and maintain secondary schools.
«There are many ways to practice and make art. There are also various ways to express, such as comedy, sculpture, music, painting etc. Dimensions can be immense even in such small spaces as the head of a pin».Famous phrase of Eugenio Cruz VargasSky From Library of Congress Name Authority File of U.S.A.
You have Mel Brooks and your Marx Brothers and your Larry David. So it's affected it enormously and really not at all. I don't think I've ever done anything comedically where the joke of it had to do with Judaism and Jewishness, but there's definitely a proud tradition of comedy in the Jews.
My oldest brother used to take me to the theater. The first play he took me to see was 'Black Comedy,' then he took me to see 'Butley.' We'd see all these British plays. And 'Hello, Dolly,' with Pearl Bailey. I was unconsciously thinking, 'Gee, I would love to be able to do that.'
In Greece burning glasses seem to have been manufactured at an early date. Aristophanes in the comedy of The Clouds... introduces a conversation about "fine transparent stone (glass) with which fires are kindled," and by which, standing in the sun, one can, "though at a distance, melt all the writing" traced on a surface of wax.
The theme he stresses in most of his work is that machines will someday be as human as Homo sapiens and perhaps superior to him. Mr. Lem has an almost Dickensian genius for vividly realizing the tragedy and comedy of future machines; the death of one of his androids or computers actually wrings sorrow from the reader.
Handle with Care - " high-spirited light comedy..The setting is a small Southwestern town where the people think they know each other; the story is about the collision of their free-floating ids...Handle with Care is a palmy, elegantly deadpan comedy..The format is almost as complicated as that of Nashville: about fifteen characters (plus their alter egos) interact."
Tragedy dramatizes human life as potentiality and fulfillment. Its virtual future, or Destiny, is therefore quite different from that created in comedy. Comic Destiny is Fortune—what the world will bring, and the man will take or miss, encounter or escape; tragic Destiny is what the man brings, and the world will demand of him. That is his Fate.
People see you one way and think, 'That's not her real thing, she's just putting that on now.' But that is! That's where my creativity really resides. Where it all springs. My characters are really bizarre. They're kind of dark and not really considered great people. It all comes from the same dark place, it's just filtered through comedy.
It always seems to someone outside the business that it is very difficult to write for a comedy show because it must be done quickly. Actually, it is much easier to write this humor than to do a joke or a show from scratch, because the audience knows the plot. Just mention what is going on and then deliver the punch line.
Gracefulness is not imposed from without but generated from within. Gracefulness is 'the immateriality which . . . passes into matter.' In this formulation, the soul, or what Bergson elsewhere calls the élan vital, the life force, shapes the matter that contains it. The soul is not immobilized by matter, as it is in comedy, but remains infinitely supple and perpetually in motion.
The difference between tragedy and comedy is the difference between experience and intuition. In the experience we strive against every condition of our animal life: against death, against the frustration of ambition, against the instability of human love. In the intuition we trust the arduous eccentricities we're born to, and see the oddness of a creature who has never got acclimatized to being created.
The Mozart Festival Opera's production of Don Giovanni made the three hours fly. The miming between Stefano de Peppo and Vytautas Juozapaitis as Don Giovanni was great physical comedy that had the audience laughing out loud. Juozapaitis possessed the voice, swagger and stage presence to match and dominate Leporello, and his costumes are among the best I've seen. I think Mozart would have approved.
It's the bane of existence for anyone in comedy. 'The photograph must be funny!' So the people coordinating the shoot throw rubber chickens at you, 20 at a time. Or put a feathered hat on you. Or give you a clown nose. Of course, all of this makes you depressed, so you wind up looking more like you're promoting A Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness. Comedy and tragedy step through life together, arm in arm, all along, out along, down along lea. A laugh is a great natural stimulator, a pushful entry into life; and once we can laugh, we can live. It is the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.
Ask yourself: "Do I police what people say for political propriety? … do I scrutinize great literature, music, art, television or comedy for signs of so-called sexism, racism, elitism, homophobia, antisemitism and meanness? Am I incapable of appreciating a superbly written script or book; a sublime painting or symphony; a smart stand-up routine, if only because the material and its creator violate the received laws of political correctness?"
The Goodbye Girl - " a tearful comedy directed by Herbert Ross from Neil Simon's script...Marsha Mason plays Paula McFadden, a thirtyish former chorus girl...Simon's idea of depth is a tug at your heartstrings. Marsha Mason's chin keeps quivering. Her face is either squinched up to cry or crinkled up to laugh; this may be the bravest, teariest, most crumpled-face performance since the days of Janet Gaynor. "
Recognition and hiddenness are also an essential element of modern drama. … I assume that everyone who merely hears the word “hiddenness” will easily be able to shake a dozen novels and comedies out of his sleeve. ... If someone playing the hiding game hides nonsense, we get a comedy, but if he is related to the idea, he may come close to being a tragic hero. p. 84
Smile - " a comedy set in Santa Rosa during the Jaycee-sponsored California final of the national Young American Miss pageant...When the girls are interviewed, or when they have to perform in public, they look dumb, but they're not. They stumble and blurt out idiocies because what they're saying isn't what they feel at all...In Smile Michael Ritchie really appears to like most of the people on the screen."
Up in Smoke - "which stars Cheech and Chong, is an exploitation slapstick comedy, like The Groove Tube; this piece of stoned-hippie foolishness is also crudely done but is more consistently funny...Up in Smoke gives us the sunny side of the drug culture..Giggly, happy insanity is always the goal..And Cheech and Chong are so gracefully dumb-assed that if you're in a relaxed mood you can't help laughing at them."
I have to be honest with you. Comedy is what I want to see at the movies these days. Life is frickin' hard, man. I want to go to the movies and see people happy and enjoying themselves and having some fun. I've made other kinds of movies, for sure. But it's pretty apparent to me that's what people want. That's what I want. I enjoy those kinds of movies.
There was as yet no gutter journalism to tell the world of the vileness of the conspicuous and successful; but the common man, a little out of conceit with himself, found much consolation in the art of comedy, which flourished exceedingly. The writers of comedy satisfied that almost universal craving for the depreciation of those whose apparent excellence offends our self-love. They threw dirt steadily and industriously at Pericles and his friends.
Next Stop, Greenwich Village - " Paul Mazursky's new, autobiographical the best portrait of Village life ever put on the screen; the casualness, the camaraderie, and the sexual freedom are balanced by glimpses of the lives of those who are in the Village because they don't fit in anywhere else...It isn't showy - Mazursky works on a small scale. Yet this satirist without bitterness and without extravagance looks to be a comic poet."
When the war kicks off in Iran, I will be there. People ask me "Whose side are you going to fight on?" To these people I say "Fight? I'm not going to fight! I'm going to entertain!" Because let's face it, when they see my comedy, they won't have the will to fight. When the American and Iranian troops see the comedy of Omid Djalili, they won't have the will to live! The Daily Mail.
Good evening, my name is Bill Hicks. I've been on the road now doing comedy 12 years, so, uh, bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plow through this shit one more time. … I'm kinda tired of traveling, kinda tired of doing comedy, kinda tired of staring out at your blank faces looking back at me, wanting me to fill your empty lives with humor you couldn't possibly think of yourselves.
In the absence of understanding, that was a good a reason as any for living together and making babies and raising them up and throwing them out of the house and then going through the long slow decline together until one of them died and left the other alone again, understanding as little as ever about what their spouses really wanted, who they really were. Was that tragedy? Or was that comedy? Was there really any difference?
No, the Golden Mean is not a sunny, untroubled nullity, but a deep awareness of possibilities, with one eye cocked toward Comedy and the other eye skewed toward Tragedy, and out of this feat of balanced observation emerges Humour, not as a foolish amusement or an escape from reality, but as a breadth of perception, and what Heracleitus called "an attunement of opposite tensions, like that of the bow and the lyre". A reconciliation of opposites, indeed.
"Also, I love my google ads. I have no idea if I make a dime off them, and in fact would pay to have them for what they add to the overall experience. Case in point: I just saw an ad for "Rodent Supplies." The obvious question now is, "How do I plug those damn google ad things into Photoshop so I can retire while the comic factory pumps out comedy gold three times a week?""
The Fury - " This inferno comedy is perched right on the edge..De Palma's got two killings in The Fury which go so far beyond anything in his last film Carrie, that that now seems like child's play...De Palma shatters any Pollyanna thoughts - any expectations that a person's goodness will protect him..The Fury doesn't have the beautiful simplicity of Carrie, and it doesn't involve us emotionally in such a basic way; it's a far more hallucinatory film."
There is something very arch and elusive about Narayan’s treatment of India and Indians. The key to the Malgudi cycle appears to me to lie in the complicated nature of Narayan’s conservatism. He is typically (and orthodox) Hindu in his celebration of the static. Yet Narayan is ready to admit extreme scepticism about the genuineness of Indian ‘Godmen’ and their disciples and to see comedy rather than tragedy as an appropriate fictional reflection of India’s long and frequently catastrophic history.
If you understand comedy, you understand life. Drama, death, tragedy – everybody has these. But with humour you've got all these, and the antidote. You have found the answer. It doesn't follow that because you are a good comedy writer, you're a happy fellow. I've got one of the most miserable faces in the world. I am only happy when I am working. If I'm not working, I get screwed up because my time is going, my life is slipping by.
I always felt with Hugh that there was a secret waiting to be let out. He thinks a great deal. He is not good at selling himself. Of course, he's terrific at comedy, playing the amiables and idiots, but those who know him well, and not that many do, know that as well as doubt and insecurity he has great inner strength, huge depth and thoughtfulness. -- Ben Elton(2002-06-13), A brighter life for Hugh Laurie, publisher: from the Evening Standard, retrieved: 2006-08-21
If my aunt had a male appendage, she'd be my uncle. Simmons on CNN, talking about all the "if" posits by the Clinton campaign regarding the rules (If we followed Republican primary rules, if Michigan and Florida were seated, if we looked at the national polls, if we looked at the big states)... So Simmons said "If my aunt had a male appendage, she'd be my uncle," he was saying "if things were different, they'd be different," featured on The Daily Show. 2008-05-08
Very shortly the temple was once again a wonder of the world, and the Ephesian Church settled down to a long reign marked only by the usual bitter quarrels, heresies, and internal dissent through which all major faiths struggle. Any religion begins in a moment of transforming truth. That moment quickly shatters into falsehood and shame and stagecraft, bitter comedy, sometimes murder. Thieves catch hold of any chance for power. The early years of a faith are best not too closely examined by its faithful.
Somebody Killed Her Husband - " Farrah Fawcett-Majors first movie as a star - a romantic suspense comedy ...Set in new York in winter, Somebody Killed Her Husband resembles the pictures Ginger Rogers did in the late thirties - the ones about ordinary, pleasant people falling in love and getting into farfetched scrapes - and it attempts the same sort of casual, wisecracking, everyday good doubt many people will find Farrah Fawcett-Majors' hair and teeth satisfyingly romantic. It's not an unpleasant movie, it's just awkwardly synthetic..."
You wished to be only a spectator, the gentleman in the balcony who wipes the glasses of his lorgnette in order to lose none of the comedy. Well, you could not do so. That role is not permitted a man. He must act, and he acts always, even when he thinks he is looking on, even when he washes his hands as Pontius Pilate, that dilettante, too, who uttered the words of your masters and of yourself. What is truth? Truth is that there is always and everywhere a duty to fulfil.
High Anxiety - " Mel Brooks grabs us by the lapels and screams into our faces, 'Laugh! It's funny!' The open secret of his comedy is that his material isn't necessarily funny - it's being grabbed by the lapels that makes us laugh. (It's being grabbed by the lapels that makes us stop laughing, too.)...High Anxiety is dedicated to Hitchcock as the master of suspense and it doesn't have a whisper of suspense. It doesn't operate on any level except that of bumbling slapstick farce, where most of the custard pies miss their targets."
If folly leads each man into a blindness where he is lost, the madman, on the contrary, reminds each man of his truth; in a comedy where each man deceives the other and dupes himself, the madman is comedy to the second degree: the deception of deception; he utters, in his simpleton's language which makes no show of reason, the words of reason that release, in the comic, the comedy: he speaks love to lovers, the truth of life to the young, the middling reality of things to the proud, to the insolent, and the liars.
It just seems like the most successful, iconic love stories are not so easy or escapist. I think the ones that stay with us and resonate are full of conflict, discord and misunderstandings 'cause that's what makes drama happen or tension even if it's a comedy. I think people who make movies and have invested a lot of money in them, get frightened that if they challenge an audience they are going to repel them. And I think the opposite, it's really true. It takes confidence and courage to know that and then commit to it.
I am sure that I would not make a good taxidermist; the temptation to improve upon nature would certainly be too strong for me. Think how easy it would be, when stuffing somebody's pet terrier, to slip a couple of human glass eyes into a sockets, instead of the usual buttons. Then the owner would really be justified in saying that his pet looked almost human. If I were stuffing this two-headed calf, for instance, I could not resist making one head smile and the other one frown, so that they looked like masks of Comedy and Tragedy.
It was as if all the world's wit were rolled into one portly fellow. … He spoke six languages, and a few others of his own comic invention. With gifts too wide-ranging to be contained in one art form, he wrote hit plays (Romanoff and Juliet) and books of nonfiction and short stories. … His spirit was essentially impish (as on a comedy album for which he provided all the voices and sound effects); his greatest role was Peter Ustinov, inexhaustible raconteur. The title of his 1977 autobiography summed up the world's opinion of this engaging, capacious talent: Dear Me.
It's a more ridiculing, divisive humor today, especially with the advent of political incorrectness, which is a license to be as ridiculing and awful about certain groups... There should be room for everybody, absolutely, and then the culture is going to decide the prevailing weight. We can't decide it individually. Nobody is here without a reason. … I always had a different sensibility. I like a huge range of comedy — from broad and farcical, the most sensitive, the most understated — but I always wanted my comedy to be more embracing of the species rather than debasing of it.
My job is jester -- not advocate. I’m on a situation comedy responding to [Josh Radnor’s character] Ted Mosby and his wacky adventures -- that’s my job right now. If people want to comment about where I go to dinner, they are welcome to, but it’s not my job to respond to those statements. The Internet stuff threw me for a loop because I didn’t understand where the vitriol was coming from. I thought I had been representing well, and in turn it seemed like I was quickly condemned to step to the plate, and I was fine with that.
I'm not going to worry any more. It isn't worth it. Look at 'Show Boat.' I worried myself sick over it. I knew the public wouldn't like it. But they do and it has broken all kind of records. Yes, I decided while I was in Europe this summer that I'd never worry again. I shall laugh blithely all through 'Theodora Goes Wild.' That's the picture I'm doing now for Columbia, you know. It's different from anything I've ever done before, and it's a comedy, and I'm going to laugh and be gay and never give a thought to worry.
Sour Grapes is a comedy about things that aren't funny. It reminded me of Crash, an erotic thriller about things no one finds erotic. The big difference is that David Cronenberg, who made Crash, knew that people were not turned on by auto accidents. Larry David, who wrote and directed Sour Grapes, apparently thinks people are amused by cancer, accidental castration, racial stereotypes and bitter family feuds... The more I think of it, the more Sour Grapes really does resemble Crash (except that Crash was not a bad film). Both movies are like watching automobile accidents. Only one was intended to be.
Is it (Sports Night) a comedy or a drama? That's generally not a question I try and answer for myself before I'm going to write something. The example I would use is, if you're driving in your car and you're listening to a rock 'n' roll station on the radio and a song comes on, and in the song you hear elements of jazz and folk and you hear strings in there … it's not necessary to answer the question, "Is this jazz, is this folk, or is this rock?" before you decide to listen to it and like it or not.
What hurts most about the apparent suicide of Robin Williams is that as much as he achieved, he died in his own mind unfulfilled. And to an extent, he was unfulfilled — he never found a form that would capture the genius of his stand-up act or his early appearances on The Tonight Show, when his mind worked faster than anyone alive and very possibly dead, when he seemed to be channeling a fleet of circling UFOs containing the galaxy’s best comedy writers. The man didn’t need to play a sitcom alien to seem as if he had his own extraterrestrial energy field.
I did all my real growing up in France, which I was almost not allowed to do at home. They liked my voice, they found me sexy, they didn't know anything about my childhood. In England, you’d come on to a bright cheerful song, do a bit of comedy, finish on a big ballad and wear a sparkly dress. That was about it. Suddenly I saw people like Aznavour and Piaf, songs coming from your heart, your soul, your guts, your sex, whatever, songs about everything, life and death, love and hate, wow! I realised you can use all of you when you perform.
We can laugh at comedies like this for two reasons: Because we feel superior to the characters, or because we pity or like them. I do not much like laughing down at people, which is why the comedies of Adam Sandler make me squirmy (most people, I know, laugh because they like him). In the case of Napoleon Dynamite, I certainly don't like him, but then the movie makes no attempt to make him likable. Truth is, it doesn't even try to be a comedy. It tells his story and we are supposed to laugh because we find humor the movie pretends it doesn't know about.
Sanskrit has many virtues that attract. Its grammar has been rigorously analyzed, but not in a doctrinaire way – there is room for intellectual debate. The classical Indian culture in which Sanskrit first flourished offers an immense variety of material, from romantic comedy and sensual poetry to epic, massive-word play, political science and philosophy. It embodies a contradiction, that a language whose literature is so lithe, should be indigenously analyzed as a sort of architectural structure. And I suppose I like the fact that it is so difficult (coming from English, certainly), yet so familiar in another way (coming at it from Latin, Greek and Russian).
The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man. ...Tragedy is the shattering of the forms and of our attachment to the forms... the two are the terms of a single mythological theme... the down-going and the up-coming (kathados and anodos), which together constitute the totality of the revelation that is life, and which the individual must know and love if he is to be purged (katharsis=purgatorio) of the contagion of sin (disobedience to the divine will) and death (identification with the mortal form).
You will before this I suppose, have heard of the dismission of those miscreant blockheads who formed the late infamous administration, some of whom it is to be hoped will yet hop headless. You'll see more in time. The national ship is now without either pilot or officers, there not being a minister in place. A mutiny among the crew is every moment expected. However I think you may begin to prepare yourself for a trip to the Netherlands. Peace! Peace! will be the undoubted blessing of the new government...We may now begin to hope for the representation of a New Comedy called, "The Blessings of the Constitution restored."
I suddenly realized that comedy, for me, was just being honest, and playing it for real. I've seen so many wonderful actors who turn into creatures from another planet when they're told they are supposed to be playing comedy. I... was not too happy to suddenly take on this public role thrust upon me. They just assumed I was the Joan of Arc of the women's movement. And I wasn't at all. It put a lot of unnecessary pressure on me. I'd never even been to Wrigley Field. I never even enjoyed baseball that much, but I loved being there, the crowd was lovely, and they all sang with me!
Mr. Cabell has a profound creed of comedy rooted in that romance which is his regular habit. … only gradually did his gaiety strengthen into irony. Although that irony was the progenitor of the comic spirit which now in his maturity dominates him, it has never shaken off the romantic elements which originally nourished it. Rather, romance and irony have grown up in his work side by side. … He allows John Charteris in Beyond Life — for the most part Mr. Cabell's mouthpiece — to set forth the doctrine that romance is the real demiurge, "the first and loveliest daughter of human vanity," whereby mankind is duped — and exalted.
[Most people] are neither extraordinarily silly, nor extraordinarily wicked, nor extraordinarily wise; their eyes are neither deep and liquid with sentiment, nor sparkling with suppressed witticisms; they have probably had no hairbreadth escapes or thrilling adventures; their brains are certainly not pregnant with genius, and their passions have not manifested themselves at all after the fashion of a volcano. … Depend upon it, you would gain unspeakably if you would learn with me to see some of the poetry and the pathos, the tragedy and the comedy, lying in the experience of a human soul that looks out through dull grey eyes, and that speaks in a voice of quite ordinary tones.
George Eliot
• "The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton" Ch. 5
• Source: Wikiquote: "George Eliot" (Quotes, Scenes of Clerical Life (1858): This volume contains three stories: "The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton", "Mr Gilfil's Love Story" and "Janet's Repentance". The full text is available from Project Gutenberg. )
There have been articles lately asking why the United States is so hated in some parts of the world. As this week's Exhibit A from Hollywood, I offer Zoolander, a comedy about a plot to assassinate the prime minister of Malaysia because of his opposition to child labor. You might want to read that sentence twice. The logic: Child labor is necessary to the economic health of the fashion industry, and so its opponents must be eliminated...if the Malaysians made a comedy about the assassination of the president of the United States because of his opposition to slavery, it would seem approximately as funny to us as Zoolander would seem to them.
I could see the room dividing as I spoke. I could hear the laughter of some and louder still silence of others. I realised that for some people this was regarded as an event with import. The magazine, the sponsors and some of those in attendance saw it as a kind of ceremony that warranted respect. In effect, it is a corporate ritual, an alliance between a media organisation, GQ, and a commercial entity, Hugo Boss. What dawned on me as the night went on is that even in apparently frivolous conditions the establishment asserts control, and won't tolerate having that assertion challenged, even flippantly, by that most beautifully adept tool: comedy.
Being British in this part of the century meant living in the country that had Peter Cook in it. There are wits and there are clowns in comedy, I suppose. Peter was a wit, it goes without saying, but he was funny in an almost supernatural way that has never been matched by anyone I've met or even heard about. It wasn't to do with facial expression or epigrammatic wit, or cattiness or rant or anger or technique: he had funniness in the same way that beautiful people have beauty or dancers have line and grace. He had an ability to make people gasp and gasp and gasp for breath like landed fish.
[When asked if he varies the animals in his comedy depending on where he performs] [No,] I tried it in Montreal and it died on its arse. But I like English things. I think English animals and forests are really cool. I like English gardens. I like the idea of the squirrel. I like moths, because they’re so tatty. They’re just so English. Crap butterflies. I like crap animals. Mammals that are tiny and you never see them because they’re rubbish. If you see a documentary about them you just turn it over. If it’s about frogs you think ‘aaah noooo’, but if it’s about hyenas you watch it. [...] British mammals, I'm bringing them back in.
“Humor is the great alternative to psychosis,” Gregory Bateson has remarked. It is clear that there was no comedy before the Fall, no one cracking jokes in Eden; there was no need. Holy books, Baudelaire points out, never laugh. The perfection they envision, should the Way be followed exquisitely and completely, robs humor of its necessity, its ground. In the earthly paradise, Baudelaire writes, “as no trouble afflicted him, man’s countenance was simple and smooth, and the laughter that now shakes the nations never distorted the features of his face.” Less perfect times are likely to produce a great many jokes, variously inflected; thus, the Twentieth Century staggers toward its close in a blizzard of one-liners.
I didn’t think anyone outside of LA would read Less Than Zero. I thought The Rules of Attraction would be a huge hit. I assumed people would react to American Psycho as a comedy. I thought I showcased some of my best writing in The Informers. And I was totally caught off-guard by the amount of good reviews and bad reviews Glamorama elicited. I’ve stopped guessing because I’m always wrong. And quite honestly: I don’t care. Writing the book is the main thing. Waiting for a reaction: a waste of time. But, obviously, I hope people respond to the book in a favorable way. I don’t want people to dislike it. But I don’t really mind if they do.
When you get in these people when you...get these people in, say: 'Look, the problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs thing, and the President just feels that' ah, without going into the details... don't, don't lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is sort of a comedy of errors, bizarre, without getting into it, 'the President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again.' And, ah because these people are plugging for, for keeps and that they should call the FBI in and say that we wish for the country, don't go any further into this case, period!
True, he had been living a lively interior life today: he had dreamed something, he had awoken with an erection, and while shaving he had been dogged by a feeling that today he needed to decide, though he could not see clearly what it was he needed to decide, besides which he was all too aware of his own inability to make any decisions. Despite that, the thought did cross Kingbitter's mind that he ought to do something about finding a theater to do the play, the comedy (or tragedy?) "Liquidation." He was now in the ninth year of considering that. Indeed, Kingbitter was now in the ninth year of considering whether he was handling the literary estate with due diligence.
The Big Anachronism isn’t a particularly a subtle instrument, but it’s a versatile one. Used over and over in rapid succession—as in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights — it works as a form of (low) comedy. Tossed in casually, at the edges of the main narrative, it rewards the older, better-informed, or more-attentive viewer. Set up artfully, it can draw that viewer’s attention to things that are uniformly funny on the surface and subtly thought-provoking beneath it. It can even work, quite successfully, in an awkward, clanking train wreck of a movie like Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).... Big Anachronisms exist to overcome uncertainty, and to eliminate any question of whether or not you’re supposed to notice.
It is great comedy to hear the secular, pro-gay left, so hostile to states’ rights in virtually every instance, suddenly discover the tyranny of centralized government. The newly minted protectors of local rule find themselves demanding: “Why should Washington dictate marriage standards for Massachusetts and California? Let the people of those states decide for themselves.” This is precisely the argument conservatives and libertarians have been making for decades! Why should Washington dictate education, abortion, environment, and labor rules to the states? The American people hold widely diverse views on virtually all political matters, and the Founders wanted the various state governments to most accurately reflect those views. This is the significance of the 10th Amendment, which the left in particular has abused for decades.
Yeah. The guy's up against massive challenges, dealing with consequences, and figuring how to get what he wants and what he believes is right. He's living his worst nightmare, and he's doing everything he can. He's a damn good lawyer and he knows the system, but he's having to pull jokers out of his sleeve and win certain things on sheer willpower and gamble and meddle, you know? So that's what dramas allow, more so than a comedy. It's real-life consequences. The blows, the punches really hurt. The bullets really land. The people really bleed. People really cry. People really enjoy victory. People really feel pain and defeat. You can love harder. You can cry harder. You can be more angry, harder. That's what dramas allow.
Torn between the ideal and the real, Cabellian man is forever thwarted in his quest for the ideal by the demands of the real. Cabell explores all the aspects of this human dilemma, perhaps reaching the conclusion that man can never achieve his ideals, simply because he must exist in the world of reality; and yet, for his self-preservation in that world he must, paradoxically, cling to these very ideals, unrealized, unrealizable. Even in the face of materialistic denial of spiritual value, man must believe in some kind of transcendent worth. Although the meaning of Cabellian comedy can be comprehended without the ability to recognize each learned allusion, the incidents of the novels are often based on classical, Russian, Hebrew, medieval, and even Aztec myths and legends.
• William L. Godshalk, in "James Branch Cabell at William and Mary: the Education of a Novelist," in The William and Mary Review, 5 (1967).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Idealism" (Quotes)
While clearly an impregnable masterpiece, Don Quixote suffers from one fairly serious flaw - that of outright unreadability. This reviewer should know, because he has just read it. The book bristles with beauties, charm, sublime comedy; it is also, for long stretches (approaching about 75 per cent of the whole), inhumanly dull.... Reading Don Quixote can be compared to an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies. When the experience is over, and the old boy checks out at last (on page 846 - the prose wedged tight, with no breaks for dialogue), you will shed tears all right: not tears of relief but tears of pride. You made it, despite all that Don Quixote could do.
Martin Amis
• Opening paragraph of his review of The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Tobias Smollett
• Source: Wikiquote: "Martin Amis" (Quotes, The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 (2001))
What an education follows! It is really a fine comedy, though the players rarely know it. I am but a clumsy performer myself, and have to confess to incurable defects of training, so that I sometimes wonder I have not been hissed off the stage; still I have seen the performance through more than once or twice, and know something about it. Such tender and delicate adjustments and readjustments of convictions to keep the party balance sure! Such abundance of spoonmeat on the one hand, and such careful economy on the other of truths that may prove too strong for weak digestions! Such avowals of readiness to consider seriously any opinion, however obviously absurd, broached by a possible supporter! Such prompt denunciations of all the devices of an irreconcilable opponent!
Dissembling was the specialty of Broadway musicals. The storylines were scrupulously heterosexual. What could I have heard in them that made me think they explained me? It was this: The innocent characters were so wonderfully compromised by the actors who played them; by the writers and musicians who created them. The scar tissue on voices. The makeup on faces. Youth! The wicked stage! The jaded legend refreshed the innocence of my youth. Musical comedy songs were more real than my life because they were articulate and because they had ligaments of narrative attached to them. For today’s young queers and lonelys, these songs must seem quaint and campy and not useful. But they were never campy for me—for us?—they only became camp in the attempt to share them without embarrassment.
"Maybe Nina wouldn't have died if I hadn't moved in with them and drawn Sheener after me, but I can't feel guilty about that. I tried hard to be a good foster daughter to them, and they were happy with me. What happened was that life dropped a big custard pie on us, and that's not my fault; you can never see the custard pies coming. It's not good slapstick if you see the pie coming." "Custard pie?" he asked, perplexed. "You see life as a slapstick comedy? Like the Three Stooges?" "Partly." "Life is just a joke then?" "No. Life is serious and a joke at the same time." "But how can that be?" "If you don't know," she said, "maybe I should be the one asking the questions here."
Some years back, after a childhood of preoccupation with comedy that led me to observing the styles of all the great comedians, I came to the conclusion that Groucho Marx was the best comedian this country ever produced. Now I am more convinced than ever that I was right. I can't think of a comedian who combined a totally original physical conception that was hilarious with a matchless verbal delivery. I believe there is a natural inborn greatness in Groucho that defies close analysis as it does with any genuine artist. He is simply unique in the same way that Picasso or Stravinsky are, and I believe his outrageous unsentimental disregard for order will be equally as funny a thousand years from now. In addition to all this, he makes me laugh.
Eratosthenes, eleven years younger than Archimedes, was a native of Cyrene. He was educated in Alexandria under Callimachus the poet, whom he succeeded as custodian of the Alexandrian Library. His many-sided activity may be inferred from his works. He wrote on Good and Evil, Measurement of the Earth, Comedy, Geography, Chronology, Constellations, and the Duplication of the Cube. He was also a philologian and a poet. He measured the obliquity of the ecliptic and invented a device for finding prime numbers. Of his geometrical writings we possess only a letter to Ptolemy Euergetes, giving a history of the duplication problem and also the description of a very ingenious mechanical contrivance of his own to solve i. In his old age he lost his eyesight, and on that account is said to have committed suicide by voluntary starvation.
Never, at any price, should we have put our money on France and against the peoples subjected to her yoke. On the contrary, we should have helped them to achieve their liberty and, if necessary, should have goaded them into doing so. There was nothing to stop us in 1940 from making a gesture of this sort in the Near East and in North Africa. In actual fact our diplomats instead set about the task of consolidating French power, not only in Syria, but in Tunis, in Algeria and Morocco as well. Our 'gentlemen' obviously preferred to maintain cordial relations with distinguished Frenchmen, rather than with a lot of hirsute revolutionaries, with a chorus of musical comedy officers, whose one idea was to cheat us, rather than with the Arabs, who would have been loyal partners for us.
Adolf Hitler
• 14 February 1945.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Adolf Hitler" (Quotes, The Testament of Adolf Hitler (1945): Genoud, François, ed. (1961). The Testament of Adolf Hitler: the Hitler-Bormann documents, February-April 1945. London: Cassell. Historian Ian Kershaw cautions "This English version contains a very loose and untrustworthy translation of the German text—itself not guaranteed to be identical with any long-lost original or the lost copy of that original—which was eventually published only in 1981... The available German text is, therefore, at best a construct; neither the original nor the copy of that original exists. [Eduard] Baumgarten tended, since the content was consonant with Hitler's thinking and expression, to accept the authenticity of the text. There is, however, no proof and, therefore, no reliable German text whose authenticity can be placed beyond question." (Hitler, 1936-45: Nemesis, 2001, p. 1025.))
And if I laugh at any mortal]] thing, 'Tis that I may not weep," suggests that the comic sense is parasitical upon the tragic. In order to avoid our tragic encounters with the transitoriness of passing fact, the fading of beauty, the destructive consequences of moral evil, alienation from the primary source of value, we make fun. The making of fun where no real occasion for fun exists is essentially what comedy is about. Tragedy and comedy are, indeed, but two masks worn by the same character alternately, depending on the exigencies of the moment; that is, depending upon which mask best represents him in such a way as successfully to reduce the unacceptable tensions of his ambience. Thus the obvious truth of Socrates' argument at the end of the Symposium. Both tragedy and comedy are but one-sided expressions of the ironic sensibility.
There is a misconception of tragedy with which I have been struck in review after review, and in many conversations with writers and readers alike. It is the idea that tragedy is of necessity allied to pessimism. Even the dictionary says nothing more about the word than that it means a story with a sad or unhappy ending. This impression is so firmly fixed that I almost hesitate to claim that in truth tragedy implies more optimism in its author than does comedy, and that its final result ought to be the reinforcement of the onlooker's brightest opinions of the human animal.
For, if it is true to say that in essence the tragic hero is intent upon claiming his whole due as a personality, and if this struggle must be total and without reservation, then it automatically demonstrates the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity.
When, at the age of eighteen, I was the manager of the Postal Telegraph office at 21 Taylor Street in San Francisco, I remember having been asked by the clerk there, a man named Clifford, who the hell I thought I was. And I remember replying very simply and earnestly somewhat as follows: If you have ever heard of George Bernard Shaw, if you have ever read his plays or prefaces, you will know what I mean when I tell you that I am that man by another name.
Who is he? I remember the clerk asking.
George Bernard Shaw, I replied, is the tonic of the Christian peoples of the world. He is health, wisdom, and comedy, and that's what I am too.
How do you figure? The clerk said.
Don't bother me, I said. I'm the night manager of this office and when I tell you something it's final.
Torn between the ideal and the real, Cabellian man is forever thwarted in his quest for the ideal by the demands of the real. Cabell explores all the aspects of this human dilemma, perhaps reaching the conclusion that man can never achieve his ideals, simply because he must exist in the world of reality; and yet, for his self-preservation in that world he must, paradoxically, cling to these very ideals, unrealized, unrealizable. Even in the face of materialistic denial of spiritual value, man must believe in some kind of transcendent worth. '''Although the meaning of Cabellian comedy can be comprehended without the ability to recognize each learned allusion, the incidents of the novels are often based on classical, Russian, Hebrew, medieval, and even Aztec myths and legends. The reader is quite obviously in the presence of a learned author, and many of Cabell's intellectual pursuits can be traced to his college years.
The set is a news desk, and the nice-looking man behind it seems... um, troubled. About his life, perhaps? About the news? A touch of indigestion? It's hard to tell, but it becomes clear—and quickly—that he is funny. And smart.
Jon Stewart presides over Comedy Central's The Daily Show, a blessed wedding of performer and format. Free of the burden of a full stand-up monologue, Stewart is able to put all his energy and wit into the news and guest spots. The word energy is almost too strong. Much of Stewart's humor seems to spring from an underlying terrain of world-weariness. [...] Repeat viewing of Stewart's shows reveals good things you missed the first time—smallish matters of voice shading, inflections and gestures begun but not completed. If you're a latecomer to his charms, you'll wish your alleged friends had demanded that you start watching a lot sooner. I'd like to see everything he has ever done.
I can't help thinking that the whole of the Vietnam War was the blackest comedy that ever was, because it showed the way you can't teach humanity anything. We'd all learnt in the rest of the world that you can't now go around and put out your hand and, across seas, exercise power; but the poor Americans had not learned that and they tried to do it. The remoteness of Americans from German attack had made them feel confident. They didn't really believe that anything could reach out and kill them. Americans are quite unconscious now that we look on them as just as much beaten as we are. They're quite unconscious of that. They have always talked of Vietnam as if by getting out they were surrendering the prospect of victory, as if they were being noble by renouncing the possibility of victory. But they couldn't have had a victory. They couldn't possibly have won.
The eighteenth-century polymath Thomas Young was the last person to have read all the books published in his lifetime. That means that he would've read all the Shakespeare and all the Greek and Roman classics and all the theology and all the philosophy and all the science. But the same man today, a man who had read all the books published today, would've had to've read all Dan Brown's novels, two volumes of Chris Moyles' autobiography, The World According to Clarkson by Jeremy Clarkson, The World according to Clarkson II by Jeremy Clarkson, The World according to Clarkson III by Jeremy Clarkson... his mind would be awash with bad metaphors and unsustainable, reactionary opinion; one long anecdote about the time that Comedy Dave put pound coins in the urinal. In short, the man who had read everything published today would be more stupid than a man who had read nothing. That's not a good state of affairs.
Cabell's Biography of Manuel had been structured as parallel examinations of three contrasting modes of life, the Way of the Artist, the Way of Chivalry, and the Way of Gallantry. Cabell's personal "picture" of gallantry is said to have derived from the phony chivalry of late 19th century Virginians, which he imbibed with his mother's milk, his family being respectably connected to the upper crust of Virginian aristocracy. … The models he cites, however, are the gallants of Restoration Comedy … Mark Twain, fascinated by the chivalric ideal, was quite taken with Cabell's writings on the subject. His encouragement directed to Cabell resulted in Domnei, published in 1911 as The Soul of Melicent. … in both The Silver Stallion and in his explications, Cabell conceptualizes the progressive vitiation of the Life as a matter of the blurring of the realities of person and place by the remove of time and the world's will to be deceived, and the work of the cosmic Romancer.
Look at the girl I did Urban Legends with, my last big hit, in '98. One of the girls in that, Alicia Witt — who was on the TV series, Cybill — she without a doubt did the best work on television last year when she guest-starred on the most difficult show to guest star on, which was The Sopranos. She played a non-Italian mafia type on The Sopranos — she was the best thing in the hour. To me, this girl is outstanding. This girl has movie star potential. Now, she was in Cecil B. Demented. I'm just amazed she's not a much bigger star already — not out of any disappointment in Alicia. But I just can't believe the town hasn't just sort of like scooped her up and made her as much of an "It Girl" as, for instance, Goldie Hawn's daughter or Gwyneth Paltrow, because I think this girl is really — and she's also genuinely funny in a wonderful, sexy, screwball comedy way.
... men get tired of everything, of heaven no less than of hell; and that all history is nothing but a record of the oscillations of the world between these two extremes. An epoch is but a swing of the pendulum; and each generation thinks the world is progressing because it is always moving. But when you are as old as I am; when you have a thousand times wearied of heaven, like myself and the Commander, and a thousand times wearied of hell, as you are wearied now, you will no longer imagine that every swing from heaven to hell is an emancipation, every swing from hell to heaven an evolution. Where you now see reform, progress, fulfilment of upward tendency, continual ascent by Man on the stepping stones of his dead selves to higher things, you will see nothing but an infinite comedy of illusion. You will discover the profound truth of the saying of my friend Koheleth, that there is nothing new under the sun. Vanitas vanitatum.
But there's this one thing I wanted to say... I'm so ashamed of myself... When Jack quoted something, it was usually classical... no, don't protect me now... I kept saying to Bobby, I've got to talk to somebody, I've got to see somebody, I want to say this one thing, it's been almost an obsession with me, all I keep thinking of is this line from a musical comedy, it's been an obsession with me... At night before we'd go to sleep... we had an old Victrola. Jack liked to play some records. His back hurt, the floor was so cold. I'd get out of bed at night and play it for him, when it was so cold getting out of bed... on a Victrola ten years old — and the song he loved most came at the very end of this record, the last side of Camelot, sad Camelot... "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot."...There'll never be another Camelot again...
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
• Source: Wikiquote: "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis" (Quotes, The "Camelot" interview (29 November 1963): One week after the assasination of her husband Mrs. Kennedy summoned Theodore H. White to Hyannisport for an interview. Some of the statements she made appeared in that week's edition of LIFE magazine (6 December 1963), and more of it appeared many years later in his memoir In Search of History: A Personal Adventure (1978). In 1969 White donated his notes of the interview to the Kennedy Library, to be made fully public only after Mrs. Kennedy's death. They were released on 26 May 1995.)
A strange thing happened to the American fantasy author James Branch Cabell in 1920. Cabell was a writer of novels, short stories and poetry who’d been published regularly for about twenty years to great critical acclaim (fans included Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis and H. L. Mencken) but no commercial success whatsoever. The previous year, his latest mediaeval fantasy novel, Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice, had been published to the usual glowing reviews and public indifference, and appeared destined for the same obscurity as the rest of his work. Then the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, under John S. Sumner, brought an action against the novel for obscenity. The case went to court, amid considerable publicity – one side dedicated to protecting outraged public morals, the other championing the author as a martyr to the philistines – and dragged on for two years, at the end of which Cabell and his publishers were fully vindicated. The result was inevitable: Jurgen became a huge bestseller, and for several years everything Cabell wrote was a commercial success.
I have spoken of the forceful sonnets of that tragic Portuguese, Antero de Quental, who died by his own hand. Feeling acutely for the plight of his country on the occasion of the British ultimatum in 1890, he wrote as follows: "An English statesman of the last century, who was also undoubtedly a perspicacious observer and a philosopher, Horace Walpole, said that for those who feel, life is a tragedy, and a comedy for those who think. Very well then, if we are destined to end tragically, we Portuguese, we who feel, we would rather prefer this terrible, but noble destiny to that which is reserved, and perhaps at no very remote future date, for England, the country that thinks and calculates, whose destiny it is to finish miserably and comically." …we twin-brothers of the Atlantic seaboard have always been distinguished by a certain pedantry of feeling, but there remains a basis of truth underlying this terrible idea — namely that some peoples, those who put thought above feeling, I should say reason above faith, die comically, while those die tragically who put faith above reason.
Saroyan's output from 1934 to 1940 established his reputation. What enthralled critics and readers was the brashness and certainty of his daring: Beginning with his first collection of linked short stories — written in 30 days, a story each day — and mailed off to Whit Burnett at Story Magazine. This was a new, fresh, exuberant kind of writing, intensely personal, prose poems which departed from customary narrative structures and sauntered elliptically with the awe of a young man fully realizing the most self-evident of truths: himself, alive upon the earth. … My recollection of those first Saroyan stories is typical: watching his language mesh the spiritual hunger and the actual physical hunger of the penniless main character was to be in the presence of a breathtaking act of creation.
Hope and possibility were mandatory components to the human comedy as Saroyan viewed it. Accepting madness as the only constant in the universe never precluded joy and laughter. Cynicism had no place in the way one approached each day. Whimsy, compassion, a ready smile and the gift of interior and exterior motion were to be the tools.
Then there was this extra on the set who runs up to me and says, "Oh, I know you! I know who you is, I seen you before. You that comedienne, Margaret Cho! I saw you at the Comedy Store. You was wearin' a kimono and you was bowin'." "No, that's the other one." "Oh, right! Now I remember. I just didn't recognize you because you've put on a little weight since your show." And it didn't piss me off that she said that, but it was that she said, "You put on a lot of *gestures* weight!" so I'll know exactly where I put it. And it pissed me off, so I just sort of talked about it to everybody for the whole day. The next day I come into work and the assistant producer comes over to me and says, "Uh, you know that lady from the other day? Well, don't worry. We took care of her." Oh my God! What did you do?! Suddenly I felt like I was running around like this tyrant, all drunk with power- "Nobody can call me fat on this set!"
I love almost all of Stanley Kubrick, there’s almost no Stanley Kubrick I don’t love. I love Lolita, I love Dr. Strangelove. I love A Clockwork Orange, obviously. I even like a lot of Barry Lyndon (laughs). And early stuff, like The Killing and Paths of Glory. … It’s ridiculous. Look, he made the best comedy ever, he may have made one of the best science fiction movies ever, he made the best horror movie ever. I couldn’t watch the end of The Shining. I went through half The Shining for years before I could finish, because I’m a writer and as soon as he starts writing “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” I had to turn it off. It’s almost like Picasso in that he mastered so many different genres. … he took his time and patience and he had a crew of like 18 people. They were very handmade movies these were not large behemoths that he did; they were very thoughtful and his editing process was long. He’s kind of without peer really. If I was gonna settle on a director, probably Kubrick.
Miss Austen was surely a great novelist. What she did, she did perfectly. Her work, as far as it goes, is faultless. She wrote of the times in which she lived, of the class of people with which she associated, and in the language which was usual to her as an educated lady. Of romance, -- what we generally mean when we speak of romance -- she had no tinge. Heroes and heroines with wonderful adventures there are none in her novels. Of great criminals and hidden crimes she tells us nothing. But she places us in a circle of gentlemen and ladies, and charms us while she tells us with an unconscious accuracy how men should act to women, and women act to men. It is not that her people are all good; -- and, certainly, they are not all wise. The faults of some are the anvils on which the virtues of others are hammered till they are bright as steel. In the comedy of folly I know no novelist who has beaten her. The letters of Mr. Collins, a clergyman in Pride and Prejudice, would move laughter in a low-church archbishop.
There can be no question of selecting in any direction, but of a penetrating the whole cosmic law of rhythms, forces and material that are the real world, from the ugliest to the most beautiful, everything that has character and expression, from the crudest and most brutal to the gentlest and most delicate; everything that speaks to us in its capacity as life. From this it follows that one must know all in order to be able to express all. It is the abolition of the aesthetic principle. We are not disillusioned because we have no illusions; we have never had any. What we have and what is our strength, is our joy in life; our interest in life, in all its amoral aspects. That is also the basis of our contemporary art. We do not even know the laws of aesthetics. That old idea of selection according to the beauty-principle Beautiful — Ugly, like to ethical Noble — Sinful, is dead for us, for whom the beautiful is also ugly and everything ugly is endowed with beauty. Behind the comedy and the tragedy we find only life's dramas uniting both; not in noble heroes and false villains, but people.
Asger Jorn
• Variant translations:
What we possess and what gives us strength is our joy in life, our interest in life in all its amoral facets. This is also the foundation for today's art. We do not even know the aesthetic laws.
We are not disillusioned because we have no illusions; we have never had any. What we have, and what constitutes our strength, is our joy in life, in all of its moral and amoral manifestations.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Asger Jorn" (Quotes, Intimate Banalities (1941): "Intime Banaliteter" in Helhesten 1 (1941), p. 75 - 79 )
One need not have been raised in Fresno to appreciate Saroyan, though I suppose it helps. Certainly he, better than anybody, captured the valley's strange texture: the mishmash landscape of farm, town and deserts; the jostling of so many different peoples, all a bit bewildered at finding themselves thrown together … Certainly Fresnans never forgave Saroyan for his harsher observations about the old hometown. The more political Armenians complained he wasted too many words on the human comedy, and not enough on the tragedy of a lost homeland. That he wrote so personally, and from the heart, gave literary critics their target: He was, they scolded, an undisciplined sentimentalist, mawkish. … For whatever reasons, Saroyan today is held under book-land quarantine. Few of his titles are in print. He's barely taught in schools. His own plans for literary legacy — a writers-in-residence program, posthumous publication of many works — have been scrapped or stalled. They did name a theater after him in Fresno, the one thing he expressly requested not be done.
Those who remain under the Saroyan spell can only hope that the world will come around. His work simply seems too extraordinary, and universal, to be cleared from the shelves...
The goat thing, I went out, I was drinking some beers with the writers - writers I couldn't stand, and they didn't like me either. They were all like Harvard, Yale, and [imperious voice] 'We've been studying comedy for seven years, and...we've never been on stage, but we know comedy! Bwahahaha!' So I said 'Listen, I know this is a little out there, but what about a guy...who has Tourette's of a goat?' And these guys just stare at me like 'Man, Breuer's HIGH out of his MIND!' I said 'The more he drinks, the more he starts eating the curtains, and he gets nuts and sings karaoke at the end of the night.' And then about two weeks later, this guy came back, he's like, 'Hey, I've got an idea for that weird goat thing you were talking about.' He said 'What if he only sings 80's?' And I thought that was the DUMBEST...thing I've ever heard in my life! And then, we tried it, and now I've got people drunk out of their minds in a bar trying to 'baa' at me. [drunken voice] 'Hey, man! Yo, yo man, it's the sheep dude right here! [drunken 'baa'ing] I shouldn'ta had that hot dog, man!' Just hammered, baaing at me in the street.
He was the first writer I fell in love with, boyishly in love. I was held by his unaffected voice, his sentimentality, his defiant individualism. I found myself in the stories he told... I learned from Saroyan that you do not have to live in some great city — in New York or Paris — in order to write... When I was a student at Stanford, a generation ago, the name of William Saroyan was never mentioned by any professor in the English Department. William Saroyan apparently was not considered a major American talent. Instead, we undergraduates set about the business of psychoanalyzing Hamlet and deconstructing Lolita. In my mind Saroyan belongs with John Steinbeck, a fellow small town Californian and of the same generation. He belongs with Thornton Wilder, with those writers whose aching love of America was formed by the Depression and the shadow of war. … Saroyan's prose is as plain as it is strong. He talks about the pleasure of drinking water from a hose on a summer afternoon in California's Central Valley, and he holds you with the pure line. My favorite is his novel The Human Comedy... In 1943, The Human Comedy became an MGM movie starring Mickey Rooney, but I always imagined Homer Macaulay as a darker, more soulful boy, someone who looked very much like a young William Saroyan...
He was the patriarch of our little clan of comedians in San Francisco. All of us looked at him, in a way, as a father figure. … He was just very supportive. He was very shy, and possibly a little embarrassed by his fame. Inside, he really was a comic. Naturally, all comics just wanna hang around other comics, so he would come to these little clubs and open mics, and you’d get bumped, and he would go on and you’d have to follow him, which was always really terrifying because he’s so great, and people were so excited to just be in his presence. … I feel like he was a conduit — that everything he was feeding off of his brilliance was really something he was just channeling. But maybe what allowed him to be so humble and what endeared people to him was that humility, and that he would just turn on that brilliance for you. It was the ultimate form of being present, to channel it. I think that he was very spiritual in a lot of ways. I think it’s so unique you can’t emulate it. If you look at the way comedy is, and look at its history, you don’t find anybody like him at all, except for maybe Jonathan Winters is the closest, and he also was a very dreamlike figure.
Leonard: Hello Leslie.
Leslie: Hi Leonard.
Leonard: I'd like to propose an experiment…
Leslie: Goggles, Leonard.
Leonard: Right. I would like to propose an experiment.
Leslie: Hang on. I'm trying to see how long it takes a 500-kilowatt oxygen iodine laser to heat up my Cup o' Noodles.
Leonard: I've done it. About two seconds, 2.6 for minestrone. Anyway, I was thinking more of a bio-social exploration with a neuro-chemical overlay.
Leslie: Wait, are you asking me out?
Leonard: I was going to characterize it as the modification of our colleague-slash-friendship paradigm with the addition of a date-like component, but we don't need to quibble over terminology.
Leslie: What sort of experiment?
Leonard: There's a generally accepted pattern in this area. I would pick you up. Take you to a restaurant. Then we would see a movie, probably a romantic comedy featuring the talents of Hugh Grant or Sandra Bullock.
Leslie: Interesting. And would you agree that the primary way we would evaluate either the success or failure of the date would be based on the biochemical reaction during the good night kiss?
Leonard: Heart rate, pheromones, et cetera. Yes.
Leslie: Why don't we just stipulate that the date goes well and move to the key variable?
Leonard: You mean kiss you now?
Leslie: Yes.
Leonard: Can you define the parameters of the kiss?
Leslie: Closed-mouth but romantic. Mint?
His name was William Saroyan. He was the first writer I fell in love with, boyishly in love. I was held by his unaffected voice, his sentimentality, his defiant individualism. I found myself in the stories he told... I learned from Saroyan that you do not have to live in some great city — in New York or Paris — in order to write... When I was a student at Stanford, a generation ago, the name of William Saroyan was never mentioned by any professor in the English Department. William Saroyan apparently was not considered a major American talent. Instead, we undergraduates set about the business of psychoanalyzing Hamlet and deconstructing Lolita. In my mind Saroyan belongs with John Steinbeck, a fellow small town Californian and of the same generation. He belongs with Thornton Wilder, with those writers whose aching love of America was formed by the Depression and the shadow of war. … Saroyan's prose is as plain as it is strong. He talks about the pleasure of drinking water from a hose on a summer afternoon in California's Central Valley, and he holds you with the pure line. My favorite is his novel The Human Comedy... In 1943, The Human Comedy became an MGM movie starring Mickey Rooney, but I always imagined Homer Macaulay as a darker, more soulful boy, someone who looked very much like a young William Saroyan...
In 1989, during the heat and height of the Satanic Verses controversy, I was silly enough to accept appearing on a program called Hypotheticals which posed imaginary scenarios by a well-versed (what if…?) barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC. I foolishly made light of certain provocative questions. When asked what I’d do if Salman Rushdie entered a restaurant in which I was eating, I said, “I would probably call up Ayatollah Khomeini”; and, rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author, I jokingly said I would have preferred that it'd be the “real thing”.
Criticize me for my bad taste, in hindsight, I agree. But these comments were part of a well-known British national trait; a touch of dry humor on my part. Just watch British comedy programs like "Have I Got News For You" or “Extras”, they are full of occasionally grotesque and sardonic jokes if you want them! … Certainly I regret giving those sorts of responses now. However, it must be noted that the final edit of the program was made to look extremely serious; hardly any laughs were left in and much common sense was savagely cut out. Most of the Muslim participants in the program wrote in and complained about the narrow and selective use of their comments, surreptitiously selected out of the 3-hour long recording of the debate. But the edit was not in our hands. Balanced arguments were cut out and the most sensational quotes, preserved.
Actually, my favorite treatment of bad reviews is James Branch Cabell who, in the back of the 18 volume beautiful, huge collection of all of his works the Biography of Manuel, did a final section detailing what the reviewers said for each of his books. The book reviews go like this. The first 5 or 6 books, the reviews he quotes say something like: "Beautiful illustrations by the artist; such a pity about the words." Then you get to the reviews of Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice and the reviews say: "This a terrible book. It has no redeeming features; it's simply awful; a major misstep." And then every single review for every book he wrote after Jurgen begins, "Well, this isn't Jurgen. Apparently the author has lost the facility with which he wrote that delightful book." So he did put this wonderful parade of the ridiculous things that the reviewers said over time. As I mentioned in the blog, the only final thing that you can say about the reviewers, is this. The same day that the Publisher's Weekly review came in which said, "The road trip plot was completely aimless, but I liked the stuff in Lakeside," the Summer Book Forum book review came in which said, "The roadside stuff is amazing -- the novel only loses focus when you get to the stuff in Lakeside." … If you actually pay any credence to it, it does make you crazy. So you just kind of smile and think, "Maybe someday I'll review all the reviewers someday." But you probably won't.
Though a terrifically engaging screen presence at his most gregarious and joke-focused, he had to chops to be just as mesmerizing when muted, which would only draw out tension for the moment when he could turn on the jets and shift to full bombast. I’m not sure I can think of another actor with Williams’ combined dominant traits: instantly recognizable for his warmth and energy, fiercely multitalented, flying between understated and exuberant emotional extremes in comedy and drama, and yet maligned whenever the unpredictable balance he struck in a given performance didn’t match the critical ideal. In that way his Academy Award for Good Will Hunting in 1997 is both the peak of his control and the most patronizing harness of his career. Here is your reward for taking the raging combustion, powerful as a radiant star, and tamping it down to understated levels while remaining perforated, so that emotional peaks still have a chance to flare out. It was an unhelpful and unjust expectation on an actor who did nothing but give of himself to his performance. … it’s too limiting right now to call Robin Williams simply a comedian, despite the tremendous outpouring from the comedy community that continues today. He was an actor, one of the most gifted and adventurous performers of his generation, and it’s a shame that it took something like his tragic death to take stock of the possibility that the outsized expectations of an audience could have prevented more people from simply enjoying the effort Williams made in so many films, no matter the critical adjudication.
Punk: Tonight, the Straight-edge Society becomes the first ever Straight-edge World Unified Tag Team Champions. I came out here for a reason, I came out with a purpose. I'm here to lead my crusade, [Crowd chants you suck] and I've brought my disciples, Luke Gallows and the beautiful Serena with me.
Triple H: Punk, I have been watching Smackdown. And I gotta say, while I'm relieved to know that your straight, this whole I don't drink thing, I don't think anybody really gives a crap, do you know what I mean? [Crowd cheers]
Punk: You're looking at three people who give a crap, and don't try to pretend you know anything about me, or you know anything about Straight-edge, or you know anything about my society at all.
Triple H: No, no, no, no, you're right. I don't know anything about it, I don't get it, Punk, that's the thing. I don't get it, I mean you don't drink, you don't do drugs, you don't smoke. Okay, neither do I. But then again, I don't look like I've been on a week long crack binge with Amy Winehouse! [Serena shakes her head, Punk looks pissed] I'm just saying, have a little pride, man. Pick yourself up, clean yourself off. Maybe take them clippers out of the bag, shave that squirrel off you got on your chin. [Punk grabs his beard and mouths off] Hey, do yourself a favor. Grab a shower, cause I don't know if it's you, Lobotomy Man, or Britney Spears right there, but one of you's got a bad case of swamp butt!
Punk: Alright, are you done? Is amateur comedy hour over? Because I came here to claim those tag titles!
My privilege is to be spectator of my life drama, to be fully conscious of the tragi-comedy of my own destiny, and, more than that, to be in the secret of the tragi-comic itself, that is to say, to be unable to take my illusions seriously, to see myself, so to speak, from the theater on the stage, or to be like a man looking from beyond the tomb into existence. I feel myself forced to feign a particular interest in my individual part, while all the time I am living in the confidence of the poet who is playing with all these agents which seem so important, and knows all that they are ignorant of. It is a strange position, and one which becomes painful as soon as grief obliges me to betake myself once more to my own little rôle, binding me closely to it, and warning me that I am going too far in imagining myself, because of my conversations with the poet, dispensed from taking up again my modest part of valet in the piece. Shakespeare must have experienced this feeling often, and Hamlet, I think, must express it somewhere. It is a Doppelgängerei, quite German in character, and which explains the disgust with reality and the repugnance to public life, so common among the thinkers of Germany. There is, as it were, a degradation a gnostic fall, in thus folding one's wings and going back again into the vulgar shell of one's own individuality. Without grief, which is the string of this venturesome kite, man would soar too quickly and too high, and the chosen souls would be lost for the race, like balloons which, save for gravitation, would never return from the empyrean.
Many Frenchmen see their society as drifting in uncertain waters without an anchor. They are concerned by increasingly powerless elected governments, distant bureaucrats who intervene in every aspect of people’s lives, and an economic system that promises much but delivers little. The advocates of Western decline claim that Europeans no longer believe in anything and are thus doomed to lose the fight against homegrown Islamists who passionately believe in the little they know of Islam. A note of comedy is injected into this tragedy by people like President Hollande who keep repeating that the terror attacks had “nothing to do with Islam.” Is Hollande an authority on what is and what is not Islam? Talking heads repeat ad nauseam that France is not at war against Islam. OK. However, part of Islam is certainly at war against France, and the rest of the civilized world, including a majority of Muslims across the globe. One’s enemy is not whom one wants him to be but whom he wants to be. The Charlie killers saw themselves as jihadis, and it is only in seeing them as such that one could start dealing with them in an effective way. In designating them as Islamists, one is not “at war against Islam.” Millions of French are expected to take part in marches across the country today to pay respect to the 17 people, including 10 journalists, who were killed in the attacks. There is going to be just one slogan: “We are all Charlie.” Do they believe it? The French would do well to remember that, once all is said and done, they still live in one of the few countries in the world where they can think and say what they like, a state of bliss a majority of Muslims across the globe could only dream of. And, the prophets of decline notwithstanding, that is something worth living and fighting for.
Cabell brought many new elements into the modern fantasy tradition, from his romantic poeticism to his ironic comedy; but perhaps the most impressive is the way his stories interact with one another. Each book stands quite comfortably alone, but the more Cabell you read, the more you understand. … Jurgen has a curious conversation with a young man named Horvendile, who speculates that maybe he himself is the author of all that is happening. Horvendile’s appearance here is only fleeting, but he recurs in a great many of Cabell’s books, unchanged whatever the period, and does seem to exert a great deal of control over events. In The Cream of the Jest, however, we discover that Horvendile is actually the dream-self of the twentieth-century author, Felix Kennaston of Lichfield, who writes tales of mediaeval Poictesme and who wanders time as Horvendile, controlling all the characters he’s created. So all these stories are really the creations of Kennaston – a figure not entirely unlike Cabell himself? Not quite. In the genealogical work that links all the characters together, Cabell makes it quite clear that Felix Kennaston is actually a descendant of both Jurgen and Manuel – whom he consequently couldn’t possibly have invented. All Cabell’s writings work like this, almost as if he were creating an intricate Chinese puzzle, and the wealth of connections between the books somewhat foreshadow later authors, such as Michael Moorcock, who also weave many separate books into a grand design. … The female characters in Cabell’s books are, almost without exception, either romantic beauties or nags – if not both at the same time – and they have no real substance in the stories beyond how they relate to the male characters. This can certainly be off-putting; but, if the reader can read the books as a product of their time and ignore these short-comings, there’s plenty of reward. With that caveat, I heartily recommend Jurgen, along with the other books mentioned here. Oh, and what of those obscenities that caused John S. Sumner a near apoplexy? Well, I don’t doubt you can find them, if you dig deep and approach Jurgen with plenty of humour and imagination, as well as being willing to look up various of Cabell’s obscure references. Just don’t expect Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
There have been times, however, when US officials have described what's going on in relatively frank terms; sometimes quite clearly. One put the matter in these words: "The Central American area down to and including the Isthmus of Panama constitutes a legitimate sphere of influence for the United States [...] We do control the destinies of Central America and we do so for the simple reason that the national interest absolutely dictates such a course [...] We must decide whether we shall tolerate the interference of any other power in Central American affairs, or insist upon our own dominant position [...] Until now, Central America has always understood that governments that we recognize and support stay in power, while those we do not recognize and support, fall [...] Nicaragua has become a test case, it is difficult to see how we can afford to be defeated." That's fairly familiar. These remarks were made by Under Secretary of State Robert Olds in 1927, and the outside power that he was concerned about was Mexico. [audience laughter] Mexico at that time was a Russian proxy. We were no longer fighting Huns in the Dominican Republic, now we were fighting Russians in Nicaragua, and in particular the Russian proxy Mexico. Mexico was then a proxy of the Bolsheviks, so the Marines had to be sent in, once again, and they established Somoza, and established the National Guard which was the basis for American power throughout the region, and in fact one of the most effective murder-incorporated forces down there for many years. They killed Sandino, he was killed off by stealth couple of years later, the guerilla leader. As President Coolidge sent the Marines in, he made the following declaration: "Mexico is on trial before the world." Mexico is on trial before the world as a proxy of the Soviet Union when we send the Marines into Nicaragua. Now things have changed a little bit, now it's Nicaragua that's threatening Mexico as a Russian proxy... But again there's the same conclusion, you know, kill the spics and the niggers and so on. That follows no matter who's the proxy for who. And all of this is repeated at every moment of history with great seriousness and awe and so on as if it had some meaning, as if it wasn't just some black comedy.
Behold, then, a new religion, a new society; upon this twofold foundation there must inevitably spring up a new poetry. Previously following therein the course pursued by the ancient polytheism and philosophy, the purely epic muse of the ancients had studied nature in only a single aspect, casting aside without pity almost everything in art which, in the world subjected to its imitation, had not relation to a certain type of beauty. A type which was magnificent at first, but, as always happens with everything systematic, became in later times false, trivial and conventional. Christianity leads poetry to the truth. Like it, the modern muse will see things in a higher and broader light. It will realize that everything in creation is not humanly beautiful, that the ugly exists beside the beautiful, the unshapely beside the graceful, the grotesque on the reverse of the sublime, evil with good, darkness with light. It will ask itself if the narrow and relative sense of the artist should prevail over the infinite, absolute sense of the Creator; if it is for man to correct God; if a mutilated nature will be the more beautiful for the mutilation; if art has the right to duplicate, so to speak, man, life, creation; if things will progress better when their muscles and their vigour have been taken from them; if, in short, to be incomplete is the best way to be harmonious. Then it is that, with its eyes fixed upon events that are both laughable and redoubtable, and under the influence of that spirit of Christian melancholy and philosophical criticism which we described a moment ago, poetry will take a great step, a decisive step, a step which, like the upheaval of an earthquake, will change the whole face of the intellectual world. It will set about doing as nature does, mingling in its creations — but without confounding them — darkness and light, the grotesque and the sublime; in other words, the body and the soul, the beast and the intellect; for the starting-point of religion is always the starting-point of poetry. All things are connected. Thus, then, we see a principle unknown to the ancients, a new type, introduced in poetry; and as an additional element in anything modifies the whole of the thing, a new form of the art is developed. This type is the grotesque; its new form is comedy.

End Comedy Quotes