Quotations From ROBERT BENCHLEY


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  • Next to a shot of some good, habit-forming narcotic, there is nothing like travelling alone as a "builder-upper."
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Chips Off the Old Benchley, "He Travels Fastest—," Harper & Brothers (1949).

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  • I once heard of a murderer who propped his two victims up against a chess board in sporting attitudes and was able to get as far as Seattle before his crime was discovered.
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Love Conquers All, "How to Watch a Chess-Match," Henry Holt (1922).
  • The English language may hold a more disagreeable combination of words than "The doctor will see you now." I am willing to concede something to the phrase "Have you anything to say before the current is turned on?"
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Love Conquers All, "The Tooth and the Whole Tooth," Henry Holt (1922).
  • "The worst reporter, even for his age, in New York," was the affectionate epithet applied to me.
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew, "My Untold Story," Harper & Brothers (1936).
  • Next to an old-fashioned church social, or possibly a monster bridge party, there is no buzz which can equal the sibilant buzz of a matinée.
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. No Poems or Around the World Backwards and Sideways, "Matinées—Wednesdays and Saturdays," Harper & Brothers (1932).
  • A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. humorous writer. Quoted in Artemus Ward, His Book, introduction (1964 edition).

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  • Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing.
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. humor writer. Quoted in The Algonquin Wits, ed. Robert E. Drennan (1968). Benchley's own method is also quoted in the book: "I do most of my work sitting down. That's where I shine."

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  • In a house where there are small children the bathroom soon takes on the appearance of the Old Curiosity Shop.
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. The Treasurer's Report and Other Aspects of Community Singing, "The Bathroom Revolution," Grosset & Dunlap (1930).

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  • There seems to be no lengths to which humorless people will not go to analyze humor. It seems to worry them.
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. After 1903What? "What Does It Mean?" Harper & Brothers (1938).

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  • The windows were then closed and the steam turned on. There was a sign up saying that no one could smoke, but you couldn't help it. You were lucky if you didn't burst into flames.
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or David Copperfield, "On the Air," Henry Holt (1928).
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