Robert Benchley

(1889_1945 / Worcester, Massachusetts)

Robert Benchley Quotes

  • ''Mr. [John] Barrymore's smile was the smile of an actor who hates actors, and who knows that he is going to kill two or three before the play is over. I am not an actor-killer, but I like my Hamlets to dislike actors, if you know what I mean, and I think you don't.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. The New Yorker (October 17, 1936). Benchley at the Theater, "Big Names," Ipswich Press (1985).
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  • ''Anyone who tries to keep track of what is happening in China is going to end up by wearing all the skin of his left ear from twirling around on it.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Liberty Magazine (c. 1932). Benchley Lost and Found, "A Brief Course in World Politics," Dover Publications (1970).
  • ''People who begin sentences with "I may be old-fashioned but—" are usually not only old-fashioned but wrong. I never thought the time would come when I should catch myself leading off with that crack. But I feel it coming on right now.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Chips Off the Old Benchley, "Writers—Right or Wrong," Harper & Brothers (1949).
  • ''But compared with the task of selecting a piece of French pastry held by an impatient waiter a move in chess is like reaching for a salary check in its demand on the contemplative faculties.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Chips Off the Old Benchley, "Picking French Pastry; A Harder Game Than Chess," Harper & Brothers (1949).
  • ''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).
  • ''A man may take care of a furnace for twenty-five years and still forget to duck his head when he starts going down the cellar stairs.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Chips Off the Old Benchley, "Home Sweet Home," Harper & Brothers (1949).
  • ''You might think that after thousands of years of coming up too soon and getting frozen, the crocus family would have had a little sense knocked into it.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Chips Off the Old Benchley, "The Lure of the Rod," Harper & Brothers (1949).
  • ''Birds which are the same color as the foliage in which they nest are less likely to be disturbed by other birds who want to drop in and chat, and therefore last longer.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Chips Off the Old Benchley, "Future Man: Tree or Mammal?" Harper & Brothers (1949).
  • ''There is a note in the front of the volume saying that no public reading ... may be given without first getting the author's permission. It ought to be made much more difficult to do than that.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Love Conquers All, "Rip Van Winkle," Henry Holt (1922). The conclusion of an unfavorable book review.
  • ''The naturalistic literature of this country has reached such a state that no family of characters is considered true to life which does not include at least two hypochondriacs, one sadist, and one old man who spills food down the front of his vest.''
    Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. Love Conquers All, "Family Life in America," Henry Holt (1922).

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