The Timeless Wit And Wonder of Groucho Marx

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Posted: Sep 29, 2022

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Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx [1890 –1977), an American actor, comedian, writer and vaudeville performer, is generally considered to have been a master of quick wit and one of America’s greatest comedians. He made 13 feature films as a team with his siblings the Marx Brothers. (He was the third-born of the brothers.) He also had a successful solo career primarily on radio and television, most notably as the host of the game show You Bet Your Life.
His distinctive appearance, carried over from his days in vaudeville, included quirks such as an exaggerated stooped posture, spectacles, cigar, and a thick greasepaint mustache and eyebrows. These exaggerated features resulted in the creation of one of the most recognizable and ubiquitous novelty disguises, known as Groucho glasses: a one-piece mask consisting of horn-rimmed glasses, a large plastic nose, bushy eyebrows and mustache.


“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

“Be open minded, but not so open minded that your brains fall out.”

“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

“If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.”

“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

“[He] may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot. I implore you, send him back to his father and brothers, who are waiting for him with open arms in the penitentiary. I suggest that we give him ten years in Leavenworth, or eleven years in Twelveworth.”

“I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat animals who are.”

“There’s only two things you can start without a plan: a riot and a family. For everything else you need a plan.”

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun.'”

“If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong.”

“What have future generations ever done for us?”

“It is impossible to design anything that is foolproof because fools are so ingenious.”

“Middle age is when you go to bed at night and hope you feel better in the morning. Old age is when you go to bed at night and hope you wake up in the morning.”

“This isn’t a particularly novel observation, but the world is full of people who think they can manipulate the lives of others merely by getting a law passed.”

“Now there’s a man with an open mind – you can feel the breeze from here!”

“I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.”

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

“I intend to live forever or die trying.”

“Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.”

“Television is where you watch people in your living room that you would not want near your house.”

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana”

“I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.”

“Whatever it is, I’m against it.”

“Before you speak, make certain you have something worthwhile to say.”

“Well, Art is Art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.”

“I have nothing but respect for you — and not much of that.”

“I’d like to meet the person who invented sex and see what they’re working on now.”

“I’ve been looking for a girl like you – not you, but a girl like you.”

“I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”

“I cannot say that I don’t disagree with you.”

“Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

“My brother thinks he’s a chicken. We don’t talk him out of it because we need the eggs.”

“Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.”

“Here’s to our wives and girlfriends…may they never meet!”

“Budget: a way of going broke methodically.”

“Just give me a comfortable couch, a dog, a good book, and a woman. Then if you can get the dog to go somewhere and read the book, I might have a little fun.”

“Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you.”

“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”

“Before I speak, I have something important to say.”

“Money will not make you happy, and happy will not make you money.”

“In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.”

“Patience is the art of finding something else to do.”

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”

“I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.”

“Time wounds all heels.”

“If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me, because I’d like to hear it again.”

“I wish you’d keep my hands to yourself.”

“Marriage is the chief cause of divorce.”

“How would you like to feel the way she looks?”

“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.”

“A man’s only as old as the woman he feels.”

“How do you feel about women’s rights? I like either side of them.”

“All people are born alike – except Republicans and Democrats.”

“Growing old is something you do if you’re lucky.”

“Yes, darling, let me cover your face with kisses. On second thought, just let me cover your face”

“Women should be obscene, not heard.”

“I married your mother because I wanted children, imagine my disappointment when you came along.”

“Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.”

“I love to read. My education is self-inflicted.”

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of bandages and adhesive tape.”

“Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.”

“Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.”

“Die, my dear? Why that’s the last thing I’ll do!”

“I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.”

“I think you’ve got something there, but I’ll wait outside until you clean it up.”

“I remember the first time I had sex – I kept the receipt.”

“Oh, are you from Wales? Do you know a fella named ‘Jonah’? -He used to live in whales for a while.”

“Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.”

“From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.”

“I must confess, I was born at a very early age.”

“Oh, why can’t we break away from all this, just you and I, and lodge with my fleas in the hills? I mean flee to my lodge in the hills.”

“A heifer cow is better than none, but this is no time for puns.”

“I love my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.”

“I can see you in the kitchen bending over a hot stove, and I can’t see the stove.”

“The Alps are a simple folk, living on a diet of old shoes. And the Lord Alps those who alp themselves.”

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