Like his idols George Carlin and Woody Allen, comedian Steven Wright is considered the intellectual’s or thinking person’s comedian — he is one part philosopher, one part punster, and one part smart-ass. And like legendary stand-up comedian Henny Youngman, Wright is the king of the one-liners delivered in his trademarked deadpan style, sounding like a completely bored professor. Whether Wright’s one-liners — rich in irony, puns, paradoxes, and silliness — leave you smirking or bursting out in laughter, they always leave you pondering. Wright’s unique contribution to comedy when Comedy Central ranked him 23rd in their list of the “100 Greatest Stand Up Comics of All TIme.” (Who were the top five you ask? Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, and Chris Rock.) Bookshelf presents some of Steven Wright’s best one-liners, sure to tickle your brain or your funny bone — or both.
I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.
I’m writing an unauthorized autobiography.
I wish, when I was first born, the first thing I said was “Quote” so the last thing I said before I died would be “Unquote.”
Is “tired old cliche” one?
Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.
I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.
When I was in school the teachers told me practice makes perfect; then they told me nobody’s perfect so I stopped practicing.
What’s another word for thesaurus?
If a word in the dictionary were mispelled, how would we know?
If you can’t hear me, it’s because I’m in parentheses.
In school, every period ends with a bell. Every sentence ends with a period. Every crime ends with a sentence.
You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?
The other night I was lying in bed, looking up at the stars, and I wondered, ‘Where the hell is my roof?
Every so often, I like to go to the window, look up, and smile for a satellite picture.
I went to a restaurant that “serves breakfast at any time” so I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.
If a man says something in the woods and there are no women there, is he still wrong?
Yesterday I parked my car in a tow-away zone. When I came back the entire area was missing.
Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
It doesn’t matter what temperature the room is, it’s always room temperature.
If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?
On the other hand, you have different fingers.
I brought a mirror to Lovers’ Lane. I told everybody I’m Narcissus.
I lost a button hole today.
If it’s a penny for your thoughts and you put in your two cents worth, then someone, somewhere is making a penny.
Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don’t have film.
I spilled spot remover on my dog — now he’s gone.
I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.
If a person with multiple personalities threatens suicide, is that considered a hostage situation?
When I turned two I was really anxious, because I’d doubled my age in a year. I thought, if this keeps up, by the time I’m six I’ll be ninety.
I stayed up all night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.
I was in the grocery store. I saw a sign that said “pet supplies.” So I did. Then I went outside and saw a sign that said “compact cars”…
I went to a general store. They wouldn’t let me buy anything specifically.
There is a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.
When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Sponges grow in the ocean… I wonder how much deeper they’d be if that didn’t happen.
Did you sleep well? No, I made a couple of mistakes.
I xeroxed my watch. Now I have time to spare.
I went to a fancy french restaurant called Deja Vu. The headwaiter said, “Don’t I know you?”
For further reading: listology.com/list/comedy-central-100-greatest-standups-all-time