Groucho Marx Quotes

Groucho Marx was another famous comedian that will be quoted for many years to come. His style and delivery was unique. Many of us have a disguise in our wardrobe attributed to him.

Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977) was an American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit. His rapid-fire delivery of innuendo-laden patter continues to earn him admirers long after his death.

He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of which he was the third-born. He also had a successful solo career, most notably as the host of the radio and television game shows You Bet Your Life and Tell it to Groucho.

His distinctive appearance, carried over from his days in vaudeville, included quirks such as glasses, cigars, and a thick greasepaint moustache and eyebrows.

Groucho Marx made 26 movies, 13 of them with his brothers Chico and Harpo. Marx developed a routine as a wise-cracking hustler with a distinctive chicken-walking lope, an exaggerated greasepaint mustache and eyebrows, and an ever-present cigar, improvising insults to stuffy dowagers (often played by Margaret Dumont) and anyone else who stood in his way. As the Marx Brothers, he and his brothers starred in a series of popular stage shows and movies.

For a time in vaudeville all the brothers performed using ethnic accents. Leonard, the oldest, developed the Italian accent he used as Chico Marx to convince some roving bullies that he was Italian, not Jewish. Julius Marx's character from "Fun In Hi Skule" was an ethnic German, so Julius played him with a German accent. However, after the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915, public anti-German sentiment was widespread, and Marx's German character was booed, so he quickly dropped the accent and developed the fast-talking wise-guy character he would be remembered for.

Marx worked as a radio comedian and show host. One of his earliest stints was in a short-lived series in 1932 Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, co-starring Chico. Most of the scripts and discs were thought to have been destroyed, but all but one of the scripts were found in 1988 in the Library of Congress.

In 1947, Marx was chosen to host a radio quiz program You Bet Your Life broadcast by ABC and then CBS, before moving over to NBC radio and television in 1950. Filmed before a live audience, the television show consisted of Marx interviewing the contestants and ad libbing jokes, before playing a brief quiz.

The show was responsible for the phrases "Say the secret woid [word] and divide $100" (that is, each contestant would get $50); and "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?" or "What color is the White House?" (asked when Marx felt sorry for a contestant who had not won anything). It ran for eleven years on television.

Groucho was the subject of an urban legend, about a supposed response to a contestant who had over a dozen children which supposedly brought down the house. In response to Marx asking in disbelief why she had so many children, the contestant replied "I love my husband," to which Marx responded, "I love my cigar, but I take it out once in a while." Groucho often asserted in interviews that this exchange never took place, but it remains one of the most often quoted "Groucho-isms" nonetheless.

Marx was asked to do the greasepaint mustache once more for You Bet Your Life, but refused, opting instead to grow a real one, which he wore for the rest of his life. We all have worn the “Groucho” disguise…..nose, glasses and the mustache.

Off-stage, Groucho was a voracious reader. He often pointed out that he had only a grammar school education, and he compensated for this by reading everything he got his hands on.

His knowledge of literature from all eras was extraordinary. Typical of his achievements, this one was discussed only demurely by Groucho himself: "I think TV is very educational," he once said. "Every time someone turns on a TV, I go in the other room and read."

His friend Dick Cavett, speaking of Groucho and referencing a certain philosopher's writing, said "I, with my college education, had merely heard of the book, but Groucho had actually read it." Cavett also remarked that Groucho could never end a letter; there was always at least one postscript. In one letter he recalls, Groucho wrote "P.S. Did you ever notice that Peter O'Toole has a double-phallic name?"

Despite this lack of formal education, he wrote many books, including his autobiography, Groucho and Me (1959) and Memoirs of a Mangy Lover (1963). He was personal friends with such literary figures as T. S. Eliot and Carl Sandburg.

Much of his personal correspondence with those and other figures is featured in the book The Groucho Letters (1967) with an introduction and commentary on the letters written by Groucho, who donated his letters to the Library of Congress. Although Irving Berlin quipped "If Marx had been Groucho instead of Karl, the world would be in less of a snarl", Groucho's political views were left-wing.

Marx was hospitalized for pneumonia on June 22, 1977, and died on August 19, 1977, at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was cremated and the ashes were interred in the Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Groucho had the longest lifespan of all the Marx Brothers and was survived only by younger brother Zeppo, who outlived him by two years, dying in 1979 at the age of 78. Groucho's death was somewhat overshadowed because it occurred three days after that of Elvis Presley.

In an interview, he jokingly suggested his epitaph read: "Excuse me, I can't stand up", but his mausoleum marker bears only his stage name, a Star of David, and the years of his birth and death.

“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”

“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”

“A clown is like aspirin, only he works twice as fast”

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

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

“A woman can smell mink through six inches of lead.”

“A woman is an occasional pleasure but a cigar is always a smoke.”

“Afraid? Me? A man who's licked his weight in wild caterpillars?”

“Africa is God's country, and He can have it.”

“Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.”

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

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

“And I want to thank you for all the enjoyment you've taken out of it.”

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

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

“Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.”

“Believe me, you have to get up early if you want to get out of bed.”

“Blood's not thicker than money”.

“Chicolini here may talk like an idiot and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

“Clear? Huh! Why a 4-year-old child could understand this report. Run out and find me a 4-year-old child. I can't make head or tail out of it.”

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

“Don’t ever underestimate the importance of money. I know it’s often been said that money won’t make you happy and this is undeniably true, but everything else being equal, it’s a lovely thing to have around the house.”

“Don't look now, but there's one too many in this room and I think it's you”

“ Don't point that beard at me, it might go off.”

“Do you suppose I could buy back my introduction to you?”

“Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.”

“Every time I get romantic with you, you want to talk business. I don't know, there's something about me that brings out the business in every woman.”

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

“Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.”

“Go, and never darken my towels again.”

“ Here's to our wives and girlfriends...may they never meet!”

“Hey, when I said work fast, I didn't mean your friend, I meant the maid.”

“Home is where you hang your head.”

“How much would you want to stand at the wrong end of a shooting gallery?”

“Humor is reason gone mad.”

“I chased a woman for almost two years only to discover her tastes were exactly like mine - we were both crazy about girls.”

“I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought I'd rather dance with the cows until you come home.”

“I did toy with the idea of doing a cook-book. The recipes were to be the routine ones: how to make dry toast, instant coffee, hearts of lettuce and brownies. But as an added attraction, at no extra charge, my idea was to put a fried egg on the cover. I think a lot of people who hate literature but love fried eggs would buy it if the price was right.”

“I didn't like the play, but then I saw it under adverse conditions - the curtain was up.”

“I don't have a photograph, but you can have my footprints. They're upstairs in my socks.”

“I eat like a vulture. Unfortunately the resemblance doesn't end there.”

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

“I have nothing but confidence in you, and very little of that.”

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

I like my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.

“I made a killing on Wall Street a few years ago...I shot my broker.”

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

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

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

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.”

“I oughta join a club and beat you over the head with it.”

“I read in the newspapers they are going to have 30 minutes of intellectual stuff on television every Monday from 7:30 to 8. to educate America. They couldn't educate America if they started at 6:30.”

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

“I was going to thrash them within an inch of their lives, but I didn't have a tape measure.”

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

“I was so long writing my review that I never got around to reading the book.”

“I wish to be cremated. One tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract.”

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

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

“If I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go.”

“If income tax is the price you have to pay to keep the government on its feet, alimony is the price we have to pay for sweeping a woman off hers.”

“I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining.”

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

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

“I'm not feeling very well - I need a doctor immediately. Ring the nearest golf course.”

“I've been looking for a girl like you - not you, but a girl like you.”

“I've got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.”

“I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it.”

“I've known and respected your husband for many years, and what's good enough for him is good enough for me.”

“If I held you any closer I would be on the other side of you.”

“If they'd lower the taxes and get rid of the smog and clean up the traffic mess, I really believe I'd settle here until the next earthquake.”

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

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

“In Hollywood, brides keep the bouquets and throw away the groom.”

“It isn't necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy.”

“Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor.”

“Love goes out the door when money comes innuendo.”

“Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.”

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

“ Marriage is the chief cause of divorce.”

“Marry me and I'll never look at another horse!”

“Maybe you can suggest something. As a matter of fact, you do suggest something. To me you suggest a baboon.”

“Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms. “

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

“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.”

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

“My boy, get in there and play like you did in the last game. I've got five dollars bet on the other team.”

“My favorite poem is the one that starts 'Thirty days hath September' because it actually tells you something.”

“My mother loved children -- she would have given anything if I had been one.”

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

“No man goes before his time - unless the boss leaves early.”

“No, no, I'd rather not. I have an agreement with the houseflies. The flies don't practice law and I don't walk on the ceiling.”

“No one is completely unhappy at the failure of his best friend.”

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

“Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.”

“One of the best hearing aids a man can have is an attentive wife.”

“One morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I don't know.”

“One woman and one man was good enough for your grandmother, but who wants to marry your grandmother? Nobody, not even your grandfather.”

“Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men, the other 999 follow women.”

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

“Paying alimony is like feeding hay to a dead horse.”

“Politics doesn't make strange bedfellows - marriage does.”

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

“Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book, and does.”

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

“Remember men, we're fighting for this woman's honor; which is probably more than she ever did.”

“Room service? Send up a larger room.”

“Say! You cover a lot of ground yourself. You'd better beat it. I hear they're gonna tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing.”

“She got her looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon.”

“She's afraid that if she leaves, she'll become the life of the party.”

“The first thing which I can record concerning myself is, that I was born. These are wonderful words. This life, to which neither time nor eternity can bring diminution - this everlasting living soul, began. My mind loses itself in these depths.”

“The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open.”

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

“The trouble with writing a book about yourself is that you can't fool around. If you write about someone else, you can stretch the truth from here to Finland. If you write about yourself the slightest deviation makes you realize instantly that there may be honor among thieves, but you are just a dirty liar.”

“There is no sweeter sound than the crumbling of your fellow man.”

“There's a man outside with a big black mustache. - Tell him I've got one.”

“There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him. If he says, "Yes," you know he is a crook.”

“This bear was six foot seven in his stocking feet and had shoes on.”

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

“Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like bananas.”

“Two thousand dollars for ice? I can get an Eskimo for two hundred dollars and make my own ice.”

“We took some pictures of the native girls, but they weren't developed, but we're going back again in a couple of weeks.”

“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.”

“We've got to speed things up in this hotel. Chef, if a guest orders a three-minute egg, give it to him in two minutes. If he orders a two-minute egg, give it to him in one minute. If he orders a one-minute egg, give him a chicken and let him work it out for himself.”

“Whatever it is, I'm against it.”

“When I invite a woman to dinner, I expect her to look at my face. That's the price she has to pay.”

“When I was young I was amazed at Plutarch's statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.”

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

“Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.”

“Why don't you bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out?”

“Why, I'd horse-whip you if I had a horse.”

“Why should I do anything for posterity? What has posterity ever done for me?”

“Why was I with her? She reminds me of you. In fact, she reminds me more of you than you do!”

“Wives are people who feel they don't dance enough.”

“Women should be obscene and not heard.”

“Years ago, I tried to top everybody, but I don't anymore, I realized it was killing conversation. When you're always trying for a topper you aren't really listening. It ruins communication.”

“You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff.”

“You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here. You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.”

“You're willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie.”

“You've got the brain of a four-year-old boy, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.”

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