Funny Quotes From Famous People

Fame and wit make a deadly combination

Oscar Wilde relaxing on the divan during his lecture trip through America.
Oscar Wilde is famous for his witty works.

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It is amazing how some people know when and how to be funny. Their mannerisms, their words, and their acts make them funny whenever they choose to be. Perhaps it is their sparkling wit, casual demeanor, or caustic remarks that made them famous and funny. More likely, it's the subjects they chose to comment upon.

If you can find something meaningful to say about basic human emotions and foibles—vanity, self-importance, love, attraction, commercialism, and even lust—in a biting but funny way, your words are likely to stir emotions in your listeners or readers and be remembered long after you speak or write them.

So it is with the quotes from the famous people on this list. The quotes represented below are an eclectic mix of (mainly) comedians, authors, playwrights, and even a well-known existential philosopher. Some of these quotes you'll recognize—they are famous sayings that originated or at least were brought to public attention, by the people who spoke the words quoted in this article.

The quotes cover a range from self-depreciation to love and attraction and everything in between. They are listed in various sections to make it easier for you to find just the quote you want, whether it be to use at a party with your friends, in a speech or paper, or for some other purpose. If you enjoy funny quotes from famous people, this list should fit the bill.


One of the marks of a great comedian, entertaining playwright, or even an accomplished author is the ability to make fun of oneself. By pointing out their own foibles, these individuals shine a light on society, particularly on pomposity, inflated self-importance, or sheer vanity. In an era of deep political and social divisions, it can be enlightening to take a step back and view the silliness of over-importance, as these quotes convey.

Oscar Wilde

"I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying."

Mel Brooks

"I have always been a huge admirer of my own work. I'm one of the funniest and most entertaining writers I know."


The late comedian Don Rickles was known as the master of insults. Indeed, he spent his entire career perfecting the art of making fun of people—and getting them to laugh about it. But others have also been effective in mastering and using the art of the insult, as demonstrated in these sayings from famous people, one of whom managed to insult an entire city in under 15 words.

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

W. C. Fields

"I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday."

George Bernard Shaw

"He who can does—he who cannot, teaches."

Love and Attraction

A famous book and 1949 movie proclaimed that "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," meaning that the emotion is full of magnificent features and marvels. Though love is universal, many disagree that about its meaning. Writers and philosophers have offered opinions on love, commenting that often the emotion is mistaken for simple, but fleeting, attraction. Even the 19th century German existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche chimed in on the subject with a quote that might just as well have appeared in the "insults" section above. 

No one familiar with his work would think of Nietzsche as a funny person. Indeed, Nietzsche is often described as an existential nihilist, a person who believes there is no morality and that life has no objective meaning or purpose. Yet Nietzsche's quote in this section shows that he did seem to see meaning in the world, and in human emotions. He simply had an acerbic way of commenting on them.

Friedrich Nietzsche

"A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love."

Jay Leno

[Putting his arms around British personality and food journalist Nigella Lawson] "My wife is going to kill me. But you look like my wife, so that's OK!"

Jerry Seinfeld

"Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not color, but to accept God's final word on where your lips end."

George Bernard Shaw

"Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire."