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Quotes

Some things are privileged from jest—namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, all men’s present business of importance, and any case that deserves pity.

—Francis Bacon, 1597

A difference of taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.

—George Eliot, 1876

Jests and scoffs do lessen majesty and greatness and should be far from great personages and men of wisdom.

—Henry Peacham, 1622

A jest breaks no bones.

—Samuel Johnson, 1781

There is nothing sillier than a silly laugh.

—Catullus, c. 60 BC

No man ever distinguished himself who could not bear to be laughed at.

—Maria Edgeworth, 1809

I used to think that everyone was just being funny. But now I don’t know. I mean, how can you tell?

—Andy Warhol, 1970

I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?”

—Book of Ecclesiastes, 225 BC

He who laugheth too much, hath the nature of a fool; he that laugheth not at all, hath the nature of an old cat.

—Thomas Fuller, 1732

Wit enables us to act rudely with impunity.

—La Rochefoucauld, 1678

Jokes are grievances.

—Marshall McLuhan, 1969

A joke is at most a temporary rebellion against virtue, and its aim is not to degrade the human being but to remind him that he is already degraded.

—George Orwell, 1945

Laughter always arises from a gaiety of disposition, absolutely incompatible with contempt and indignation.

—Voltaire, 1736