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Quotes

It is easy to distinguish between the joking that reflects good breeding and that which is coarse—the one, if aired at an apposite moment of mental relaxation, is becoming in the most serious of men, whereas the other is unworthy of any free person, if the content is indecent or the expression obscene.

—Cicero, c. 44 BC

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

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

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

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

—Henry Peacham, 1622

Comedy, like sodomy, is an unnatural act.

—Marty Feldman, 1969

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