Julius Henry Marx . A priori this name may be unknown to many, but things change if we mention the stage name by which it was known: Groucho Marx .
This well-known comedian (considered one of the best in history) and actor participated with his brothers in numerous films in a turbulent era, reflecting with an irreverent, crazy and ingenious humor different situations present in his time and making much of the world enjoy his performances.
Throughout his career he has left countless memorable phrases and reflections by Groucho Marx, some of which we will pick up on in this article.
Sixty great sentences by Groucho Marx
Here we leave you with a total of sixty of the most mythical and representative phrases of this comic .
Ladies and gentlemen, these are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others
One of the most iconic and well-known phrases of his character reflects the hypocrisy and fickleness of people’s beliefs and values, who change their minds and principles according to their greater or lesser benefit.
2. I must confess that I was born at a very young age
Groucho was a master at using language to be sarcastic and ironic. In this case the phrase can be interpreted as simple irony (everyone is young at the time of birth) or as being born prematurely.
3. It is better to be quiet and look silly than to talk and clear up doubts for good
Basically, the actor ironizes about human stupidity and how it expresses itself without anyone asking.
4. Don’t think badly of me, miss, my interest in you is purely sexual
The irreverent and stark nature of this comedian considering the time in which he appeared made Groucho a comedy myth.
5. If you are able to talk non-stop, you will eventually come up with something funny, bright and intelligent
For the comedian, talking continuously allows you to end up making a really amazing and intelligent speech. He also made fun of himself with this phrase.
6. When I die I will be cremated and ten percent of my ashes will be dumped on my employer
One of the elements that he most mocked and criticized during his works was the world of business and finance, especially the concern for the calculation of profits and investments.
7. Aren’t you Miss Smith, daughter of billionaire banker Smith? No? Excuse me, for a moment I thought I had fallen in love with you
Marx’s character used to want to give a fly, pairing up with a millionaire woman.
8. Outside the dog a book is probably man’s best friend, and inside the dog it is probably too dark to read
Culture and literature are very important elements that allow us to learn, grow, imagine and dream.
9. I find television quite educational. When someone turns it on at home, I go to another room and read a good book
He criticizes and mocks television and the little educational usefulness of the contents offered by it, despite the fact that he himself ran a television show.
10. Forgive me for not getting up
The phrase itself may not seem too special, but it is if we consider its context: the same comedian suggested in an interview that this could be his epitaph. In fact, urban legend has it that this was the case, but on his grave there is only his first and last name, year of birth and death and a star of David.
11. The bad thing about love is that many confuse it with gastritis and, when they have cured themselves of the indisposition, they find that they have married
This phrase touches on the theme of confusing infatuation with love, from a comical and ironic perspective. It also reflects in part the bad relationship he had with his first wife, whom he married a year after meeting her.
12. To laugh at nothing is foolish, to laugh at everything is foolish
A sense of humour is fundamental to being happy, but we must also know how to distinguish between what is funny and what is not.
13. It says that… the contracting party of the first party shall be deemed to be the contracting party of the first party
Appearing in “A Night at the Opera”, this phrase ridicules the excessive use of technicalities in the business world, especially in the drawing up of employment contracts.
14. Excuse me if I call you gentlemen, but I don’t know you very well
The comedian jokes that, if he knew them, he would not be able to consider them as such due to the presumed presence of defects that would make him lose respect for them.
15. My son, happiness is made of small things: a small yacht, a small mansion, a small fortune..
Great phrase that ironically says something about the value of money.
16. From the moment I picked up his book I fell to the floor rolling with laughter. Someday I hope to read it
A sardonic and provocative mockery, especially considering that he had friends who were dedicated to writing.
17. Quote me that I have been misquoted
The large number of phrases he made throughout his life and the expansion of these among the population led him to anticipate that many would be repeated and altered over time.
18. I would never belong to a club that admitted someone like me as a member
This sentence was issued in response to the offer of the “Friars Club of Beverly Hills” to become a member. Interestingly enough, he initially tried to join, but was rejected when he tried to do so under his real name. When he realized who he was, the club tried to invite him. The response was negative.
19. I don’t have time for lunch today. Bring me the bill directly
Acid criticism of exploitation and the high level of labour pressure at the time.
20. Marriage is the main cause of divorce
Without marriage there is no divorce, so the former must be the main reason for the latter.
21. There are many things in life more important than money. But they cost so much!
Although money is not the most important thing, it makes it easier to achieve what is.
22. Why should I care about posterity? What has posterity done for me?
This phrase can be interpreted as a criticism of the fact that we focus and concentrate too much on the future instead of living in the present.
23. Stop the world I’m getting off
This phrase would also be used by Mafalda (the character of the cartoonist Quino).
24. It took me so long to write the review that I never got to read the book
The actor also criticizes critics who criticize without going deeper into the criticized.
25. I drink to make other people interesting
It refers to the effect of alcohol on impaired judgment and behavioral disinhibition. However, he was not a big fan of drinking, which had serious effects on the health of two of his wives.
26. I have struggled from nothing to extreme poverty
This comment refers to the period of the Great Depression, when Groucho Marx lost almost all his money by investing in the stock market.
27. I never forget a face, but in your case I will be happy to make an exception
An ironic phrase to indicate someone who is not to our liking.
28. There is only one way to find out if a man is honest… to ask him. If he answers yes, he is a phony
With this phrase Groucho Marx expresses that there is no one who is totally honest: if he answers no and it is true he would be indicating that he is not, while in the case that he would say yes he would only be pretending to be so in order to benefit from it.
29. I think it’s a good idea not to spend your life trying to please others. If you don’t please yourself, you will end up pleasing no one. But if you do please yourself, you might please someone else
This reflection indicates that to do good for others we must first try to be good for ourselves. Focusing only on others and ignoring our needs will hurt us and make it difficult for us to help others.
30. He got his beauty from his father: he is a plastic surgeon
This comment again uses the break with what the subject would expect (that one would be talking about the genetic transmission of physical characteristics). It also satirizes the search for a beautiful appearance.
31. Everything I am I owe to my great-grandfather, old Cyrus Tecumseh Flywheel. He was a great man; if he were still alive, the whole world would talk about him… Why? Because if he were alive he would be 140 years old
Marx stood out for his use of language and also for his ability to think sideways, going out and breaking the thread of the spectator’s thought.
32. The secret of success is found in sincerity and honesty. If you can simulate that, you’ve got it made
Again Groucho indicates with a comical yet sarcastic comment that to succeed you only make others consider you good and true, without the need to really be so and it is enough to pretend.
33. Even when I’m joking, I’m telling the truth. And it’s no joke
A sense of humour does not have to be free: through his humour Groucho Marx denounced and made fun of real situations reflecting his opinions on them (albeit in a burlesque way).
34. Politics is the art of looking for problems, finding them, making a false diagnosis and then applying the wrong remedies
A phrase critical of the policies and measures taken by governments, especially in the times he lived through: the Great Depression, World Wars, persecution of potential communists and associates during the Cold War (Groucho himself having in fact been investigated).
35. The bad thing about making smart suggestions is that you run the risk of being assigned to carry them out
If someone suggests something, he usually believes it is because he is willing to do it himself. We must be careful about what we ask or propose to others if we are not willing to do it ourselves.
36. Age is not a particularly interesting issue. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough
We all get older and more mature, so we don’t have to make a big deal out of it.
37. If a black cat crosses your path, that means the animal is going somewhere
Groucho Marx mocks superstition and magical thinking with this phrase.
38. I like my mistakes. I don’t want to give up the delicious freedom to make mistakes
To err allows us to learn and find new ways of seeing life and acting, giving excitement to our lives.
39. My mother loved children. She would have given anything for me to be
The absurd and crazy humor was a mark of the house of comedies starring the Marx brothers, who began to act from very early ages (at first, forming a musical group). Their mother supported and helped to boost their artistic career.
40. If you feel useless and depressed, remember that one day you were the fastest spermatozoon of all
This phrase reminds us that however bad things may be, we are alive and can overcome any situation and ourselves.
41. I have become fond of psychoanalysis since I felt like getting married again
Sex and attraction is a recurring theme in Groucho Marx’s comedy. Psychoanalysis, with its Freudian focus on sexual drive, was something of interest to him. In addition, the comedian’s relationship with marriage was convulsive, with the comedian marrying and separating on up to three occasions.
42. Humor is possibly a word; I use it constantly and I am crazy about it. Someday I will find out what it means
You don’t need to know terms or study about a subject to learn how to use it. This is the case with humour, which should be spontaneous and is usually better if it is not overly reflective.
43. You see, giving a party and not inviting me… I almost didn’t come!
Sometimes humor may be unwelcome or inappropriate, but it needs to be present in our lives.
44. Only cheap is expensive
Although it may seem a contradiction, the cheap is often of poor quality and requires more outlay than would result from going straight for the “expensive”. The same goes for our performance in life: going the easy way leads to a quick but not completely satisfactory result. On the contrary, working and striving for things makes us value our objective much more.
45. I am not a vegetarian, but I eat animals that are
An original and ironic way of indicating that he was not a vegetarian.
46. Women who only stand out because of their physique don’t tell me anything… In fact, they don’t talk to me
With humour, Groucho Marx reminds us that the physique is not everything, it’s a person.
47. I enjoyed this play very much, especially at rest
The actor mastered the use of language and irony, producing phrases like this.
48. True love comes only once in a lifetime… and then there is no getting rid of it
This phrase is part of one of his films, specifically “The Hotel of Trouble”.
49. Why do you call it love if you mean sex?
The author mocks the confusion between passion and love, and the tendency of some people to say that they are looking for one when they intend to obtain only the other.
50. Laughter is a very serious thing
Although it may seem a contradiction, it actually reflects the importance of a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at oneself and the world when living in a positive and happy way.
51. The intellectual is a guy with an ulcer, dandruff and magnifying glasses
Not too veiled criticism of the prevailing stereotype of the intellectual in society, as well as of people who pretend to be intellectuals or those who do not know how to enjoy life.
52. He may look like an idiot and act like an idiot, but don’t be fooled, he really is an idiot
While we cannot be fooled by appearances, the observation of others can actually reflect reality.
53. The hardest thing about old age is finding someone willing to scratch your feet
Groucho took the fact of getting old with humour, despite the existence of great personal difficulties in his last years.
54. Honey, in which prison did you tell me they taught you how to make this soup?
Sometimes the actor’s sour, sarcastic sense of humor could play tricks on him, especially in conflicting interpersonal situations like those he would have with his wives.
55. The other day I met two lions and subjected them… I subjected them to a series of prayers and cries
Comical commentary that reflects that people tend to inflate and make themselves look good in spite of the fact that reality says otherwise.
56. Don’t look now, but there’s someone left in this room… and I think it’s you
This phrase is intended to make someone look unwelcome, interrupting something or not where they belong.
57. Behind every great man is a great woman. Behind her is his wife
It refers to the tendency of the American population at that time to have one or more lovers.
58. I will not allow injustice, nor foul play, but if anyone is caught practising corruption if I receive a commission, we will put him against the wall… And we will give the order to shoot!
Criticism of corruption and hypocrisy in the political sphere and in high society
59. At parties you never sit down; someone you don’t like can sit next to you
The comedian states that we must assume the risks and consequences of what we do.
60. I intend to live forever, or die trying
With humor, Groucho Marx reminded us that we are all going to die no matter what we do, but that we must try to make our lives worthwhile and immortal.