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November leaves

Bringing warmth and cheerfulness to November

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member—
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,—

That was the poet Thomas Hood’s view of November in 1844, and things don’t seem to have improved much in 168 years. So here to add some healthful ease is a cheering selection of witticisms from the fourth edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations.

Waiter delivering champagne to George Best’s hotel room:
Tell me, Mr Best, where did it all go wrong?
£20,000 in cash was scattered on the bed, which also contained Miss World

Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories—those that don’t work, those that break down, and those that get lost.
Russell Baker

on receiving an invitation for 9 a.m.:
Oh, are there two nine o’clocks in the day?
Tallulah Bankhead

No wonder Bob Geldof is such an expert on famine. He’s been feeding off ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ for years.
Russell Brand

I’m proud of George. He’s learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What’s worse, it was a male horse.
Laura Bush

That’s the fastest time ever run—but it’s not as fast as the world record.
David Coleman

I am so sorry. We have to stop there. I have just come to the end of my personality.
Closing down an interview
Quentin Crisp

To the Archbishop of Canterbury after the service of celebration at St Paul’s for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897:
I have no objection whatsoever to the notion of the Eternal Father, but every objection to the concept of an eternal mother.
Edward VII

If I were alive in Rubens‘s time, I’d be celebrated as a model. Kate Moss would be used as a paint brush.
Dawn French

A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.
Robert Frost

When asked by Michael Hordern for advice before playing Lear for the first time:
All I can tell you is, get a light Cordelia.
John Gielgud

Hitchcock was more careful about how the birds were treated than he was about me. I was just there to be pecked.
On the filming of The Birds
Tippi Hedren

To my deafness I’m accustomed,
To my dentures I’m resigned,
I can manage my bifocals,
But Oh, how I miss my mind.
Alec Douglas-Home, Lord Home

Honey bees are amazing creatures. I mean, think about it, do earwigs make chutney?
Eddie Izzard

It has nothing to do with frogs’ legs. No amphibian is harmed in the making of this dish.
Explaining toad-in-the-hole to an American audience
Nigella Lawson

Hillary Clinton said she hopes America is ready for a woman in the Oval Office. That was the great thing about her husband Bill: he was always ready for a woman in the Oval Office.
Jay Leno

Ever noticed that no matter what happens in one day, it exactly fits in the newspaper?
Jerry Seinfeld

I don’t mind how much my Ministers talk, so long as they do what I say.
Margaret Thatcher

Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we’d all have frozen to death.
Mark Twain

You will find as the children grow up that as a rule children are a bitter disappointment—their greatest object being to do precisely what their parents do not wish and have anxiously tried to prevent.
Queen Victoria

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
Mae West


The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations was edited by the late Ned Sherrin.

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