Tom Lehrer, fully Thomas Andrew Lehrer

Lehrer, fully Thomas Andrew Lehrer

American Comedic Songwriter-Singer, Satirist, Pianist and Mathematician

Author Quotes

Brush your teeth with the best toothpaste,

I don't think this kind of thing has an impact on the unconverted, frankly. It's not even preaching to the converted; it's titillating the converted.... I'm fond of quoting Peter Cook, who talked about the satirical Berlin kabaretts of the 1930s, which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the Second World War.

If, after hearing my songs, just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps to strike a loved one, it will all have been worth the while.

Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks, and the rich folks hate the poor folks. All of my folks hate all of your folks, it's American as apple pie.

That's what happened to Lenny Bruce. He got angry, and then he wasn't funny any more. You have your choice there.

Yes, he loved his mother like no other, his daughter was his sister and his son was his brother. One thing on which you can depend is, he sure knew who a boy's best friend is.

[That it's sometimes indistinguishable from misanthropy is a risk the A.V. Club is willing to take.] People are stupider than anybody, ... They ban 'Huckleberry Finn' because it has the word 'nigger' in it. That's just silly. But what can you do? Except kill those people.

But don't panic. Base eight is just like base ten really - if you're missing two fingers.

I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.

I'm not tempted to write a song about George W.Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them. And that's not funny. ... OK, well, if I say that, I might get a shock laugh, but it's not really satire.

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics and the Catholics hate the Protestants, and the Hindus hate the Moslems, and everybody hates the Jews.

The Army has carried the American ... ideal to its logical conclusion. Not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and color, but also on ability.

You can make fun with Saddam Hussein jokes ... but you can't make fun of, say, the concentration camps. I think my target was not so much evil, but benign stupidity: People doing stupid things without realizing or, instead, thinking they were doing good.

A few years ago, a motion picture version appeared of Sophocles' immortal tragedy "Oedipus Rex". This picture played only in the so-called art theaters, and it was not a financial success. And I maintain that the reason it was not a financial success... you're way ahead of me... was that it did not have a title tune which the people could hum, and which would make them actually eager to attend this particular...flick. So, I've attempted to supply this, and here then is the prospective title song from "Oedipus Rex".

Com-plex! ...and... You may end up like Oedipus. I'd rather marry a duck-billed platypus! Than end up like poor Oedipus Rex!

I feel that if a person has problems communicating the very least he can do is to shut up.

I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another, and I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that!

Oh, the white folks hate the black folks, and the black folks hate the white folks; to hate all but the right folks is an old established rule.

The audience usually has to be with you, I'm afraid. I always regarded myself as not even preaching to the converted, I was titillating the converted.

You know, of all the songs I have ever sung, that is the one I've had the most requests not to.

Alas, irreverence has been subsumed by mere grossness, at least in the so-called mass media. What we have now--to quote myself at my most pretentious--is a nimiety of scurrility with a concomitant exiguity of taste. For example, the freedom (hooray!) to say almost anything you want on television about society's problems has been co-opted (alas!) by the freedom to talk instead about flatulence, orgasms, genitalia, masturbation, etc., etc., and to replace real comment with pop-culture references and so-called "adult" language. Irreverence is easy--what's hard is wit.

Counting in octal is just like counting in decimal, if you don't use your.

I feel that if any songs are gonna come out of World War III, we'd better start writing them now.

In all probability I'll lose my virility and you your fertility and desirability, And this liability of total sterility will lead to hostility and a sense of futility, So let's act with agility while we still have facility, for we'll soon reach senility and lose the ability.

On Christmas day you can't get sore, Your fellow man you must adore, There's time to cheat him all the more The other three hundred and sixty-four

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Lehrer, fully Thomas Andrew Lehrer
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American Comedic Songwriter-Singer, Satirist, Pianist and Mathematician