Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

W. C. Fields, stage name for William Claude Dukenfield

American Comedic Actor, Juggler and Writer

"I never saw anything funny that wasn’t terrible. If it causes pain, it’s funny; if it doesn’t, it isn’t. I try to hide the pain with embarrassment, and the more I do that, the better they like it. But that does not mean they are unsympathetic. Oh no, they laugh often with tears in their eyes."

"[Charles Dickens was] the bravest man who ever lived. He fathered ten children before they became tax deductions."

"A comic should suffer as much over a single line as a man with a hernia would in picking up a heavy barbell."

"A dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream."

"A man who overindulges lives in a dream. He becomes conceited. He thinks the whole world revolves around him; and it usually does."

"A man without a woman is like a neck without a pain."

"A man’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another drink."

"A plumber’s idea of Cleopatra. [Mae West]"

"A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money."

"A thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for."

"A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her."

"Abstaining is favorable both to the head and the pocket."

"After two days in hospital I took a turn for the nurse."

"Ah yes, she's a fine figure of a woman, isn't she? A handsome lass if there ever was one--and exceptionally well-preserved too."

"Ah, the patter of little feet around the house. There’s nothing like having a midget for a butler."

"Airline hostess: Should I get you a bromo? WC: No. I couldn't stand the noise."

"All my available funds are completely tied up in ready cash."

"All the men in my family were bearded, and most of the women."

"All women are crazy, it’s only a question of degree."

"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."

"Any man who hates dogs and loves whiskey can't be all bad."

"Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill."

"Back in my rummy days, I would tremble and shake for hours upon arising. It was the only exercise I got."

"Buried my wife the other day. Had to, she died."

"Business is an establishment that gives you the legal, even though unethical, right to screw the naive--right, left, and in the middle."

"By god, I was born lonely!"

"California is the only state in the union where you can fall asleep under a rose bush in full bloom and freeze to death."

"Charlie McCarthy: "Say, Mr. Fields, I read in the paper where you consumed two quarts of liquor a day. What would your father think about that?" WC: "He'd think I was a sissy.""

"Children should neither be seen nor heard from - ever again."

"Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we'll be seeing six or seven."

"Comedy is a serious business. A serious business with only one purpose--to make people laugh."

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

"Customer: What have you in the way of steaks? WC: (I have) nothing in the way of steaks. I can get right to them."

"Dentists, lawyers, doctors are all a bunch of thieving bastards."

"Don’t say you can’t swear off drinking; it’s easy. I’ve done it a thousand times."

"Don’t worry about your heart, it will last you as long as you live."

"Drown in a cold vat of whiskey? Death, where is thy sting?"

"During one of my treks through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew. We were compelled to live on food and water for several days."

"Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer."

"Everything I do is either illegal, immoral, or fattening."

"Fell in love with a beautiful blonde once. Drove me to drink. And I never had the decency to thank her."

"Few things in life are more embarrassing than the necessity of having to inform an old friend that you have just got engaged to his fiancée."

"Fields' epitaph: All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

"Fields gave this rationale for not drinking water: Fish f*ck in it."

"Fields reloading! [Fields' retort from his dressing room after a director had shouted, "Camera reloading!"]"

"Girl: The only game I ever played was beanbag. WC: Beanbag? Ah, very good; it becomes very exciting at times. I saw the championship played in Paris. Many people were killed."

"Go away you silly pigeons and don't come back until you can shit green."

"Goddamn the whole fucking world and everyone in it except you, Carlotta!"

"Hangman: "Have you any last wish?" WC: "Yes, I'd like to see Paris before I die." (pause) "Philadelphia will do.""

"Happiness means quiet nerves."