Steven Wright is an American writer, actor and film producer — but most importantly, he’s one of my favorite stand-up comedians ever. In 1989, Wright won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for writing and producing the short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings.
He also received two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations as a producer of the FX TV series Louie (2010–15). In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Wright as the 15th Greatest Comedian of All Time — a well-deserved accolade.
Wright is distinguishable from most stand-up comedians because he delivers clever (and consistently zany) one-liners. His minimalistic style and lethargic, deadpan delivery are in stark contrast to the schtick of more animated “storytellers” like Kevin Hart (another one of my all-time favorites). Wright’s delivery and comedic genius have distinctly set him apart from his stand-up cohorts. For this reason, I have elected to pay homage to some of his funniest quotes.
Steven Wright is well-known for pointing out realities — or making observations — that should be relatively obvious to the rest of us. In a way, these jokes remind me of Seinfeld before there was Seinfeld. However, unlike Jerry Seinfeld, Wright’s observations tend to be stoic one or two-liners rather than more in-depth routines. Here are a few.
1. “It doesn’t make a difference what temperature a room is — it’s always room temperature.”
2. “I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.”
3. “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”
4. “Sponges grow in the ocean. That just kills me. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn’t happen.”
5. “If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.”
Wright is also notorious for his brain teasers and philosophical musings, some of which he poses to the audience, and others that he cleverly answers himself. If he’s not making you laugh out loud, then he’s making you think — or he might confuse you on purpose. Check these out.
1. “If you are in a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?”
2. “Someone asked me if I were stranded on a desert island, what book would I bring? How to Build a Boat.”
3. “Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?”
4. “Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that black box stuff?”
5. “If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do all the rest have to drown, too?”
Within the first 60 seconds of listening to Steven Wright’s comedy (during which he’s likely told multiple jokes in rapid-fire fashion), you will realize quickly that his mind is, well, different — in both a demented and brilliant way. Often, his deranged utterances invite you into his warped mind with some form of paraprosdokian, non sequitur or anti-humor. Or by describing some nonsensical or ironic situation. Some of his drolleries are so off-the-wall that you can only describe it as straight-up bizarre. Here’s a sampling.
1. “I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time.’ So, I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.”
2. “I busted a mirror and got seven years’ bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.”
3. “If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.”
4. “When I was a little kid, we had a sandbox. It was a quicksand box. I was an only child… eventually.”
5. “Right now, I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time… I think I’ve forgotten this before.”
Well, there you have it: 15 classic Steven Wright quotes. Feel free to share these quotes with your friends (or leave additional quotes in the comments below).
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