descriptors / humor / writers resources / writing

Funny One Liners I’ve Read in Books

I’m on a constant search for humor to spice up my writing, add that spark that makes it human. I’ve written two posts on books I bought hoping to nurture whatever latent funny bone I might have:

I also keep a list of what I found funny and original in other people’s writing, thinking they might inspire my writing. It rarely works, but they still bring a smile to my face when I read through them. I wish there was a class I could take in how to write humor. I love reading it. I’m sure if I could seamlessly add it to my story, my potential readers would see my genius.

Here’s a list, some are from books I’ve read, some are my own home-grown lines. Are you chuckling? Can you tell which is which? Or have they lost their humor out of context?

  • They’re going to look for you until Harvard wins the Super Bowl
  • Thing about the law is one size fits all
  • So many big words. Such a small dictionary
  • Could turn more heads than a chiropractor
  • Like arguing with a forest fire
  • Wit as dry as the best martini
  • If the boy were any dumber he’d have to be watered twice a week
  • It sort of fell on me and like mold, grew over the top
  • Who do you like (between two)? Answer: I’m pulling for a meteor strike.
  • I don’t have a breaking point

  • Keep your hands on the table top. Don’t even let your hair grow.
  • Never lose money underestimating your intelligence.
  • Is DC Douglas a moron? Is Too Tall Jones, too tall?
  • Fluent in scribble
  • Given last night I’m insufficiently hung over
  • Put your big boy pants on and stop squealing
  • Tell the truth; it’s easier to remember
  • Pyramids are better at changing than you
  • “in another life, you would have made a good criminal.”
  • “As you would have made a good policemen.”
  • The (NBC) peacock commit suicide
  • Life’s a bitch. so am I
  • If handguns cause crime, mine’s defective
  • God gave me the brown hair and my kids gave me the gray
  • sour look, like his girlfriend turned out to be his cousin
  • Coincidences are like skydiving without a parachute. Things don’t happen twice.”
  • I called her just to let her know I was OK; she wasn’t home
  • Not unlike a long walk in tight shoes
  • like trying to get a cat out of a tree
  • That’s like the difference between being thrown from the 15th and 16th floor–they both kill you
  • that’s a stretch like a fat lady in ski/yoga pants
  • Yeah. That was funny.
  • What’s your point?
  • Surely you can be as bold as the French?
  • Say what you like about the French, but when they found a name they liked, they stuck with it
  • It’s not the size of your (words) that matters
  • Reality is just a word
  • As important as the fact that the average American has one testicle and one ovary
  • Statisticians selected their profession because they couldn’t stand the excitement of accounting
  • the less the merrier
  • That’s Fritz. Ain’t it sad when cousins marry
  • You forget Zipper about as easy as face warts your first love
  • 85′s the new 60
  • As bright as an overhead fan with four lights and two out
  • Those days I only knew six words if you count muther fucker as two.
  • The union would be on him like ugly on a warthog
  • the idea is to manipulate her into a corner, not illuminate the corner so she knows to avoid it
  • The truth is out there; it just hasn’t been indexed well
  • A town so small it fit between two Burma Shave signs
  • My head’s like a bad neighborhood I shouldn’t go into by myself
  • Finally some one eloquent enough to speak for me
  • She gets lost in a phone booth
  • carried no more weight than an anorexic twelve year old
  • After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.
  • Under rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity and other variables the organism will do as it damn well pleases.
  • If you can’t understand it, it is intuitively obvious.
  • As deaf as a bat,
  • It’s like tinkering with the Titanic
  • In other news, The Titanic will not be making it to port
  • Put her on a milk carton–where’s she been
  • Don’t follow a rule off the edge of a cliff
  • The judgment of our leader is arbitrary, capricious–and final
  • One of the headstones reads ‘I knew this was going to happen, but not so soon
  • He hurt my feelings… You don’t have feelings… or feeling–singular
  • Couldn’t see the novel for the trees
  • More subtle than the plumed serpent
  • Alexander the Average
  • You make Alexander the Great look average
  • the mediocre outdoors

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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7 thoughts on “Funny One Liners I’ve Read in Books

  1. Hi Jacqui,
    These made me laugh – at least, the ones I got.
    One-liners spice up stories by bringing characters and events to life via a kind of stand up routine on a page. They wake up the reader.
    The other kind of humor is to write episodes that are funny. Put your characters into quirky situations and watch them wriggle. They engage the reader.
    Some writers are able to do both, but I think most claim one method and develop that skill until they are really good at it.
    And certain stories lend themselves better to specific kinds of humor. A half drunk detective can probably sling one-liners as well as a shot of whiskey. It will come back to hit him in the head like any good boomerang. A space cadet is going to find herself stepping into a pile of fresh doggie pooh after carefully painting her toenails and stuffing her tootsies into $300 shoes that no one human should ever wear, on her way to meet her new boss or new beau.
    I’m still laughing over some of the lines you gathered – getting a few more of them.

    Shari *: )

  2. I think comedy is all about context – it is hard to be funny in isolation. To be funny in a story you need to seed an idea, develop it and when the reader is least expecting it – deliver the punchline. It’s an art, it’s a science, it’s inexplicable really.

    • You’re right about that. I can’t say how many times I’ve heard a comedian and not thought he was funny, only to be laughing uncontrollably half way through his monologue.

  3. So, are you a champion of the Tea Party? That would be the only reason you’d include “Is DC Douglas a moron? Is Too Tall Jones, too tall?” That news story was so niche driven that it’s doubtful you’d have come across it through cultural osmosis. But, to your point about humor, DC Douglas is not a moron. Look at his http://www.TeaPartyPSA.com. That’s funny.

    • Politics was not my intention at all. Doesn’t that line mean DC is NOT a moron? I don’t even know who he is.

      I just thought the line was funny–I also don’t know who Too Tall Jones is. A basketball player maybe?

  4. Pingback: How Characters Show Emotion Part III | WordDreams...

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