With Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine out in theatres, the new movie that’s earning Woody some of his best reviews in years, I thought I would look back at some of his most memorable quotes and aphorisms. The man is his own Bartlett’s, except with a whole lot more material about getting off. Here are some of the Woodman’s great thoughts on love, commitment, sex, death, God and masturbation — but mostly masturbation.
1. I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
2. I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.
3. What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
4. Standing in a garage no more makes you a car than standing in a church makes you a Christian.
5. Curiosity, that’s what kills us. Not muggers or all that bullshit about the ozone layer. It’s our own hearts and minds.
6. I’m not anti-social. I’m just not social.
7. In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!
8. God is silent. Now if only man would shut up.
9. I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick. Not wounded. Dead.
10. Some guy hit my fender the other day, and I said unto him, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply’. But not in those words.
11. Hey, don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.
12. This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, Doc, my brother’s crazy. He thinks he’s a chicken. The doctor says, Well, why don’t you turn him in? And the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. Well I guess that’s pretty much how I feel about relationships. You know they’re totally irrational and crazy and absurd but I guess we keep going through it because, uh, most of us need the eggs.
13. Eternal nothingness is fine if you happen to be dressed for it.
14. I did not marry the first girl that I fell in love with, because there was a tremendous religious conflict, at the time. She was an atheist, and I was an agnostic.
15. I can levitate birds. No one cares.
16. I love nature, I just don’t want to get any of it on me.
17. How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?
18. I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.
19. Why are our days numbered and not, say, lettered?
20. I’m going to kill myself. I should go to Paris and jump off the Eiffel Tower. I’ll be dead. you know, in fact, if I get the Concorde, I could be dead three hours earlier, which would be perfect. Or wait a minute. With the time change, I could be alive for six hours in New York but dead three hours in Paris. I could get things done, and I could also be dead.
21. I think crime pays. The hours are good, you meet a lot of interesting people, you travel a lot.
22. Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.
23. I’m not a drinker, my body won’t tolerate…uh…spirits, really. I had two martinis New Years Eve and I tried to hijack an elevator and fly it to Cuba.
24. I hate reality but it’s still the best place to get a good steak.
25. We’re all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions, moral choices. Some are on a grand scale, most of these choices are on lesser points. But we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, Human happiness does not seem to be included in the design of creation. it is only we, with our capacity to love that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and even try to find joy from simple things, like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.
26. Basically, my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats.
27. If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.
28. The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty.
29. Capital punishment would be more effective as a preventive measure if it were administered prior to the crime.
30. The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter. You know, if it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. I think that the worst you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.
31. It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones slept better while the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more.
32. You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.
33. There’s an old joke: Um, two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life.
34. When I was kidnapped, my parents snapped into action. They rented out my room.
35. Sex is only dirty if it’s done right.
36. Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem.
37. Men learn to love the woman they are attracted to. Women learn to become attracted to the man they fall in love with.
38. There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?
39. I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.
40. When I asked my mother where babies came from, she thought I said ‘rabies.’ She said you get them from being bitten by a dog. The next week, a woman on my block gave birth to triplets… I thought she’d been bitten by a Great Dane.
41. Every hooker I ever speak to tells me that it beats the hell out of waitressing. Waitressing’s gotta be the worst fucking job in the world.
42. Don’t listen to what your teachers tell ya, you know. Don’t pay attention. Just see what they look like and that’s how you’ll know what life is really gonna be like.
43. Sex alleviates tension. Love causes it.
44. I’m astounded by people who want to ‘know’ the universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.
45. I think universal harmony is a pipe dream and it may be more productive to focus on more modest goals, like a ban on yodelling.
46. I’m such a good lover because I practice a lot on my own.
47. I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories. The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s very lucky, to be miserable.
48. I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.
49. I didn’t know he was dead. I thought he was British.
50. Regarding love, what can you say? It’s not the quantity of your sexual relations that counts. It’s the quality. On the other hand if the quantity drops below once every eight months, I would definitely look into it.
51. When it comes to relationships with women, I’m the winner of the August Strindberg Award.
52. I don’t know enough to be incompetent.
53. Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.
54. Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.
55. Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite. This is a very comforting thought — particularly for people who can never remember where they have left things.
56. I tended to place my wife under a pedestal.
57. Where I grew up — in Brooklyn — nobody committed suicide. Y’know, everyone was too unhappy.
58. I worked with Freud in Vienna. We broke over the concept of penis envy. He thought it should be limited to women.
59. This year I’m a star, but what will I be next year? A black hole?
60. I have an interesting case. I’m treating two sets of Siamese twins with split personalities. I’m getting paid by eight people.
61. If there is reincarnation, I’d like to come back as Pamela Andersons fingertips.
62. I remember when I was a little boy, I once stole a pornographic book that was printed in Braille. I used to rub the dirty parts.
63. If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank.
64. I’m twelve years old. I run into a synagogue. I ask the rabbi the meaning of life. He tells me the meaning of life but he tells it to me in Hebrew. I don’t understand Hebrew. Then he wants to charge me $600 for Hebrew lessons.
65. With my complexion I don’t tan, I stroke.
66. Talent is luck. The important thing in life is courage.
67. What if nothing exists and we’re all in somebody’s dream? Or what’s worse, what if only that fat guy in the third row exists?
68. I took one course in existential philosophy at New York University, and on the final they gave me ten questions. I couldn’t answer a single one of ’em. Ya know, I left ’em all blank. I got a hundred.
69. I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.
70. Sex between two people is a beautiful thing; between five it’s fantastic.
71. As the poet said, “Only God can make a tree,” probably because it’s so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.
72. I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.
73. Sex is better than talk. Ask anybody in this bar. Talk is what you suffer through so you can get to sex.
74. I don’t think my parents liked me. They put a live teddy bear in my crib.
75. The most beautiful words in the English language aren’t “I love you” but “It’s benign.”
76. I do the movies just for myself like an institutionalized person who basket-weaves. Busy fingers are happy fingers. I don’t care about the films. I don’t care if they’re flushed down the toilet after I die.
77. Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.
78. I can’t express anger. That’s one of the problems I have. I grow a tumor instead.
79. Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as far as meaningless experiences go its pretty damn good.
80. Millions of books written on every conceivable subject by all these great minds and in the end, none of them knows anything more about the big questions of life than I do … I read Socrates. This guy knocked off little Greek boys. What the Hell’s he got to teach me? And Nietzsche, with his theory of eternal recurrence. He said that the life we lived we’re gonna live over again the exact same way for eternity. Great. That means I’ll have to sit through the Ice Capades again. It’s not worth it. And Freud, another great pessimist. I was in analysis for years and nothing happened. My poor analyst got so frustrated, the guy finally put in a salad bar. Maybe the poets are right. Maybe love is the only answer.
81. I don’t have to “freedom-kiss” my wife when what I really want to do is French-kiss her.
82. I was thrown out of NYU for cheating on my Metaphysics final. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me.
83. When it comes to sex there are certain things that should always be left unknown, and with my luck, they probably will be.
84. Those who can’t do, teach, and those who can’t teach, teach gym.
85. Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.
86. You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.
87. To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But, then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love, to be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness — I hope you’re getting this down.
88. My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.
Readers, what are your favorite Woody Allen quotes — or lines from his movies? Sound off in the comments.