The Barnes & Noble Review
We all admire those clever minds with the cunning ability to spit witty repartee at a moment's notice. The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations compiles a vast collection of such noted quotes -- some infamous, some obscure -- into one accessible guide, alphabetized by subject, from Acting to Youth, and by source, from Bud Abbott to Jerry Zucker. You'll leaf through and declare, "I wish I had said that!" on more than one occasion.
From contemporary voices like Dorothy Parker, P. J. O'Rourke, and Woody Allen to canonical writers like Charles Dickens and Evelyn Waugh to legends like Mae West and Bob Hope, the approximately 5,000 quotes are fodder for amusement and impetus to sharpen one's own verbal skills. While some could be considered odd choices that don't necessarily fit the humor bill, most inspire at least a subtle smirk, such as a movie studio's official comment on Fred Astaire ("Can't act. Slightly bald. Also dances") and Tony Curtis's response when asked what it was like to kiss Marilyn Monroe ("It's like kissing Hitler").
Still, this dense reference guide packs in the showstoppers (Jack Warner on hearing that Ronald Reagan was seeking nomination as governor of California: "No, no. Jimmy Stewart for governor -- Ronald Reagan for his best friend") and the unforgettables ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room").
This reference should be a requirement on the bookshelf of every writer, reader, and lover of the history of the human race. (Karen Mancuso)
From the Publisher
"From an international group of writers, humorists, actors, and public figures, Sherrin has collected almost 6000 quotes, some witty puns and one-liners and some possibly insulting. Along with traditional favorites such as Mark Twain, Mae West, and Shakespeare, this new edition updates the 1996 edition with more contemporary figures, such as Madonna, Jay Leno, and Mick Jagger.... Covering a wide range of themes, authors, and time periods, this source is excellent for public speakers, writers, trivia buffs, and those who love to laugh. Highly recommended."Library Journal "Thanks go to Ned Sherin, the BBC satirist, for researching and compiling the lines that get smiles and some belly laughs."Gary Stevens, WCBS Radio "Passes the test...The discovery of lines that are simply falling-down hilarious."Seattle Times
"For those who are often looking for quality quotations, this book is sure to be a hit. Because it covers such a wide range of personalities, from historical to modern and from subtle to outrageous, this book will appeal to a wide audience. It will be a welcome addition to many public libraries."American Reference Book Annual 2002
"The wit across the 512 pages here is sourced and provided context by category and author, a treasure for speaker, academic, or random reader."The Virginian-Pilot "Need a witty quote to use in a speech or to impress a friend? The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations is a good place to start."Syracuse Post-Standard
"The entire work is quite thorough."Booklist