When a man at a party once told Robert Benchley that the drink he was holding in his hand was slow poison He replied: So who s in a hurry?

Hollywood actor Christopher Reeve made a reply one night to host James Lipton on the Bravo TV program Inside the Actor s Studio When Reeve was asked what it was liked to have acted with Katharine Hepburn he delighted the audience with his reply: People say I acted with Katharine Hepburn The truth is I acted near Katharine Hepburn

After lunching at the Algonquin Hotel Robert Benchley walked through the lobby out the front door and said to the uniformed man on the sidewalk My good man would you please get me a taxi? The man immediately took offense and replied indignantly I m not a doorman I happen to be a rear admiral in the United States Navy Robert Benchley instantly quipped: All right then get me a battleship

After the opening performance of Arms and the Man in London in 1894 playwright George Bernard Shaw joined the actors on stage to acknowledge a rousing appreciative ovation Amidst the sustained applause a solitary voice cried out: Boo Boo Shaw looked in the direction of the voice and said: I quite agree with you my friend but what can we two do against a whole houseful of the opposite opinion?

Alfred Hitchcock s 1944 film Lifeboat a drama about eight survivors of a freighter sunk by a German U-Boat was one of the most popular films of the year (it was also nominated for three Academy Awards) While posing for publicity photographs for the film actress Mary Anderson approached the director and asked What is my best side Mr Hitchcock? His reply was soon being circulated all around Hollywood: My dear you re sitting on it

One of the few pontiffs in history with a rich sense of humor Pope John XXIII once reported to an interviewer that important problems would frequently come to mind in the middle of the night disturbing his sleep Half awake he d make a mental note: I must speak to the pope about that Then he confessed I would be wide awake and remember - I am the pope Once asked by a journalist How many people work in the Vatican? the pontiff pondered the question giving the impression that he was trying to come up with an accurate estimate Then with a straight face he answered: About half

In the 1920s Dorothy Parker was establishing a reputation as a witty woman with a sharp tongue (the actress Mrs Patrick Campbell called her My pretty pretty cobra ) At the same time Clare Booth Luce was becoming a respected journalist and well-known playwright While both women were highly talented their numerous political philosophical and personal differences resulted in a strained relationship One day Parker was about to step through a doorway when she came face-to-face with Luce As the story goes Mrs Luce stepped aside extended the palm of her hand and said coyly Age before beauty Parker glided through the door saying ever-so-sweetly Pearls before swine

Some of history s greatest replies come from people we don t usually associate with great wit In the decades prior to World War II Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi led a massive campaign of civil disobedience designed to help colonial India win its independence from the British Empire In 1931 shortly after being named Time magazine s Man of the Year Gandhi traveled to London to meet with British authorities The entire nation was curious to learn more about this little brown man as many called him Constantly swarmed by press and photographers Gandhi was peppered with questions wherever he went One day a reporter yelled out What do you think of Western civilization? It was a defining moment and Gandhi s reply instantly transformed him from an object of curiosity into a celebrity In his heavy Indian accent he answered I think it would be a good idea

On his first day in office as President Abraham Lincoln entered to give his inaugural address one man stood up He was a rich aristocrat He said Mr Lincoln you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family And the whole Senate laughed; they thought they had made a fool of Lincoln But certain people are made of a totally different mettle Lincoln looked at the man directly in the eye and said Sir I know that my father used to make shoes for your family and there will be many others here because he made shoes the way nobody else can He was a creator His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul into them I want to ask you have you any complaint? Because I know how to make shoes myself If you have any complaint I can make you another pair of shoes But as far as I know nobody has ever complained about my father s shoes He was a genius a great creator and I am proud of my father The whole Senate was struck dumb They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was He was proud because his father did his job so well that not even a single complaint had ever been heard

Sir Winston Churchill was once asked about his position on whisky Here s how he answered: If you mean whisky the devil s brew the poison scourge the bloody monster that defiles innocence dethrones reason destroys the home creates misery and poverty yea literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation shame despair helplessness and hopelessness then my friend I am opposed to it with every fibre of my being However if by whisky you mean the oil of conversation the philosophic wine the elixir of life the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean good cheer the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy and to forget life s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of pounds each year that provides tender care for our little crippled children our blind our deaf our dumb our pitifully aged and infirm to build the finest highways hospitals universities and community colleges in this nation then my friend I am absolutely unequivocally in favour of it This is my po sition and as always I refuse to compromise on matters of principle