100 George Carlin Quotes to Make You Laugh, Think, and Feel Alive

Some witty, wise and thoughtful George Carlin quotes that not only makes you laugh but also force you to question your beliefs.

George Denis Patrick Carlin (1937-2008) was an award-winning American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and philosopher. He was known as the "Dean of Counterculture Comedians."

Carlin was duly noted for his black humor and political beliefs; and his work revolved around language, psychology, and religion. His comedy focused mostly on the flaws of contemporary America and criticized modern-day American culture.

In 1997, George Carlin's first stand-up comedy was filmed for HBO. He performed regularly and was a frequent guest host on The Tonight Show whereas his last comedy special, "It's Bad for Ya" was filmed less than four months before his death.

In 2004, he was ranked second on Comedy Central's list of the top 10 American comedians. In 2008, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In 2017, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him second on its list of the 50 best stand-up comedians of all time.


George Carlin Funny Quotes

The collection of his quotes below is basically a specimen of his phenomenal work:

  1. “The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”
  2. “That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
  3. “If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”
  4. “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
  5. “May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.”
  6. “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
  7. “I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It's so fuckin' heroic.”
  8. “Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.”
  9. “Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.”
  10. “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
  11. “Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.”
  12. “I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions.”
  13. “I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.”
  14. “I often warn people: "Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, 'There is no "I" in a team.' What you should tell them is, 'Maybe not. But there is an "I" in independence, individuality, and integrity.”
  15. “Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be.”
  16. “If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.”
  17. “Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”
  18. “The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.”
  19. “Life gets really simple once you cut out all the bull shit they teach you in school.”
  20. “How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?”
  21. “Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice”?”
  22. “The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”
  23. “Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.”
  24. “Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.”
  25. “If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?”
  26. “Some people have no idea what they're doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.”
  27. “I think I am, therefore, I am... I think.”
  28. “Everyone smiles in the same language.”
  29. “Let a smile be your umbrella, and you'll end up with a face full of rain.”
  30. “Conservatives want live babies so they can train them to be dead soldiers. ”
  31. “Don’t just teach your children to read… Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.”
  32. “People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think.”
  33. “I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks so I wondered, what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks?”
  34. “People can't seem to get it through their heads that there is never any healing or closure. Ever. There is only a short pause before the next "horrifying" event. People forget there is such a thing as memory, and that when a wound "heals" it leaves a permanent scar that never goes away, but merely fades a little. What really ought to be said after one of these so-called tragedies is, "Let the scarring begin.”
  35. “Here’s a bumper sticker I’d like to see: “We are the proud parents of a child whose self-esteem is sufficient that he doesn’t need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car.”
  36. “If the black box flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn’t the whole airplane made out of that stuff?”
  37. “People always tell me "Have a nice day." Well what if I don't want to? What if I want to have a crappy day?”
  38. “Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did.”
  39. “I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?”
  40. “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”
  41. “The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions.”
  42. “I have lots of ideas. Trouble is, most of them suck.”
  43. “But when you're in front of an audience and you make them laugh at a new idea, you're guiding the whole being for the moment. No one is ever more him/herself than when they really laugh. Their defenses are down. It's very Zen-like, that moment. They are completely open, completely themselves when that message hits the brain and the laugh begins. That's when new ideas can be implanted. If a new idea slips in at that moment, it has a chance to grow.”
  44. “There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”
  45. “I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”
  46. “Electricity is really just organized lightning”
  47. “What if there were no hypothetical questions?”
  48. “Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.”
  49. “Don't confuse me with those who cling to hope. I enjoy describing how things are, I have no interest in how they 'ought to be.' And I certainly have no interest in fixing them. I sincerely believe that if you think there's a solution, you're part of the problem. My motto: Fuck Hope!”
  50. “I'm happy to tell you there is very little in this world that I believe in.”
  51. “If everyone in the world sat quietly at the same time, closed their eyes and concentrated as hard as they could on peace and goodwill, all the killing and cruelty in the world would continue. And probably increase.”
  52. “People are wonderful. I love individuals. I hate groups of people. I hate a group of people with a 'common purpose'. 'Cause pretty soon they have little hats. And armbands. And fight songs. And a list of people they're going to visit at 3am. So, I dislike and despise groups of people but I love individuals. Every person you look at; you can see the universe in their eyes, if you're really looking.”
  53. “There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past.”
  54. “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”
  55. “If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten.”
  56. “Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.”
  57. “I don't have to tell you it goes without saying there are some things better left unsaid. I think that speaks for itself. The less said about it the better.”
  58. “People love to admit they have bad handwriting or that they can't do math. And they will readily admit to being awkward: 'I'm such a klutz!' But they will never admit to having a poor sense of humor or being a bad driver.”
  59. “They say that instead of cursing the darkness, one should light a candle. Nothing is mentioned, though, about cursing a lack of candles.”
  60. “I don't believe there's any problem in this country, no matter how tough it is, that Americans, when they roll up their sleeves, can't completely ignore.”
  61. “I'm not a person who thinks they can have it all, but I certainly feel that with a bit of effort and guile I should be able to have more than my fair share.”
  62. “If a man smiles all the time, he’s probably selling something that doesn’t work.”
  63. “hard work is a misleading term. physical effort & long hours do not constitute hard work. hard work is when someone pays you to do something you'd rather not be doing. anytime you'd rather be doing something other than the thing you're doing...you're doing hard work.”
  64. “Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money.”
  65. “I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect.”
  66. “Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.”
  67. “Always do whatever's next.”
  68. “Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name.”
  69. “Life is not measured by the breathes you take, but by the moments that take your breathe away.”
  70. “Capitalism tries for a delicate balance: It attempts to work things out so that everyone gets just enough stuff to keep them from getting violent and trying to take other people’s stuff.”
  71. “Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.”
  72. “Is there another word for synonym?”
  73. “By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.”
  74. “I don't have hobbies; hobbies cost money. Interests are quite free.”
  75. “I wanna live. I don’t wanna die. That’s the whole meaning of life: Not dying! I figured that shit out by myself in the third grade”
  76. “The worst thing about e-mail is that you can’t interrupt the other person. You have to read the whole thing and then e-mail them back, pointing out all their mistakes and faulty assumptions. It’s frustrating and it’s time-consuming. God bless phone calls.”
  77. “They don't want an educated populace capable of critical thought, sitting around the kitchen table realizing how badly they're getting fucked!”
  78. “The status quo sucks.”
  79. “What does it mean to pre-board? Do you get on before you get on? ”
  80. “The older you get, the better you realize you were.”
  81. “If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?”
  82. “Age is a hell of a price to pay for wisdom”
  83. “The wisest man I ever knew taught me something I never forgot. And although I never forgot it, I never quite memorized it either. So what I’m left with is the memory of having learned something very wise that I can’t quite remember.”
  84. “I love it in a movie when they throw a guy off a cliff. I love it even when it's not a movie. No, especially when it's not a movie.”
  85. “There are no bad words. Bad thoughts. Bad intentions, and wooooords.”
  86. “One good reason to only maintain a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim.”
  87. “I think it would be interesting if old people got anti-Alzheimer's disease where they slowly began to recover other people's lost memories.”
  88. “Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways? Just to be silly!”
  89. “If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're gonna get selfish, ignorant leaders.”
  90. “I'll tell you a little secret about the Blues: it's not enough to know which notes to play, you have to know why they need to be played.”
  91. “What do dogs do on their day off?; Can't lie around – that's their job!”
  92. “The safest place to be during an earthquake would be in a stationary store.”
  93. “A flag is supposed to represent everything that a country does. It doesn't only represent the good things. If you burn the flag, you're burning the flag for what you perceive to be the bad things the country has done. it's only a symbol. It's only a piece of cloth.”
  94. “Although the photographer and the art thief were close friends, neither had ever taken the other's picture.”
  95. “When you step on the brakes your life is in your foot's hands.”
  96. “Whenever you hear the phrase zero tolerance, remember, someone is bullshitting you.”
  97. “Everyone should try to scratch their name on the bomb of life.”
  98. “People are wonderful one at a time. Each one of them has an entire hologram of the universe somewhere within them.”
  99. “Did you ever eat a whole box of cookies right in a row? Did you ever do that? I don't mean take them into your bedroom or something. I mean open them right up in the kitchen as soon as you get home from the store and eat 'em while you're standing there? Just stare at the toaster while you're eatin' a whole goddamn box of cookies?”
  100. “If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?”

With a career ranging over five decades, three books, and 130 Tonight Shows, Carlin contributed infinitely to American culture and humanity. He shared his wisdom with those around him and presented different viewpoints on our society.

His sayings give us a much-needed dose of laughter in our disorderly lives. Although his work was considered controversial by many, Carlin continues to inspire people with how he could make anything funny.