A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
An apology? Bah! Disgusting! Cowardly! Beneath the dignity of any gentleman, however wrong he might be.
Bad psychoanalysis would say I enjoyed pleasing people, working really hard and pleasing people, which is probably related to my father in some way. But I really liked working hard. When I worked at Disneyland, I’d do 12 hours straight and go home thrilled.
Boy, those French: they have a different word for everything!
Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is.
Comedy may be big business but it isn’t pretty.
Dinosaurs did not walk with humans. The evolutionary record says different. They gambled.
‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ is a good one because it not only turned out, I think, to be a really funny movie but it was also a delight to shoot. We were in the South of France, working with Glenne Headly and Michael Caine and Frank Oz the director – who were just fun.
Don’t have sex man. It leads to kissing and pretty soon you have to start talking to them.
Everything is fraught with danger. I love technology and I love science. It’s just always all in the way you use it. So there’s no – you can’t really blame anything on the technology. It’s just the way people use it, and it always has been.
Hosting the Oscars is much like making love to a woman. It’s something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town.
I actually credit Twitter with fine-tuning some joke-writing skills. I still feel like I’m working at it.
I believe entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you’re an idiot.
I believe that Ronald Reagan will someday make this country what it once was… an arctic wilderness.
I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.
I cringe at backstory. Because it never quite explains or gets into some psychological thing that is never quite right and never quite the truth and who knows why someone is some way.
I did stand-up comedy for 18 years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four years were spent in wild success. I was seeking comic originality, and fame fell on me as a byproduct. The course was more plodding than heroic.
I feel good about being able to take bluegrass on to television like ‘Letterman’ and ‘The View,’ and I’ve heard nice things about being able to do that. I really haven’t felt any negativity toward me or my music.
I got a flue shot and now my chimney works perfectly.
I just believe that the interesting time in a career is pre-success, what shaped things, how did you get to this point.
I knew I could only play Cyrano if he were Americanized. I had no intention of writing the script myself. I was afraid of it. You’re playing with fire when you tamper with a classic. So I went looking for a writer. But it was such a personal idea, and anyone I would give it to would make it his own. It’s hard to ask Neil Simon to write your idea.
I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks.
I like all kinds of music. I listen to Abigail Washburn, the Punch Brothers, and Marc Johnson, the great clawhammer player. I also listen a lot to Sirius Radio, there’s a lot of bluegrass there.
I loved doing ‘Pennies from Heaven.’ Because you have to understand that I’d been doing comedy for 15 to 20 years, and suddenly along came the opportunity to do this beautiful film. It was so emotional to me. I loved it. I don’t think it was a good career move, but I have no regrets about doing it.
I loved to make people laugh in high school, and then I found I loved being on stage in front of people. I’m sure that’s some kind of ego trip or a way to overcome shyness. I was very kind of shy and reserved, so there’s a way to be on stage and be performing and balance your life out.
I realized that comedians of the day were operating on jokes and punch lines. The moment you say the punch line, the audience either laughs sincerely or they laugh automatically or they don’t laugh. The thing that bothered me was that automatic laugh. I said, that’s not real laughter.
I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.
I think I meant that, given the circumstances of my childhood, I had the illusion that it’s easier to be alone. To have your relationships be casual and also to pose as a solitary person, because it was more romantic. You know, I was raised on the idea of the ramblin’ man and the loner.
I think there are people out there writing original bluegrass songs, but it’s hard to get them out on the air.
I thought ‘Borat’ was a breakthrough comedy, because it was really funny. It wasn’t some studio-produced script with 14 writers.
I thought if I had a Twitter feed and say I had a following of a 100,000, that means 100,000 of them would be interested in my book. It was logical, but it didn’t turn out to be true. It turned out if I had a Twitter feed of a 100,000, four of them were interested in my book.
I was not naturally talented. I didn’t sing, dance or act, though working around that minor detail made me inventive.
I was raised with ‘Laurel and Hardy’ and ‘I Love Lucy’ and Jerry Lewis, and I just loved it. And I had a friend in high school and we would just laugh all day and put on skits. You know, it’s the Andy Kaufman thing or the Marty Short thing where you’re performing in your bedroom for yourself.
I was very interested in vaudeville. It was the only sort of discipline that was a five-minute act on stage, which is what I really enjoyed and saw myself doing. And I bought books on it.
I wish I could do a lot of things different. I’m not going to tell you what they are, but if I had a list of all my films right now, I’d go, ‘Okay, I’ll cross that one out and cross that one out and cross that one out and cross that one out.’ Really. But I’ve made over 40 films. How can I not have some losers in there?
I would get records by Earl Scruggs… I would tune my banjo down and I’d pick out the songs note by note. Learned how to play that way. I persevered. There was a book written by Pete Seeger, who showed you some basic strumming and some basic picking… And I kind of worked out my own style of playing.
I’m enamored with the art world. Anytime you look at anything that’s considered artistic, there’s a commercial world around it: the ballet, opera, any kind of music. It can’t exist without it.
I’m for the Wall Street Occupiers. But will they accept me when they find out I sell packaged mortgage default instruments to children?
I’m tired of wasting letters when punctuation will do, period.
I’ve always believed that there are funny people everywhere, but they’re just not comedians. In fact, some of my best comedic inspirations were not professional entertainers.
I’ve got to keep breathing. It’ll be my worst business mistake if I don’t.
In my banjo show with the Steep Canyon Rangers, I do do comedy during that show. It’d be absurd just to stand there mute and play 25 banjo songs.
Love is a promise delivered already broken.
Movies always are open to being remade because times change so much, and the tempo of movies changes. I think of it like a James Bond. They can have different actors play the same role… I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘We want to remake ‘The Jerk’ with so and so.’ And I say, ‘Fine.’ It just doesn’t bother me. It’s an honor actually.
No matter how many times people say it – ‘Oh, I’m just writing this for myself’ ‘Oh, I’m just doing this for myself’ – nobody’s doing it for themselves! You’re doing it for an audience. So whether I’m performing or writing a book or playing music, it’s definitely to be put out there and to be received in some way, definitely.
Nothing I do is done by popular demand.
Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
The banjo is truly an American instrument, and it captures something about our past.
The bluegrass community… can be very strict. I didn’t know if I’d be welcomed into the bluegrass community or not, but I think they judge you very fairly… I felt really welcome.
The real joy is in constructing a sentence. But I see myself as an actor first because writing is what you do when you are ready and acting is what you do when someone else is ready.
There is one thing I would break up over, and that is if she caught me with another woman. I won’t stand for that.
There’s a lot of thought in art. People get to talk about important things. There’s a lot of sex, you know, in art. There’s a lot of naked women and men, and there’s intrigue, there’s fakery. It’s a real microcosm of the larger world.
Throughout my whole life, as a performer, I’ve never played with a band. I’ve always played alone, so I was never required to stay in rhythm or anything. So it was a real different experience for me to start playing with a band. There were so many basic things for me to learn.
Tweeting is really only good for one thing – it’s just good for tweeting… It is rewarding, because it’s just its own reward. It’s sort of like heaven.
Well, excuuuuuse me!
Well, today the Grammys is much much better than the Oscars. I think the differences in the shows are that the Grammys are much wilder. The Oscars is much more people in the industry. And people dress wilder, I think, at the Grammys.
What I mean is that none of my talents had a – what’s that great word – rubric. A singer, an actor, a dancer – there was nothing I could really say I was. The writing came much later. And, actually, thank God, because if I had said I’m a singer, I would really have just had one thing to do.
What is a movie star? A movie star is many things. They can be tall, short, thin, or skinny. They can be Democrats… or skinny.
What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.
When I first started doing my comedy act, I just desperately needed material. So I took literally everything I knew how to do on stage with me, which was juggling, magic and banjo and my little comedy routines. I always felt the audience sorta tolerated the serious musical parts while I was doing my comedy.
When I was in college, I was debating to try my hand at show business, or to become a professor. I just thought of the risk of not going into show business and always wondering if I would’ve had a chance. Because that’s where my real heart was.
When your hobbies get in the way of your work – that’s OK; but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves… well.
With comedy, you have no place to go but more comedy, so you’re never off the hook.
You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.
You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do.