The Washington Post

Ten classic Phyllis Diller one-liners

Diller claimed to be the only woman who could walk through Central Park at night and reduce the crime rate. (AP/AP)

She was known for her ability to unleash a memorable one-liner.

All the best one-liners have a quality of having been discovered rather than invented. Seconds after hearing them you think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” They are both funny and surprisingly true. Phyllis Diller’s best were always both.

Here are some of Diller’s most famous quips.

* “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” - Housekeeping Hints, 1966

* “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” - Housekeeping Hints, 1966

* “I’m at an age where my back goes out more than I do.” - The Joys of Aging and How To Avoid Them, 1981

* “On my honeymoon I put on a peekaboo blouse. My husband peeked and booed.”

* “Our vet told us that because of my cooking our cat has only two lives left.

* “I've buried a lot of my laundry in the back yard.”

* “We spend the first 12 months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 years teaching them to sit down and shut up.” 

* “We had far too many kids. At one point our playpen was standing room only. It looked like a bus stop for midgets.”

* “I was the world’s ugliest baby. I have photos of my folks leaving the hospital with sacks over their heads... I asked my mother how to turn off the electric fan. She said ‘Grab the blade!’”

* “Old age is when the liver spots show through your gloves.”

And she made up numerous characters for the act:

Talking of her joke husband, “Fang,” (“I've been asked to say a couple of words about my husband, Fang. How about short and cheap?”) she noted, “He hates work. One day he called in dead.”

Her obese mother: “We still have a souvenir from her last visit. A Persian throw rug. She sat on the cat.”

Her oversexed sister: “She’s been in more motel rooms than the Gideon Bible.”

She even told Ronald Reagan: “If you ever get to be president, and I think you may, and there's a depression— try not to have it at a bad time, like when everybody's out of work.”

This barely scratches the surface: Please, post your favorite Diller quotes below.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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