“There is no credit to being a comedian, when you have the whole Government working for you. All you have to do is report the facts. I don’t even have to exaggerate.”
— Will Rogers
Will Rogers, who died in 1935 at the age of 55 in a plane crash in Alaska, was one of the greatest “country comedians” that America has ever produced.
No doubt, given the spirit and tone of politics today, the old “cowboy philosopher” would be having the time of his life.
He was a newspaper columnist, author, and one of the most sought-after public speakers of all time.
His dry commentaries ran the spectrum from politics to economic issues, and just plain ol’ common sense stuff that we of 2019 could use a lot more of.
He was raised in an affluent, wealthy family in what was then Indian Territory (Oklahoma), but his soft southwestern drawl and easy-going, friendly manner, quickly won him the hearts and minds of the common folks who read his columns, his books, and listened to his radio shows in droves.
At one point, he even tried his hand at acting in the new “motion picture” business of the early 1900’s, and appeared in more than 70 films.
And while he poked good-natured fun at every manner of person, place and thing known to humanity, he wasn’t above poking a little of that same fun at himself.
I got to thinking about him this week after a friend sent me an email containing some of his best one-liner quips, which in his day were read and quoted around the globe, such as:
• The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.
• Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.
• Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
• There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.
• Everything is funny as long as it is happening to Somebody Else.
• Never miss a good chance to shut up.
• Always drink upstream from the herd.
• Papers say: “Congress is deadlocked and can’t act.” I think that is the greatest blessing that could befall this country.
• You can’t say that civilization don’t advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.
• If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
• The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it backinto your pocket.
• The more that learn to read the less learn how to make a living. That’s one thing about a little education. It spoils you for actual work. The more you know the more you think somebody owes you a living.
• There are three kinds of men; the ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.
• We are the first nation in the history of the world to go to the poor house in an automobile.
• Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
• If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.
• The American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity.
• Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easer’n puttin’ it back.
• Our constitution protects aliens, drunks, and U. S. Senators. There ought to be one day (just one) when there is open season on senators.
• Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.
• After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring.He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
• The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.
• Personally, I have always felt the best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter — he’s got to just know.
• Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what’s going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?
• Congress — every time they make a joke it’s a law. And every time they make a law it’s a joke.
But his one quote that is still remembered and quoted even today is one that we all should be so fortunate to be able to say:
• I never met a man I didn’t like.
If you’re ever out in Oklahoma, stop in at The Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore. I hear its well worth the time.