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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 02/11/2009

What's Your Favorite Comic One-Liner?

By Michael Cavna

I'm chatting with Comedy Central comic Demetri Martin about humor and the convo quickly turns to: Artful one-liners.

I'm speaking with filmmaker Ken Burns about Mark Twain and the interview rapidly slides toward: Folksy one-liners.

I call to catch up with an ol' journo colleague and we soon are discussing a newsroom department's penchant for quoting, yes, one-liners. Ad nauseam. (Mostly quotes from either "Raising Arizona" or "The Big Lebowksi.")

Then, I read "Get Fuzzy" and am yet again impressed by Darby Conley's gift for dialogue peppered with one-liners. (In this case, Bucky is saying: "I'm a cat, my apres dinner snack is my own armpit." Beautiful.)

There is something about the lone perfectly turned phrase -- a pithy punch of monologue -- that can charm an ear from most any culture. And few art forms rely so heavily upon on one-liners as do the comic strip.

"We have met the enemy and he is us" (Pogo). "No problem is too big to run away from" ("Peanuts"). "My apres dinner snack is my own armpit" (Ibid.).

With all those artful phrases ringing in my ears, Comic Riffs asks you the Burning Question o' the Day: What are some of your favorite one-liners from comic strips?

Now, the e-floor is yours. We have met the Comments field -- and it is us:


Many 'Riffs readers have been fascinated by the visual storytelling in "9 Chickweed Lane," as Amos and Edda make, um, beautiful music together.

It's worth noting that creator Brooke McEldowney has written that a similar December cartoon paid homage to THIS early 20th-century painting, by artist François Xavier Prinet.

LATER TODAY: The full interview with Demetri Martin.

By Michael Cavna  | February 11, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The Interview: Comedian/Cartoonist Demetri Martin of Comedy Central


For me it tends to run to lines I can use in my day to day life when average everyday expressions just won’t do.

“Alas it is my curse, with great intelligence comes great annoyance.” Bucky Cat

"Behold…The “Mallet O’ Understanding…” Rat

& finally; while it is not technically a one liner, I’ve always found this one comforting when something is ending.

“Suddenly life has become so…so special, so meaningful…Listen …The Loons!... Can you hear the Loons?...” Banana PC Jr.

Posted by: Clix | February 11, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

a classic New Yorker business cartoon:

"I usually wake up screaming at 5:30, and I'm in the office by 9"

Posted by: jessecline | February 11, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

For the longest time, I was exasperated at 9 Chickweed Lane, snarling, "would you two please just have sex already!?" Now, I find myself pleading at the strip, "would you two please just STOP having sex already!?"

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 11, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Of course the famous Pogo line, along with "how can I be so stupid when I is so smart?"

And Charles Addams had a caption to a panel with the "family" members sitting indoors, snow falling outside and the woman saying "suddenly, I have a dreadful urge to be merry."

Posted by: MAL9000 | February 11, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

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