The fifth edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations drops today.
The Oxford University Press’ blog has compiled the individuals with the most entries.
Keep in mind, the book is edited by British people, and reflects their sense of “humour” which in America we’d probably refer to as wit (this explains the absence of Mitch Hedberg).
Still, a pretty impressive group:
Oscar Wilde, 92 entries
George Bernard Shaw, 55 entries
Noel Coward, 53 entries
Mark Twain, 43 entries
Dorothy Parker, 43 entries
P.G. Wodehouse, 42 entries
Woody Allen, 35 entries
Here’s editor Gyles Brandreth’s take:
It is fitting to see that today, on Oscar Wilde’s birthday, Wilde is leagues ahead of the rest of the pack. He is without doubt the most quoted and quotable of them all. Bernard Shaw’s plays may not be performed as often as once they were, but his lines remain memorable. Woody Allen is the only living person to make the top 10 and he has pushed the great eighteenth century lexicographer and wit, Dr. Johnson, into eighth place.
They’ve also listed the women with the most entries (though don’t provide number of entries):
And here are Brandreth’s personal of the top 5 quips of all time, which he introduces thusly:
My personal top 10 selection reflects the range of contributors to the Dictionary — and what’s making me smile today. The joy of a dictionary like this is that, with over 5000 quotations, I can have 10 different favourites every week and not run out of them for 10 years.
5. “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” — Oscar Wilde (1854 — 1900)
4. “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.” — Mae West (1892 — 1980)
3. “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.” — Groucho Marx (1890-1977)
2. Nancy Astor: “If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee!” Winston Churchill: “And if I were your husband I would drink it.”
1. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” — Jane Austen (1775 — 1817)
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