Paul Merton Best Quotes

Paul James Martin, known professionally as Paul Merton is an English writer, actor, comedian, radio and television presenter. Known for his improvisation skill, his humour is rooted in deadpan, surreal and sometimes dark comedy. Enjoy Paul Merton’s best quotes below.

“My school days were the happiest days of my life; which should give you some indication of the misery I’ve endured over the past twenty-five years.”
“It was a bizarre existence I led in my early twenties – that cliche of the comedian who goes out and entertains a roomful of people and then goes home to a lonely bedsit was unbelievably poignant for me because that was exactly what I was doing. I had periods of real loneliness.”
“The thing about improvisation is that it’s not about what you say. It’s listening to what other people say. It’s about what you hear.”
“When I turned about 12 or 13, I realised that being funny wasn’t about remembering jokes. It was about creating them.”
“Well, sanity, I suppose, is getting people to see the world your way.”
“I’m always amazed to hear of air crash victims so badly mutilated that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can’t understand is, if they don’t know who you are, how do they know who your dentist is?”
“I read every book about Buster Keaton and Chaplin to see how they worked – it’s all about dedication, tunnel vision, pursuit of perfection, getting the gag right.”
“On my first day in New York a guy asked me if I knew where Central Park was. When I told him I didn’t he said, ‘Do you mind if I mug you here?’.”
“Maybe there’s a perception of me as grumpy old bugger who suffers from depression. It’s a total misconception. I don’t think of myself as any grumpier than the next person. I’m not even grumpy first thing in the morning.”
“When I wake up on a Monday morning and I realise I don’t have to go and work at the civil service, I really think I’ve won.”
“When things are difficult, awful, stressful, the thing that always gets you through is a sense of humour. I don’t mean – well, maybe I do – laugh at the hangman as he puts the noose around your neck. But an eye, an ear, for the ridiculous, the absurd in life, can get you through a lot.”
“In a psychiatric hospital, a lot of people believe that people on TV are talking to them directly through the screen. I’m with about 500 of these people, and I’m on TV every Friday night. As I was queuing up for breakfast one morning, one guy nearly jumped out of his skin. My first thought was to go ‘Woooo!’”
“If you became a comedian in the ’80s, you had to work the circuit and make people laugh. Canned laughter is cheating.”
“I looked at longevity in show business when I was about 13, and the people who seemed to have longevity were the ones who’d spent quite a bit of time learning about what they were doing before they made it.”
“At one point in the mid-Eighties I shared a promoter with the Smiths. One night, we were sitting backstage when Morrissey burst in, utterly distraught, sobbing his heart out. Turns out someone had thrown a sausage at him on stage during ‘Meat Is Murder.’”
“And like the old stereotype, I overcame my shyness by making my friends laugh.”
“I think having an outsider’s viewpoint is interesting and good, especially for a comedian.”
“In 1986, I was attacked in the street as I helped Neil Mullarkey from the Comedy Store Players to put up posters. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time – midnight – and we were English. I got kicked in the head.”
“In 1987, I was in Edinburgh doing my first one-man show. I took part in a kickabout with some fellow comedians and tripped over my trousers and heard this cracking sound in my leg. A couple of days later I went into a coma and was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.”
“Am I allowed to call myself working-class now? Because obviously I’m now very rich.”
“I was trying to organise my DVDs into a sort of chronological order, and I am afraid that it all trailed off after the Sixties.”
“I’ll never forget my first experience of swede. It was at school and I thought I was getting mashed potato. I’ve never got over it.”
“When I used to do the Edinburgh Festival, there was a bunch of guys selling fresh oysters and I’d eat ten daily – marvellous.”
“Beginning with a trip out to Ellis Island, I saw for myself where thousands of European immigrants took their first steps onto American soil, bringing with them nothing but their ambition: people such as Erich von Stroheim and Adolph Zukor.”
“There’s something magical about film, it’s the ultimate for me, because it’s kind of permanent – inasmuch as anything is. When I went to see Buster Keaton when I was about 14 and I came out of the cinema having really laughed at this film which had been made 50 years before, I thought: That’s immortality. It’s fantastic.”
“I have never sold my story, done ‘Hello!’ magazine, any of that stuff. I’m not guilty of exploiting my private life for cash and then saying, ‘Oh, I don’t want to talk about my private life.’ I’ve never crossed that line.”
“I was flying to the Maldives in 2000 when the plane went through turbulence – after that, I didn’t fly for four years. Then a job came up in India, so I did a simulator flight and learnt about what goes on in the cockpit. I’m fine now.”
“All disc jockeys are without talent. Noel Edmonds – I can’t stand Noel Edmonds.”
“I don’t always vote in general elections, but I think I’ve always voted Labour.”
“I really don’t take any interest at all in contemporary comedy.”
“I remember being fascinated by the very nature of comedy from the age of 10; why is this funny, and that isn’t?”
“I’ve never been disappointed by politicians. I’ve never invested that much in them in the first place.”
“In fact, I don’t watch a lot of contemporary comedy for fear of being influenced by it.”
“Generally speaking, politicians are an odd bunch. They seem to have very thick skins and genuinely don’t care what people think. And charm is a very important part of the politician’s armoury. I try to resist that kind of charm.”
“The economics favour one-man comedy shows: all you need is one person, a microphone and a PA system. But I’m pleased so many people are making a living out of comedy – it’s a wonderful business to be in.”
“I never give anyone advice: it can backfire horribly. In the 1950s, Eric Morecambe told Ken Dodd to get his teeth fixed. But those teeth turned out to be one of Dodd’s big selling points.”
“I was never one to go up to someone as a five- or six-year-old and say, ‘Hello, my name’s Paul, will you be my friend?’ But I found if I did an impression of the PE teacher or whatever and people laughed, then they did like me, and so then they started talking to me, rather than me making the initial overture and then maybe being rebuffed.”
“It seems like a contradiction, but the shy person who is a performer actually does make sense, because in a way, when you’re young and shy, making people laugh is a good way to make friends. It’s an instant connection.”
“When I was nine I spent a lot of my time reading books about the history of comedy, or listening to the Goons or Hancock, humour from previous generations.”

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