Article image

The Best One-Liner Jokes From Comedy Legends

Comedy has existed as a form of storytelling for millennia: The oldest-known joke — about flatulence, no less — dates as far back as 1900 BCE. Since then, humor has evolved and gone through countless iterations: monologues, slapstick physical performances, observations and rants, deadpan deliveries, and, of course, the traditional one-liners.

Relying on wordplay, irony, or unexpected twists, these whip-smart witticisms usually deliver a setup and punchline within just a few short words. In the 1980s, the one-liner joke started to fall out of favor as “alternative” comedians fostered more nuanced and long-form deliveries — but the classics, as they say, never go out of style.

Here are 15 of the best one-liners from timeless talents such as Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, Steven Wright, and more.

When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.
Rodney Dangerfield

Share Quote

My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said, “No, but I want a regular banana later, so … yeah.”
Mitch Hedberg

Share Quote

I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso.
Rita Rudner

Share Quote

I saw a bank that said “24-hour banking,” but I don’t have that much time.
Steven Wright

Share Quote

My father always used to say, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Until the accident.
Jimmy Carr

Share Quote

Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.
Paula Poundstone

Share Quote

A good rule to remember for life is that when it comes to plastic surgery and sushi, never be attracted by a bargain.
Graham Norton

Share Quote

If I had a bookstore, I would make all the mystery novels hard to find.
Demetri Martin

Share Quote

You can’t lose a homing pigeon. If your homing pigeon doesn’t come back, then what you’ve lost is a pigeon.
Sara Pascoe

Share Quote

Pie can't compete with cake. Put candles in a cake, it's a birthday cake. Put candles in a pie, and somebody's drunk in the kitchen.
Jim Gaffigan

Share Quote

Why do dogs always race to the door when the doorbell rings? It’s almost never for them.
Norm MacDonald

Share Quote

I'm going to get married again because I'm more mature now, and I need some kitchen stuff.
Wendy Liebman

Share Quote

I hate housework. You make the beds, you do the dishes, and six months later, you have to start all over again.
Joan Rivers

Share Quote

My doctor told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel 10 years older already.
Milton Berle

Share Quote

I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.
Groucho Marx

Share Quote

Featured image credit: George Rose/ Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Author image
About the Author
Nicole Villeneuve
Nicole is a writer, thrift store lover, and group-chat meme spammer based in Ontario, Canada.
Play more header background
Play more icon
Daily Question
What poet wrote, "Merge mercy with might, and might with right"?

More Inspiration

happiness theme icon

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

separator icon
Yoko Ono
motivation theme icon

Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive.

separator icon
Hafez
hope theme icon

Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.

separator icon
Stephen King
love theme icon

Life goes by fast. Enjoy it. Calm down. It's all funny.

separator icon
Joan Rivers
wisdom theme icon

When I grow up, I’m gonna look up from my phone and see my life.

separator icon
Phoebe Bridgers
happiness theme icon

The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

separator icon
Paulo Coelho
motivation theme icon

Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.

separator icon
Abigail Adams
hope theme icon

The heart is wiser than the intellect.

separator icon
Josiah Gilbert Holland
love theme icon

With confidence, you have won before you have started.

separator icon
Marcus Garvey
wisdom theme icon

Only the curious have something to find.

separator icon
Sean Watkins
happiness theme icon

It's only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.

separator icon
Margaret Wander Bonanno