Quotations by Allen, Steve


Tragedy plus time equals comedy.

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Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
“Steve Allen’s Almanac,” Cosmopolitan (Feb 1957)

Similar formulations have been made by Carol Burnett, Lenny Bruce, Bob Newhart, and Woody Allen. For more discussion see here.
Added on 29-Dec-16 | Last updated 29-Dec-16
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Nothing is better than the unintended humor of reality.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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One of the nice things about problems is that a good many of them do not exist except in our imaginations.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
(Attributed)

Quoted in Reader's Digest (Nov 1989)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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We are entitled to make almost any reasonable assumption, but should resist making conclusions until evidence requires that we do so.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Men will take almost any kind of criticism except the observation that they have no sense of humor.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Do not allow children to mix your martini. It is unseemly and they use too much vermouth.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Dec-08 | Last updated 20-Dec-08
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The purpose of having an open mind is the same as having an open mouth, the object being eventually to close it on something solid. But one should never close either mind or mouth until the general circumstances of the moment make it reasonable to do so.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
(Attributed)
Added on 14-Jul-09 | Last updated 14-Jul-09
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Humor is a social lubricant that helps us get over some of the bad spots.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
(Attributed)
Added on 17-Dec-09 | Last updated 17-Dec-09
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Without laughter life on our planet would be intolerable. So important is laughter to us that humanity highly rewards members of one of the most unusual professions on earth, those who make a living by inducing laughter in others. This is very strange if you stop to think of it: that otherwise sane and responsible citizens should devote their professional energies to causing others to make sharp, explosive, barking-like exhalations.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
Funny People, Introduction (1981)
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Added on 12-Feb-21 | Last updated 12-Feb-21
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Ideas have consequences, and totally erroneous ideas are likely to have destructive consequences.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
More Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality, “Authenticity of the Bible” (1993)
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Added on 26-Feb-21 | Last updated 26-Feb-21
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The Bible has been interpreted to justify such evil practices as, for example, slavery, the slaughter of prisoners of war, the sadistic murders of women believed to be witches, capital punishment for hundreds of offenses, polygamy, and cruelty to animals. It has been used to encourage belief in the grossest superstition and to discourage the free teaching of scientific truths. We must never forget that both good and evil flow from the Bible. It is therefore not above criticism.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
More Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality, Introduction (1993)
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Added on 7-Aug-20 | Last updated 7-Aug-20
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To those who wish to punish others — or at least to see them punished, if the avengers are too cowardly to take matters into their own hands — the belief in a fiery, hideous hell appears to be a great source of comfort.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality, “Hell” (1990)
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Added on 19-Feb-21 | Last updated 19-Feb-21
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There are hundreds of millions who believe the Messiah has come. If he did, then it is unfortunately the case that his heroic sacrifice and death have had no effect whatsoever on the very problem his coming might have been expected to address, for history demonstrates, beyond question, that we Christians have been just as dangerous, singly and en masse, as non-Christians.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
The Bible, Religion, and Morality (1990)
Added on 7-Nov-08 | Last updated 7-Nov-08
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To those who wish to punish others — or at least to see them punished, if the avengers are too cowardly to take matters into their own hands — the belief in a fiery, hideous hell appears to be a great source of comfort.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
The Bible, Religion, and Morality (1990)
Added on 9-Dec-08 | Last updated 9-Dec-08
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The Bible has been interpreted to justify such evil practices as, for example, slavery, the slaughter of prisoners of war, the sadistic murders of women believed to be witches, capital punishment for hundreds of offenses, polygamy, and cruelty to animals. It has been used to encourage belief in the grossest superstition and to discourage the free teaching of scientific truths. We must never forget that both good and evil flow from the Bible. It is therefore not above criticism.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
The Bible, Religion, and Morality (1990)
Added on 5-Jan-09 | Last updated 5-Jan-09
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Religious believers of the world, you are free to continue to debate the simple, narrow question that divides you from atheists, but you have no right, in so doing, to treat the Humanists of the world with contempt. You owe them a deep debt of gratitude, for not only have they shed much light on a naturally dark world but they have very probably helped civilize your own specific religion.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
Vulgarians at the Gate (2001)
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Added on 5-Feb-21 | Last updated 5-Feb-21
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No philosophy, sadly, has all the answers. No matter how assured we may be about certain aspects of our belief, there are always painful inconsistencies, exceptions, and contradictions. This is true in religion as it is in politics, and is self-evident to all except fanatics and the naive.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
Essay, in P. Berman, The Courage of Conviction (1985)
Added on 13-Nov-08 | Last updated 13-Nov-08
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