Quotations by Rogers, Will


You know, Percy, everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Defending My Soup Plate Position,” The Illiterate Digest (1924)

A common catch phrase by Rogers. Also quoted in the New York Times (31 Aug 1924).
Added on 23-May-08 | Last updated 29-May-17
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The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don’t know when it’s through if you are a crook or a martyr.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Helping the Girls with Their Income Taxes,” The Illiterate Digest (1924)
Added on 15-Sep-08 | Last updated 31-Oct-16
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More men have been elected between Sundown and Sunup than were ever elected between Sunup and Sundown.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Mr. Ford and Other Political Self-Starters,” The Illiterate Digest (1924)
Added on 18-Nov-09 | Last updated 18-Nov-09
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If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the one who sold it.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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You can’t legislate intelligence and common sense into people.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 6-Jun-08 | Last updated 6-Jun-08
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We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)

Alt.: "We all can't be heroes, for someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."

Added on 13-Jun-08 | Last updated 13-Jun-08
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When the Judgment Day comes civilization will have an alibi, “I never took a human life, I only sold the fellow the gun to take it with.”

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Jun-08 | Last updated 6-Jan-10
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I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)

Quoted in P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton, Bring on the Girls: The Improbable Story of Our Life in Musical Comedy (1953).
Added on 26-Jan-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-17
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This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 10-Oct-08 | Last updated 10-Oct-08
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The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 8-Jan-09 | Last updated 8-Jan-09
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There’s no credit to being a comedian, when you have the whole Government working for you. All you have to do is report the facts. I don’t even have to exaggerate.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)

In P.J. O'Brien, Will Rogers, Ambassador of Good Will, Prince of Wit and Wisdom, ch. 9 (1935)

Added on 24-Feb-09 | Last updated 24-Feb-09
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People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 3-Jan-14 | Last updated 3-Jan-14
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If you want to know when a war might be coming, you just watch the U.S. and see when it starts cutting down on its defenses. It’s the surest barometer in the world.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Bryan B. Sterling, ed., The Best of Will Rogers (1990).
Added on 10-Jan-14 | Last updated 10-Jan-14
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Call me a “rube” and a “hick,” but I’d a lot rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it.

Rogers - Brooklyn Bridge - wist_info quote

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 9-Dec-15 | Last updated 9-Dec-15
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Diplomacy is the art of saying, ‘Nice doggie,’ until you can find a rock.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Misattributed)

Actually said by Wynn Catlin.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Heroing is one of the shortest-lived professions there is.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
New York Times (15 Feb 1925)
Added on 1-Aug-08 | Last updated 1-Aug-08
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You can’t say civilization don’t advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
New York Times (23 Dec 1929)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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I bet you if I had met him and had a chat with him, I would have found him a very interesting and human fellow, for I never yet met a man that I didn’t like.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Saturday Evening Post (6 Nov 1926)


On Leon Trotsky. Earliest formulation of Rogers' motto found in print.

Another cited reference:  "When I die, my epitaph or whatever you call those signs on gravestones is going to read, 'I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident like [sic].' I am so proud of that I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved."
-- Talk at a Boston church (Jun 1930), in Ben Yagoda, Will Rogers: A Biography, ch. 10 (1993)

Added on 1-May-08 | Last updated 6-Jan-10
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The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
St. Petersburg Times (26 Nov 1932)

Article by Rogers.
Added on 11-Feb-13 | Last updated 11-Feb-13
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Boys, have you been following those appropriations? Well, the Secretary of the Treasury has asked Congress to please wait before passing any more appropriations. But Congress says: No! We are going to divide it up now. What do you suppose we are in Congress for, if it ain’t to split up the swag? Please pass the gravy.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
The Autobiography of Will Rogers, 1 Jan 1928 [ed. Donald Day (1949)]

Often paraphrased as "What do you suppose they are in the Congress for, if it ain't to split up the swag?"
Added on 17-Aug-12 | Last updated 17-Aug-12
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For the American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
The Illiterate Digest, “Another Hot Confession in the Oil Scandal” (1924)
Added on 21-Jul-07 | Last updated 5-Feb-15
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The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks the best.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
The Illiterate Digest, “Breaking into the Writing Game” (1924)

Often paraphrased, "The more you observe politics, the more you've got to admit that each party is worse than the other."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
The Illiterate Digest, “The World Tomorrow (After the Manner of Great Journalists)” (1924)
Added on 5-Aug-08 | Last updated 5-Aug-08
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Now everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody Else, but when it happens to you, why it seems to lose some of its Humor, and if it keeps on happening, why the entire laughter kinder Fades out of it.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
The Illiterate Digest, “Warning to Jokers: Lay off the Prince” (1924)
Added on 11-Jul-08 | Last updated 11-Jul-08
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Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
The New York Times (29 Apr 1930)
Added on 2-May-08 | Last updated 2-May-08
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Politics has got so expensive it takes lots of money to even get beat with.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Comment (28 Jun 1931) in The Autobiography of Will Rogers, ed. D. Day (1949)
Added on 14-Jan-09 | Last updated 14-Jan-09
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You’ve got to be optimist to be a Democrat, and you’ve got to be a humorist to stay one.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Good Gulf radio show (24 June 1934)
Added on 16-May-08 | Last updated 16-May-08
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We are here just for a spell and then pass on. So get a few laughs and do the best you can. Live your life so that whenever you lose it, you are ahead.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Inscription on Will Rogers Memorial Building, Clarence, Oklahoma

Unsourced. Variants: "We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can." "We are all here for a short spell; so get all the good laughs you can."

Added on 30-May-08 | Last updated 30-May-08
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A comedian can only last till he either takes himself serious or his audience takes him serious.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Newspaper column (28 Jun 1931)

Rejecting the idea of running for President.
Added on 25-Jun-08 | Last updated 25-Jun-08
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No Nation has a monopoly on good things. Each one has something that the others could well afford to adopt.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Weekly column (30 Nov 1930)
Added on 16-Apr-12 | Last updated 16-Apr-12
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There is nothing as stupid as an educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Weekly column (5 Jul 1931)
Added on 5-Feb-15 | Last updated 5-Feb-15
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