Thursday, September 2, 2010

“TOP 10 'PARAPROSDOKIAN' ONE-LINERS BY COMEDIAN STEVEN WRIGHT: A Labor Day Weekend Treat”

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I bet 1 or 2 of you are Googling “paraprosdokian” right now. Me too. I have no idea what I write sometimes. I’ll save you a Google.

PARAPROSDOKIAN: a figure of speech where the last part of a sentence or phrase is incongruous with the first part. The last part is usually a surprising or unexpected twist. It represents the “incongruity formula” in humor where part 1 is a serious set-up and part 2 is the unexpected punch line. Essentially, the paraprosdokian is the comedian’s classic one-liner.

Examples:
"She got her good looks from her father; he's a plastic surgeon." (Groucho Marks)
“If all the girls at Vassar were laid end to end, I wouldn't be surprised." (Dorothy Parker)
"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else." (Winston Churchill)

You’re in for a treat. I’ve picked 10 of comedian Steven Wright’s one-liners for this blog from a very long list sent to me by my techie friend Bernie Trieber. Wright’s work is splattered all over the Internet if you want more. I hope you haven’t heard of these. Enjoy!

RON’S TOP 10 STEVEN WRIGHT ONE-LINERS:

10. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

9. Do not argue with an idiot; he/she will drag you down to his/her level and beat you with experience.

8. Some people hear voices; some see invisible people; others have no imagination whatsoever.

7. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather; not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

6. The last thing I want to do is hurt you; but it's still on the list.

5. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

4. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

3. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted pay checks.

2. My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion; he said okay, you're ugly too.

AND THE NUMBER 1 PARAPROSDOKIAN:

1. I used to be indecisive; but now I'm not sure.

BONUS 5 MORE:

1. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

2. To be absolutely sure of hitting the target, shoot first, then call whatever you hit—the target.

3. Hospitality is making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.

4. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but touch the wall when you say the paint is wet?

5. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

HAVE A STUPENDOUS HOLIDAY WEEKEND!

COPYRIGHT © 2010 Ronald A. Berk, LLC

2 comments:

  1. Many of those are great one-liners but not paraprosdokians. Maybe you should study the definition a little closer. Certainly, "Essentially, the paraprosdokian is the comedian’s classic one-liner" is a false statement.

    Two of the all-time best examples paraprosdokians are missing from your list:

    Henny Youngman: "Take my wife ... please!"

    Steven Wright: "On the other hand, you have different fingers."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Being of phenomenal mind, I'm usually out of it!

    ReplyDelete