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What’s a one-liner?

A one-liner is a concise and witty statement that aims to evoke humor or make a clever observation. It typically consists of a single line or sentence, hence the name “one-liner.” What sets a one-liner apart from a riddle or a joke is its brevity and directness. Here are some distinguishing features:

1. Brevity: One-liners are short and to the point, often delivering the punchline immediately without much buildup or storytelling.

2. Cleverness: They rely on clever wordplay, double meanings, or unexpected twists to create humor. The humor is often derived from a clever observation about everyday life or a surprising connection between ideas.

3. Format: They are structured as a single sentence or line, making them quick and easy to deliver. This format contrasts with jokes, which may involve a setup and punchline, and riddles, which pose a question or problem to be solved.

4. Directness: One-liners aim for an immediate laugh or reaction, often relying on the audience’s quick recognition of the humor or irony present in the statement.

In essence, while jokes and riddles can also be witty and humorous, one-liners distinguish themselves by their economy of words and directness in delivering humor or making a clever observation.

Jokes can have a set-up and a punchline while a one liner achieves the joke without the set up. They are very clever because of that.

Steven Wright’s Funniest One-Liners

Steven Wright was one of the best observational one-liner comedians of all time. His observations were poignant, clever and always clean. Here are 65 of some of his funniest one-liners:

  1. I spilled spot remover on my dog, now he’s gone.
  2. What’s another word for Thesaurus?
  3. If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving isn’t for you.
  4. I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.
  5. Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time
  6. Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.
  7. There’s a fine line between fishing and stand on the shore like an idiot.
  8. It’s a small world, I wouldn’t want to have to paint it.
  9. If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?
  10. I think it’s wrong that only one company makes Monopoly.
  11. When I die, I’m leaving my body to science fiction.
  12. Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that black box stuff?
  13. A clear conscience is usually a good sign of a bad memory.
  14. I went to the General store, they wouldn’t let me buy anything specific.
  15. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
  16. I bought some instant water, but I didn’t know what to add.
  17. How young can you die of old age?
  18. It doesn’t matter what temperature the room is, it’s always room temperature.
  19. I drive way to fast to worry about cholesterol.
  20. What a nice night for an evening.
  21. All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.
  22. My friend George is an AM radio DJ and when he walks under a bridge, you can’t hear him.
  23. I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues in all the other museums.
  24. I installed a skylight in my apartment and made the people who live above me furious.
  25. I’m going to get an MRI to find out whether or not I have claustrophobia.
  26. Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.
  27. If it’s a penny for your thoughts and then you put your two cents in, somebody somewhere is making a penny.
  28. I’m addicted to placebos.
  29. I put instant coffee in a microwave and almost went back in time.
  30. Ok, what’s the speed of dark?
  31. I watched the Indy 500 and I was thinking if they left earlier, they wouldn’t have to go so fast.
  32. I bought some batteries but they weren’t included.
  33. In Vegas I got into an argument with a man at the roulette wheel about what I considered to be an odd number.
  34. If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest have to drown too?
  35. I was trying to daydream but my mind kept wandering.
  36. I saw a bank that said, “24-hour banking” but I don’t have that much time.
  37. I had to stop driving my car for a while, because the tires got dizzy.
  38. I invented the cordless extension cord.
  39. Why do irons have a setting for permanent press?
  40. I look like a casual laid-back guy, but it’s like a circus in my head.
  41. Sometimes I wish that my first word was ‘quote ,’ that way on my death bed my last words could be ‘end quote.’
  42. If you tell a joke in the forest and nobody laughs, is it a joke?
  43. If you had a million Shakespeares, could they write like a monkey?
  44. My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted.
  45. So do you live around here often?
  46. If you can’t hear me it’s because I’m in parentheses.
  47. Do you think when they asked George Washington for ID, he just whipped out a quarter?
  48. I like to reminisce with people I don’t know.
  49. If God dropped acid, would he see people?
  50. If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?
  51. If a word in the dictionary was misspelled how would we know?
  52. I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second.
  53. Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?
  54. Cross country skiing is great if you live in a small country.
  55. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
  56. I replaced the headlights on my car with strobe lights, so it looks like I’m the only one moving.
  57. The ice cream truck in my neighborhood plays Helter Skelter.
  58. My grandmother is also insane, she’s got pierced hearing aids.
  59. My brother was a clown for the Ringling Brothers Circus and when he died all his friends went to the funeral in one car.
  60. I remember when I was a fetus I used to sneak out at night when my mother was sleeping.
  61. If I ever had twins, I would use one for parts.
  62. I wrote a few children’s books… not on purpose.
  63. I was arrested for lip-syncing Karaoke.
  64. Every morning I get up and make instant coffee so I’ll have enough energy to make the regular coffee.
  65. I woke up and was folding my bed back into a couch and I almost broke both my arms because it’s not one of those beds.

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Jerry Corley
Jerry Corley

Jerry Corley is a professional comedian of nearly 30 years, working nearly every venue imaginable.

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