‘Parental Guidance’ combines comedy and pathos in the best way.
A laugh is a weird sound, and when you get a couple thousand people making it at once, it’s really strange. But when I can feel proud of myself for causing it, it’s great.
Ali forced us to take a look at ourselves. This brash young man who thrilled us, angered us, confused and challenged us, ultimately became a silent messenger of peace who taught us that life is best when you build bridges between people, not walls.
All that time, you go, ‘God, am I slipping away here?’ And then something great happens, you get a call, and work begets more work.
As I sit here writing and look across the room at Janice, I keep thinking of the most heartbreaking question: which of us will go first?
As a comedian, you have everything working against you.
As far as the media goes, I’m driving in the left lane at 28 miles an hour.
At 60, I could do the same things I could do at 30, if I could only remember what those things are.
Bambi, to a kid, was scary.
Believe me, happiness is not ticking off Walter Cronkite.
Can you imagine if Babe Ruth had had Twitter?
Change is such hard work.
Dad had a music store, and he’d often bring home comedy albums that I would listen to. I started listening to Bob Newhart and Bill Cosby, and developing taste. They really influenced my style of comedy.
Doing my Broadway show ‘700 Sundays’ reminded me how much I love working in front of an audience.
Even when I was in school shows, in elementary school doing plays, I’d always go off book and start improvising.
From the first time I saw Sid Caesar be funny I knew that’s what I had to do.
Gentlemen, start your egos.
Humans love sex, we need sex, it’s how we connect, it reminds us we’re alive, it’s the third most basic human need, after food and good movie popcorn.
I can always say I led off for the New York Yankees. It’s an amazing feeling.
I can’t be funny if my feet don’t feel right.
I can’t bear to think of life without Janice. I want to go first because I don’t want to miss her, because that would be a pain far worse than any death.
I could always improvise. Some of my teachers remember me standing in front of the class with a flower on my head, talking about photosynthesis. I’d stop and say, ‘Is this working for any of you?’ The kids were like, ‘What is he doing?’
I didn’t rebel as a child. I missed that angry teenager thing.
I don’t go to any of the big Academy parties while the show is on because, invariably, it turns to people watching me watch the host, and it’s not comfortable. I watch at home and hope the show gets to be really good.
I don’t know what I would have done to rebel. I don’t know what I was rebelling against.
I don’t like to watch my work after I do it because it just – I’ll always look at the wrong things.
I have performed my one-man show ‘700 Sundays’ over 400 times now. There were only two times that I can honestly say I was nervous. The first was when I knew Mel Brooks was in the audience, and the second was when Sid Caesar came.
I have to admit, I was a little bit of a misfit.
I love Mickey Mantle. Would I have felt the same if I had known when I was eight years old what I know now?
I never felt I had my 15, 16, 17 kind of years the way I maybe should have. It’s a huge dent in you that it’s hard to knock out and make it all smooth again.
I never missed a birthday. I never missed a school play. We carpooled. And the greatest compliment I can ever get is not about my career or performance or anything; it’s when people say, ‘You know, your girls are great.’ That’s the real thing for me.
I never stopped believing in us, and I never felt like I was wanting for anything, except for my father, and that was not going to be.
I never worry that I’ll die in my sleep, because I’m never asleep!
I pride myself in being able to survive just about any situation on stage now. I can handle pressure.
I really could’ve been a good student, but I was always hearing an imaginary audience.
I started writing in 1948 – basically.
I still don’t love the darkness, though I’ve learned to smile in it a little bit, now and then.
I think I’ve far exceeded what I ever thought I could possibly do.
I think it’s like a relay race. You run, and you hand over the baton, and your kids pick it up. They take the stuff they want, throw the rest away, and keep running. That’s what life is about.
I was a film-directing major at NYU. I’m still not sure why I became a directing major, when I was really an actor and a comedian, but there was something that drew me to doing that.
I was a good baseball player. I still play a couple of times a week as part of my daily workout. Just throwing the ball, running around, fielding ground balls, you know. It’s better to me than being on a treadmill or some sort of Zumba class.
I was a per diem floater in the same junior high school I went to. I sat in the office and made $42.50 a day, and whenever a teacher was absent, I’d substitute. I taught everything from English to auto shop.
I was always looking for something else to do most of the time, until I got into the acting program. Then, I really found myself.
I was raised mostly by my mom.
I watch old ‘Truth or Consequences’ on Hulu. ‘Concentration.’ And ‘The Match Game’ with Gene Rayburn.
I went to my first game May 30, 1956, and Mantle was in the beginnings of his Triple Crown season. And he was drop-dead handsome.
I’d like to think there is a Heaven, and it starts from the happiest day in your life.
I’d stand on a coffee table, and my cousin Edith would give me dimes, and you put the dimes on your head… And when your forehead was full, show was over.
I’m a baby. I sleep like a baby – I’m up every two hours. And I think a lot. I worry a lot. I have great nights of no sleep where ideas come.
I’m almost shocked that I’m still around after all of these years… and always grateful that I get another turn to do something.
I’m comfortable being old… being black… being Jewish.
I’m going to go on just living and laughing and loving.
I’m proud that I have done so many different kinds of things and maintained an amazing family. And I think that’s the joy: that I’ve been able to have everything.
I’ve known Kareem since I was kid. He lived in Manhattan, but my best friend used to go to high school with him, and he was in my house the day I graduated from high school in 1965.
I’ve never looked at – with the exception of little snippets – very much of anything I’ve done in the last 15, 20 years.
I’ve said, I never thought I rebelled. I never – I don’t think I’ve ever had that period. You know, I just had to do what I had to do. You know, I was a good kid.
I’ve worn down America.
In my standup work, I always do these characters, older people who are just off to the side. It’s easier to write a story about the guy who made it to the top, but the middle is so much more interesting, so much more murky.
In the late 1960s, I was working as an usher for the New York stage production of ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.’
It is great seeing the fruits of your labor. The joy I have in watching my daughters with their kids is great, because they’re doing a wonderful job, and the kids are fantastic.
It took five years to get ‘Parental Guidance’ made, and it was a fight every second.
It’s like being a gym rat, but you’re a theater rat, and then that becomes your fraternity house. That becomes your extended family.
Kids need a happy household. They need to be loved and supported in their dreams. And I don’t think you can make your kids’ dreams your own. They need you to support them in their dreams.
Losing my parents, who I admired, loved and needed, it took a long time to be able to move on.
Mom was so funny and loving to us kids. She was our first audience. When my dad died, I was suddenly alone in the house with her because my two older brothers were away at college. I was the man of the house, and she was the grieving woman.
Mr. Hitchcock knew what he was doing.
Muhammad Ali struck us in the middle of America’s darkest night, in the heart of its most threatening gathering storm. His power toppled the mightiest of foes, and his intense light shined on America, and we were able to see clearly injustice, inequality, poverty, pride, self realization, courage, laughter, love, joy and religious freedom for all.
My Aunt Sheila was terrifying! She would put a napkin in her mouth and say, ‘You’ve got something on your face, dear. Let me just scratch that off your face. Let me sand your cheek.’
My dad died when I was 15 and worked way too much.
My dad had two, sometimes three jobs. Besides running the Commodore Music Shop in Manhattan, he did jazz concerts, and he ran this great jazz label, Commodore.
My dad, Jack, had a great sense of humour and had a strong impact on me and my humour.
My girls turned out great.
My granddaughter’s birth has made me want to create things she will love.
My grandparents invented joylessness. They were not fun. I’ve already had more fun with my grandchildren than my grandparents ever had with me.
My mind is always going. I’m always thinking what I need to do, what I haven’t done, what I did do, what I didn’t do as well as I could – I’m relentless that way with myself.
My mum, Helen, was hilarious. She had a tremendous sense of humour and was a great singer and tap dancer. For many years, she was the voice of Minnie Mouse in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She would be in the float as it came along, singing whatever the Minnie Mouse song of the day was. She was a really big spirit in my life.
My older brother Joel became an art teacher; my brother Rip ultimately became a television producer and singer and actor himself.
My parents always looked like they loved being together. That’s what I took from them, and that’s how my wife and I are. I still feel like we’re dating.
No disrespect to Sweden: I didn’t think of them as the comedy universe.
Nobody is more truthful when he’s acting than De Niro.
Nothing takes the sting out of these tough economic times like watching a bunch of millionaires giving golden statues to each other.
Of course my uncle was a giant, but my dad, in particular, had the house filled with these great Dixieland jazz stars, really the best of them: Henry Red Allen, Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith, Buster Bailey, Cutty Cutshall, Tyree Glenn, Zutty Singleton. These are all big names in the Dixieland world.
One night, I wrote down all the things I was waiting to do with my little granddaughter, and it became a book, ‘I Already Know I Love You.’ It was one of those really lovely things in life.
Only once in a thousand years or so do we get to hear a Mozart or see a Picasso or read a Shakespeare. Ali was one of them, and yet at his heart, he was still a kid from Louisville who ran with the gods and walked with the crippled and smiled at the foolishness of it all.
Our professor was Marty Scorsese. Marty was a graduate student, or Mr. Scorsese, which is what I had to call him, and still do when I see him ’cause he gave me a C.
People are always telling you you’re done. Someone’s always telling you that, especially now in the day of social media.
Performing was how I was able to release this pain I had.
President Clinton knew the course and goes, ‘Here’s what you want to do here.’ By the fourth hole, you wanted to hit him with your putter.
Rehearsals are for gags.
Since I got into the movies, ‘Running Scared,’ that did $40 million. ‘Princess Bride,’ I got good reviews for the character Miracle Max. ‘Memories of Me’ didn’t do well. ‘Throw Mama from the Train’ did $70 million. ‘Harry and Sally’ did 95 or 96. ‘City Slickers’ did $120 million.
That whole concept of ‘I want to really go after people’ – I don’t understand that. Is it a roast, or is it an awards show?
That’s still the greatest high, that feeling of being in control of 2,000 people. It’s me and them, and I like the odds. It’s not even so much the funny. It’s getting them quiet. In the quiet moments in ‘700 Sundays,’ I just really love that they’re getting moved.
That’s the thing about jazz: it’s free flowing, it comes from your soul.
That’s the thing that I’m really most proud of: that I’m still… people still would like to see me. I love seeing them.
The Academy and the Oscars have been very gracious to me.
The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower. They’re monumental. They’re straight out of Page 52 in your school history book.
The death of Sid Caesar on Wednesday caused a chain reaction in my soon-to-be-66-year-old mind. I was saddened, of course, but felt a sense of relief that he was at last free from the indignity of aging.
The decision-making process was very difficult: is this how I want my career to start, with playing Jodie Dallas on this show?
The truth is, in this age of Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat, we know way too much about athletes – and it’s their fault.
There are all these things I want to accomplish. We never know how long we’re going to get.
There used to be that you only had four or five critics that you would look to for intelligent conversation, but now there are millions of people who can just press ‘send,’ and everyone’s got an opinion even if no one cares what they say. It makes things a little bit tougher.
Time scares me: having enough time to do all the things that I want to do in life, just even in terms of forgetting about the business I’m in.
To be good, you need to believe in what you’re doing.
To me, little Mike Wazowski is one of the best characters I ever got to play because he was funny. He was outrageous. He got angry. He was romantic. He was a full, well-rounded character.
To this day, with all of these muscle-bound guys, nobody hit the ball further than Mickey Mantle, with his natural strength.
Two things I really wanted to be: a stand-up comic or a New York Yankee – or a really funny New York Yankee.
We’re in this together. We are Americans. We all have to do the best we can. And we will because that’s who we are.
We’re seeing this disintegration of the family movie into these blockbuster things that kids should not be exposed to with explosions, carnage and violence.
Well, the way things are going, aside from wheat and auto parts, America’s biggest export is now the Oscar.
What life throws at you – you just have to learn how to hit it, which is a baseball metaphor. The ball’s outside, you hit to the right. You don’t let them go by.
What passes for sports coverage is terribly sycophantic.
What’s so fascinating and frustrating and great about life is that you’re constantly starting over, all the time, and I love that.
Whatever it is that’s bothering me – interacting with annoying guy at a restaurant, contemplating my age, or losing friends to illness – I’ll start to chip away at it. If you can poke holes in it, it’s not as formidable; it’s not as scary, and ultimately, it becomes another truth.
When I first started, there were, like… two or three critics that you thought, ‘Alright, I hope I get a good review from them.’ And now there’s millions of them.
When I was about 21 and just about to get out of college at NYU, Vietnam was raging, and I was a frustrated musician for a little bit.
When I was growing up in the house, we’d watch the Oscars.
When I’m not thrilled, I get funny.
When you’re 65, you’re surprised by what turns you on.
When you’re the host of the Academy Awards, and you grew up watching Bob Hope and Johnny Carson, and now it’s your turn, and you get a chance to run with the baton on the relay for a while, I really embraced it and just really loved being there.
Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.
You don’t want to wait for that aged jockey role.
You have to really respect what your kids are doing with their kids and how they’re raising them. You can’t push your way into areas where you shouldn’t be saying anything. You have to always remember they’re not your own kids. Play with them, love them, spoil them to death – then hand them back.
You really have to have some muscle to be on the stage in front of the world.
Your first friends are your truest friends, I find. And the ones that stick are really special.
Your success is in your point of view. It’s your life that you’re talking about; it’s your observations. That’s the best lesson that I ever had.
Quotes by Billy Crystal
Quotes by Billy Crystal
‘Parental Guidance’ combines comedy and pathos in the best way.