funniest sentence in literature, IMO

Two, that are each two sentences:

Or this version:
Appointment in Samarra

A merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market.
The servant returned, trembling and frightened. The
servant told the merchant, "I was jostled in the market,
turned around, and saw Death.

“Death made a threatening gesture, and I fled in terror.
May I please borrow your horse? I can leave Baghdad
and ride to Samarra, where Death will not find me.”

The master lent his horse to the servant, who rode away,
to Samarra.

Later the merchant went to the market, and saw Death in
the crowd. “Why did you threaten my servant?” He asked.

Death replied,“I did not threaten your servant. It was
merely that I was surprised to see him here in Baghdad,
for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

This has certainly become a classic. I did not know its origin. Thanks!
I don’t ‘get’ your other quote, from The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Would anyone be able to explain?

Also featured in spy thrillers.

I’m not Telemark and I don’t remember the context, but that clever put-down is up there among the most oft-used Internet catch-phrases. People tend to say it on message boards when a poster clearly doesn’t know what a word means and uses it incorrectly, sometimes to hilarious effect.

Vizzini repeatedly says such-and-such outcome is “inconceivable” and then is proven wrong…over and over. Finally, at one point, frustrated yet again, Vizzini screams “INCONCEIVABLE!!!” Inigo says “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Glad I asked, and thanks for your elaboration as well, Endiqua. My library, Muhlenberg College, doesn’t own it, surprisingly. I am very out of touch with film. I have seen almost none since Taxi Driver. I decided then I could live without being gratuitously shocked by Hollywood over and over, and I pretty much stuck to it.

You are right, sorry. I’m planning to reread the entire saga this winter, when the snow sets in. I read it through too fast the first time. (I read 200 books that year.) The stories featuring Death and his attempts to understand humans are my favorites, and the ones featuring Granny Weatherwax are my next favorite.

What about The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents? A larcenous cat, somewhat ethical mice, a spoof on the pied piper of Hamlin, what’s not to like? and perhaps a trace of an homage to a wonderful series of British children’s books, the Chruchmouse series by Graham Oakley, from the 1970’s. Wonderful illustrations with many humorous sub stories in the background of the drawings, while the text story has its own delicious humor.

I cherish my copies, and highly recommend them, whether you you usually care for children’s books or not. These are a treat.

The funniest line I remember is from The Long Walk, by Richard Bachman a.k.a Stephen King. Art Baker is trying to tell a story about his uncle the undertaker and keeps getting interrupted. The dialog goes something like this:

Garrity: I think birth control is a world problem. My girlfriend is a Catholic and…
McVries: I don’t give a fuck if the old gentleman had three cocks! I just want to know who buried your grandfather so we can get on.
Baker: My uncle, my grandfather was a lawyer in Shreveport…
I can’t do it from memory, but the entire exchange was the funniest thing I have read in ever.

SSG Schwartz

The movie is great, but the book is better. Find and read the book.

Two more quotes, again, two sentences:

Off topic: I completely empathesize with your feelings on modern Hollywood films (for the most part - you’ll find a gem every once in a while), but I urge you to check out some of the highly-rated foreign films that have come out over the past couple of decades. No schmaltzy happy endings, no predictability, just intelligent, raw emotional storytelling. Search in CS, start a new thread, or PM me if you want some suggestions.

The book is always better! It’s really hard to find a movie that people like more than the book it was based upon. Exceptions exist (I think we had a thread about this a few months ago), but books have the ability to delve far deeper into a subject than a 90-minute movie ever could.

One of the funniest lines I’ve ever read comes from a book I haven’t read, and might not even fully exist. Why? It was in someone’s Nanowrimo project.

God I wish I’d thought of it first, it would so work in the novel I’m writing.

I’m so glad to hear that, and, I will.

Thank you for the invitation.

I used to fit two books on a floppy diskette, while a movie needs gigabytes. The film is moving pictures with synchonized high quality sound, yet letters on a printed page outclass it almost 100% of the time.

Another from Wodehouse:

Mike nodded. A sombre nod. The nod Napoleon might have given if somebody had met him in 1812 and said, “So, you’re back from Moscow, eh?”.


"His whole attitude recalled irresistibly to the mind that of some assiduous hound who will persist in laying a dead rat on the drawing-room carpet, though repeatedly apprised by word and gesture that the market for same is sluggish or even non-existent. "

I remember this line well and, googling, I see it’s from Code of the Woosters. Many of Wodehouse’s memorable sentences would be interchangeable among his books. My OP example could fit many Wodehouse situations.

Code of the Woosters is a sequel to Right Ho, Jeeves, and they are numbers two and three of a trilogy, but I can never seem to locate the first and right now can’t think of its name. It’s at none of my regular libraries, and I saw it only once, long ago, at a Borders. (I don’t buy books, as a rule.) Right Ho, Jeeves should be read before Code of the Woosters, but it’s certainly not critical, plot-wise – more to get you into the swing of the Wodehouse rhythms so Code of the Woosters, the finest Jeeves and Bertie novel, can be more fully appreciated. I think *Right Ho * is second best. Together or seperately, they are quintessential Wodehouse and archetypal Bertram Wooster and Jeeves.

'The chief demerit of the tortoise as a racing animal is not it’s slowness but the lack of a sense of direction; I had the same problem at school and was often disqualified for fouling the other runners."

I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were
in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they
begot me; had they duly consider’d how much depended upon what they were
then doing;–that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned
in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body,
perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;–and, for aught they knew
to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn
from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;–Had they duly
weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,–I am verily
persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from
that in which the reader is likely to see me.

The first sentence of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne.

Nobody’s mentioned Tom Robbins yet. One of my all-time favorites is from “Still Life With Woodpecker”. IIRC the scene is after a hotel that is holding a convention is bombed.
“People were milling around like bargain-minded lemmings at a suicide sale.”

Good call, I love that book - I remember the passage where they are doing lines of cocaine that Bernard claims is so fine, Ceasar asked for it before dying: “A toot, Brute?” he said. Hee.