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Red Skelton quotes

Older Red Skelton wearing a banana nose

Quotes from Red Skelton on clowns, laughter, children, and other topics.   Some quotes from Red Skelton’s TV show, others from interviews with Red

  • “God’s children and their happiness are my reasons for being”
  • “I don’t want to be called “the greatest” or “one of the greatest”; let other guys claim to be the best. I just want to be known as a clown because to me that’s the height of my profession. It means you can do everything-sing, dance, and above all, make people laugh.”
  • “Today’s comics use four-letter words as a shortcut to thinking. They’re shooting for that big laugh and it becomes a panic thing, using four-letter words to shock people.”
  • “Mom used to say I didn’t run away from home my destiny just caught up with me at an early age.”
  • “I would define a clown as one who re-enacts in an exaggerated way scenes from real life.  These, then, become funny or sad, depending on their content and on the viewpoint of the audience.  Historically, people of all ages have loved clowns and laughed with them.” (source: A Red Skeleton in Your Closet)
  • Reflecting on his life: “I’d have avoided some of the pain if I could. Anyone would. But I wouldn’t have missed knowing any of the people — even the ones whose leaving hurt most. In fact, the only thing I’m sorry about is that I didn’t meet one particular guy, a clown named Joe Skelton. You know, he sure picked the right profession. I mean, a clown’s got it all. He never has to hold back: He can do as he pleases. The mouth and the eyes are painted on. So if you wanta cry, you can go right ahead. The makeup won’t smear. You’ll still be smiling. . . .”
  • “All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner. ” (from “1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said,” )
  • About Freddie the Freeloader:

    “I get asked all the time; Where did you get the idea for Freddie the Freeloader, and who is Freddie really?Well, I guess you might say that Freddie the Freeloader is a little bit of you, and a little bit of me, a little bit of all of us, you know.He’s found out what love means. He knows the value of time. He knows that time is a glutton. We say we don’t have time to do this or do that. There’s plenty of time. The trick is to apply it. The greatest disease in the world today is procrastination.And Freddie knows about all these things. And so do you.
    He doesn’t ask anybody to provide for him, because it would be taken away from you. He doesn’t ask for equal rights if it’s going to give up some of yours.And he knows one thing … that patriotism is more powerful than guns.He’s nice to everybody because he was taught that man is made in God’s image. He’s never met God in person and the next fella just might be him.I would say that Freddie is a little bit of all of us.” ) from Red Skelton’s Funny Faces III video)

  • “I only come to life when there are people watching.”
  • “I’m nuts and I know it. But so long as I make ’em laugh, they ain’t going to lock me up. “
  • “Our principles are the springs of our actions. Our actions, the springs of our happiness or misery. Too much care, therefore, cannot be taken in forming our principles.”
  • “His death was the first time that Ed Wynn ever made anyone sad.”
  • “No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds.”
  • “I personally believe that each of us was put here for a purpose — to build not to destroy. If I can make people smile, then I have served my purpose for God.”
  • “Live by this credo: have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations.”
  • Comedy is taking the everyday and slightly exaggerating it.” (Red Skelton, 1966, quoted in Red Skelton: The Mask Behind the Mask)