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Alan King

  • American comedian
  • Born December 26, 1927
  • Died May 9, 2004

Alan King (born Irwin Alan Kniberg; December 26, 1927 – May 9, 2004) was an American actor and comedian known for his biting wit and often angry humorous rants. King became well known as a Jewish comedian and satirist. He was also a serious actor who appeared in a number of movies and television shows. King wrote several books, produced films, and appeared in plays. In later years, he helped many philanthropic causes.


I don't mind being 65, but nobody is gonna tell me to come in at 5:30 to have the early bird special.




As you get older, as you become more sensitive, feel more, it becomes harder to make jokes. You censor yourself.




Smoked salmon is for dinner. Belly lox is for breakfast. Don't get that mixed up.




There's a charm, there's a rhythm, there's a soul to Jewish humor. When I first saw Richard Pryor perform, I told him, 'You're doing a Jewish act.'




A summary of every Jewish holiday: They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat!




I'm only... I'm only unhappy when the reviews are bad, but give me a good review and I'm a... I'm just screaming all over the place with joy.




Everything my mother made had to cook for 80 hours, and when she made matzoh balls she didn't know fluffy. Everything sank.




I learned to cook in self-defense. My wife doesn't know what a kitchen is. In the first month of our marriage, she broiled lamb chops 26 nights in a row. Then I took over. I used to mind her not caring about food, but no more - as long as I can eat what I want.




There's nobody to believe in anymore, nobody to trust.




We get the worrywart, the hypochondriac, the money-grubbing miser, the intractable negotiator... Some would say certain of these refer to the stereotypical, or 'stage' Jew. But objectively speaking, the only crime in humor is an unfunny joke.




Did you hear the one about the elderly Jew on his deathbed who sent for a priest, after declaring to his astonished relatives that 'I want to convert.' Asked why he would become a Catholic, after living all his life as a Jew, he answered: 'Better one of them should die than one of us.'




Banks have a new image. Now you have 'a friend,' your friendly banker. If the banks are so friendly, how come they chain down the pens?




Milton took vaudeville, which, if you look up 'vaudeville' in the dictionary, right alongside of it, it says 'Milton Berle' - and he made it just a tremendous party.




When I was in the hospital they gave me apple juice every morning, even after I told them I didn't like it. I had to get even. One morning, I poured the apple juice into the specimen tube. The nurse held it up and said, 'It's a little cloudy.' I took the tube from her and said, 'Let me run it through again,' and drank it. The nurse fainted.




I think one of the big things about comedy is the ability for the audience to identify.




When I read Dickens for the first time, I thought he was Jewish, because he wrote about oppression and bigotry, all the things that my father talked about.




Comedy is an amazing calling. Once you get that first laugh, it's hard to turn away. Then, of course, you're hooked and you have to learn how to survive in the business.




The ability to absorb a book and make someone else's words and story your own was exactly was I was doing on stage.




Performing is just standing up there and doing something. Performance takes on an edge to it. It has a more dramatic context.




My brother is the youngest member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. And I wouldn't let him cut my nails.




Marriage is nature's way of keeping us from fighting with strangers.




Right when I started in show... Milton Berle was my first idol. When I was a kid, I went to see Milton at Lowe's State, and I never laughed so much, and I said, 'That's who I want to be; that's what I want to be.'




If you stop and think about it, nearly all great humor is at the expense of someone or something.




I was a high school throw-out.




My father was a dreamer - my hero. He was a smart, tough guy from Poland, a cutter of lady's handbags, an old socialist-unionist who always considered himself a failure. His big line was: 'Don't end up like me.'




If you want to read about love and marriage, you've got to buy two separate books.




Age, style, where you come from, where you were born, it's different every time, which, to me, is refreshing because it says that there isn't any one thing, one formula or kind of character that makes a great comedian. Everybody has had a different approach.




Ed Sullivan brought me to TV first in 1952, then Garry Moore's program gave me a lot of confidence and freedom.




Museums are good things, places to look and absorb and learn.




You do live longer with bran, but you spend the last fifteen years on the toilet.




Let's face it: It's difficult enough to be funny without worrying about what is going to offend whom.




When I was a kid, I used to send away for those ventriloquist kits on the back of comic books.




As a parent, I'd - I'd be a better father.




Comedy is a reflection. We create nothing. We set no styles, no standards. We're reflections. It's a distorted mirror in the fun house. We watch society. As society behaves, then we have the ability to make fun of it.




My favorite way to spend Saturday is in and out of bed, watching sports on TV and eating.




I won't eat in a place that has suits of armor.



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