From Steven Wright:

Comic Master of Twisted Logic and Word Play

The following humorous quotes have been attributed to Steven Wright, and may or may not actually be his inventions. (Position cursor over blank to reveal each joke's punchline.)

  1. All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.
  2. I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.
  3. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
  4. How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?
  5. Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.
  6. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
  7. What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
  8. If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
  9. Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.
  10. I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.
  11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
  12. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
  13. My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted.
  14. I'm suffering from amnesia and déja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.
  15. What's another word for Thesaurus?
  16. You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
  17. I bought a million lottery tickets. I won a dollar.
  18. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I wear my liver on my pant leg.
  19. Smoking cures weight problems, eventually.
  20. I went to a garage sale. "How much for the garage?" It's not for sale.
  21. I had some eyeglasses. I was walking down the street when suddenly the prescription ran out.
  22. I was in the first submarine. Instead of a periscope, they had a kaleidoscope. We're surrounded!
  23. When I turned two I was really anxious because I'd doubled my age in a year. I thought, if this keeps up, by the time I'm six I'll be ninety.
  24. Sponges grow in the ocean. That just kills me. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn't happen.
  25. There was a power outage at a department store yesterday. Twenty people were trapped on the escalators.
  26. I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.
  27. For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier...I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.
  28. Ever notice how irons have a setting for *permanent* press? I don't get it.
  29. Today I dialed a wrong number. The other person said, "Hello?" and I said, "Hello, could I speak to Joey?" They said, "Uh... I don't think so... he's only 2 months old." I said, I'll wait.
  30. I installed a skylight in my apartment. The people who live above me are furious!
  31. I have a microwave fireplace in my house. The other night I lay down in front of the fire for the evening in two minutes.
  32. I went to the hardware store and bought some used paint. It was in the shape of a house.
  33. I also bought some batteries, but they weren't included. So I had to buy them again.
  34. I play the harmonica. The only way I can play is if I get my car going really fast and stick the harmonica out the window. I put a new engine in my car, but I forgot to take the old one out. Now my car goes 500 miles per hour. The harmonica sounds amazing.
  35. One time a cop pulled me over for running a stop sign. He said, "Didn't you see the stop sign?" I said, Yeah, but I don't believe everything I read.
  36. When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, "Did you sleep good?" I said, No, I made a few mistakes.
  37. I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.
  38. I bought a dog the other day. I named him Stay. It's fun to call him, "Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" He went insane. Now he just ignores me and keeps typing.
  39. I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add to it.


Both paradoxes and vicious circles exemplify irony through contradictions. Practice in recognizing the difference between paradoxes and vicious circles will give you a deeper understanding of how irony works.


Choose one answer for each of the pull-down menus. Do not submit your quiz until you have chosen all the answers. Wrong answers will be marked with a check mark in the left check box. Identify each expression as either a paradox or a vicious circle:

1. The help I need most urgently is help in admitting that I need help. 

2. A man who fears suffering is already suffering what he fears. 

3. No answer is also an answer. 

4. The kind of danger I most enjoy is the kind I can watch from a safe place. 

5. We are going to have peace, even if we have to fight for it. 

6. Art is the lie that enables us to see the truth. 

7. This statement is false. 

8. Too much planning can mean too little doing. 

9. I shut my eyes in order to see. 

10. The thing we run from is the thing we run to. 


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