Funny Put downs by the famous. l’Esprit d’ escalier

Have you ever found yourself lost for words only to replay the conversation in your mind later and think, 'Now I wish I had said that!' ? The French have a phrase for it: L' Esprit d'escalier - 'The spirit that passes on the staircase'. Some people have a gift that allows them to respond to other people remarkably quickly and often with humour.

Funny Put Downs - L'Esprit d'escalier examples

It's so clean out here. [Los Angeles] That's because they don't throw their garbage away. They turn it into television shows: Woody Allen I liked your opera.  Perhaps I will set it to music: Mozart About a play at the theatre: There was a good bit about half way through when we all ate ice-cream. Blackadder to his servant Baldrick taken from the TV series: Ah - it's time for us to meet our maker - in my case God, in your case, God knows. God is supposed to have made man in his own image. It would be a great shock to Christians everywhere if God looked anything like you, Baldrick.

Funny Put Downs from comedians who are being heckled on stage:Famous Put Downs - L'Esprit d'escalier

a) Comedy is my job. you're interrupting; do you want me to come round your work tomorrow and hide your broom? b) Isn't it a school night? c) Don't clap on your own; someone will throw you a fish. d) Hello... what have you come as? e) Classic audience reply Comedian 'Who the **** do you think you are walking out?' Member of the Audience: 'Actually, I am a talent scout'.

From the Armed Services References:

a) He would be out of his depth in a car park puddle. b) A room temperature IQ. c) This young lady has delusions of adequacy. d) She sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

Mahatma Gandhi and Professor WilsonGandhi - Idiot Professor Story

When Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, a white professor, whose last name was Wilson, disliked him intensely and always displayed prejudice and animosity towards him. Also, because Gandhi never lowered his head when addressing him, as he expected ... there were always "arguments" and confrontations. One day, Professor Wilson was having lunch at the dining room of the University, and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor said, "Mr Gandhi, you do not understand. A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat." Gandhi looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, "You do not worry professor. I'll fly away," and he went and sat at another table. Professor Wilson, reddened with rage, decided to take revenge on the next test paper, but Gandhi responded brilliantly to all questions. Professor Wilson, unhappy and frustrated, asked him the following question. "Mr Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within one was a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money, which one would you take?" Without hesitating, Gandhi responded,"The one with the money, of course." Professor Wilson, smiling sarcastically said, "I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don't you think?" Gandhi shrugged indifferently and responded,"Each one takes what he doesn't have." Professor Wilson, by this time was fit to be tied. So great was his anger that he wrote on Gandhi's exam sheet the word "Idiot" and gave it to Gandhi. Gandhi took the exam sheet and sat down at his desk trying very hard to remain calm while he contemplated his next move. A few minutes later, Gandhi got up, went to the professor and said to him in a dignified but sarcastically polite tone, "Professor Wilson, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade." [Gandhi put-down story kindly sent in by Dave Foley]


He - Can I buy you a drink? She - Actually I'd rather have the money. He - Go on, don't be shy. Ask me out. She - Okay, get out.

7 General Put Downs:

  1. Well, this day was a total waste of make-up.Good Cheap Fast
  2. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
  3. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.
  4. How many times do I have to flush before you go away?
  5. Nice perfume.  Must you marinate in it?
  6. Not the brightest crayon/tool in the box now, are we?
  7. Is it time for your medication or mine?

Tullulah Bankhead Actress (1930-40s)

Gossip columnist Earl Wilson: 'Have you ever been mistaken for a man on the telephone?' Tullulah: 'No, have you?

A Miscellany of Funny Put Downs:

  • What You've got to remember about Michael is that under that cold professional Germanic exterior beats a heart of stone: Damon Hill on Michael Schumacher
  • He was a good man, but did not know how to paint: El Greco on Michelangelo
  • Four Hands Coach: 'Use your FOREHAND' Player: 'OK, but what about my other three hands?'
  • You always knew precisely where you stood with him because he always let you down: David Niven on Errol Flynn [and they were friends]
  • If I were as fat as Marilyn Monroe I'd kill myself: Elizabeth Hurley on Marilyn Monroe
  • She's sooo ugly: Anna Kournikova on Elizabeth Hurley
  • There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full: Henry Kissinger
  • He has a face like a Saint - A Saint Bernard: Anon
  • She's so stupid she returns bowling balls because they've got holes in them: Joan Rivers on Bo Derek
  • He could start a row in an empty house: Sir Alex Ferguson on footballer Dennis Wise.
  • Better a witty fool than a foolish wit: Shakespeare
  • He hasn't just lost the plot, he's lost the whole library: Melody Maker (about Michael Jackson, 1992)
  • Am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere. Come and bring a friend - if you have one: George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.
  • Impossible to be present for the first performance. Will attend second - if there is one: Churchill's reply
Footnote: Please send us your l'Esprit d'escalier (Stairway wit)

See more silly jokes and pictures:

Silly funny jokes   • Put downs    • Cheesy jokes   • Funny potato jokes   • Funny office disasters • Silly signs   • Corny pictures   • Payback • Anger   • Daft signs   • Funny stones   • Late for work • Silly puns   • Stupid things to do   • Stress management • Shocking bills   • Sleepy   • Home