Jack Benny (February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974), born Benjamin Kubelsky, was an American comedian, vaudeville performer, and radio, television, and film actor. He was one of the biggest stars in classic American radio and was also a major television personality.
- A scout troop consists of twelve little kids dressed like schmucks following a big schmuck dressed like a kid.
- Give me golf clubs, fresh air and a beautiful partner, and you can keep the clubs and the fresh air.
- I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
- I don't want to tell you how much insurance I carry with the Prudential, but all I can say is: when I go, they go too.
- My wife Mary and I have been married for forty-seven years and not once have we had an argument serious enough to consider divorce; murder, yes, but divorce, never.
- “It's not so much knowing when to speak, when to pause.”
- “Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces”
- “Modesty is my best quality”
- “Gags die, humor doesn't”
- (when walking to his dressing room) “Fibber McGee... and Molly. Burns... And Allen. Lady and... Here's mine.”
- I went to a meeting for premature ejaculators. I left early.
- A cannibal is a guy who goes into a restaurant and orders the waiter.
- When another comedian has a lousy show, I'm the first one to admit it 
- When they laugh at one of my jokes... it just gets me right here. [Places his hand on his heart]
- Comedy itself is based upon very old principles of which I can readily name seven. They are, in short: the joke, exaggeration, ridicule, ignorance, surprise, the pun, and finally, the comic situation.
The following selections are from "The Jack Benny Program" (1950).
- Bob Crosby: That's like keeping the smog and throwing away Los Angeles.
- Don Wilson: I don't think you know how much it means to me to do the commercial. After all I'm not a funny man. I can't sing or dance. I don't lead a band. What are you paying me for?
- Jack: Don, you're hanging yourself.
- Jack: I believe in being honest with myself. If there's one thing I hate it's when a comedian is great and won't admit it. I've never met one like that, but if I did, I'd hate them.
- Jack: When another comedian has a lousy show, I'm the first one to admit it.
- Jack: When they laugh at one of my jokes... it just gets me right here. [Puts hand on heart]
- Rochester: Yes, that's the spot all right. You almost had a heart attack when they laughed at Bob Hope.
[At Liberace's House]
- Liberace: What do we have for dinner?
- Cook: We have some breast of flamingo and gazelle steaks.
- Jack: Breast of flamingo and gazelle steaks?
- Liberace: Would you like to stay for dinner, Jack?
- Jack: Well, only if you have enough. I'd hate for you to run out to the zoo just for me.
- Marilyn Monroe: What about the difference in our ages?
- Jack: Oh, it's not that big a difference. You're twenty-five and I'm thirty-nine.
- Marilyn Monroe: I know, Jack. But what about twenty-five years from now when I'm fifty and you're thirty-nine?
- Jack: Gee, I never thought of that.
[on trial for murder, Jack has Perry Mason defending him]
- Jack: I can't understand it. On your show you always win.
- Perry Mason: Maybe my writers are better than yours.
- Jack: What do you think of this card I wrote for Don? "To Don from Jacky, Oh golly, oh shucks. I hope that you like it, It cost forty bucks.
- Rochester: It would've been hard to rhyme a dollar ninety-eight.
- Jack Benny: We're a little late, so good night, folks.
- Jack Benny: Where's that big glass star I told you to pack away last Christmas?
- Rochester: You mean that shiny one with the three points on it?
- Jack Benny: That star has five points.
- Rochester: Well, it went down two points this last year.
- Thug: Look, bud, I said 'Your money or your life.'
- Thug:[repeating] Look, bud, I said 'Your money or your life.'
- Jack Benny: I'm thinking it over.
- Thug: You're gonna give us $10,000, or we're gonna break both your legs.
- Jack Benny: Does it have to be both?
[Jack picks up a jar from the dresser]
- Jack: Hey, wait a minute. What kind of make up is this?
- Rochester: Well, you said you wanted something to make you look nice and tanned.
- Jack: I know, but peanut butter?
- Jack: I want to look tanned, not lumpy.
[Jack decides to have a shave]
- Rochester: [checking his equipment] Shaving cream, brush, razor, smelling salts.
- Jack: Smell?... What do I want with smelling salts?
- Rochester: That's for me. I can't stand the sight of blood.
[Rochester has started shaving Jack]
- Rochester: Oh oh.
- Jack: What's the matter?
- Rochester: I think I cut you.
- Jack: What do you mean, you think? Can't you tell?
- Rochester: It would help if you bleed a little.
- Bob Hope: [on being on a CBS show] I feel like Zsa Zsa at a P.T.A. meeting.
- Bob Hope: By the way, this is where Bing did his last show and I think they've done very nicely. They've gotten most of it out of the curtains.
- Bob Hope: [finding some coins tied with string in Jack's trousers] When you ask this kid for a loan, and he says his money is tied up, he isn't kidding. This is an obstacle course for pickpockets.
[Bob walks on carrying Jack's trousers]
- Bob: Welcome to the Lucky Strike Program. In just a few minutes, you'll see our star, Gypsy Rose Benny.
- Jack: [poking his head through the stage curtains] Bob, will you please give me my pants back?
- Bob Hope: Put your head back through there, or I'll start handing out baseballs to the audience.
- Don Wilson: [Poking his head through the curtains] Bob, Bob, quick, give me Jack's pants
- Bob Hope: Why do you want Jack's pants?
- Don Wilson: Because I had to give him mine.
- Hope: You mean, Jack's actually wearing your pants?
- Jack: [out of shot] Darn right I am.
- Bob: This is rather strange for me, I'm on the major network. [mouths ABC]
- Bob: [about Bing Crosby] He's up in Nevada looking over Boulder Dam - his piggy bank is filled. He's so loaded, you know, he uses Howard Hughes for a bell boy.
[Our heroes enter a jungle clearing carrying a tiger on a pole]
- Jack: These last 2 miles were rugged, weren't they?
- Clyde: I knew as soon as we got off the freeway, we'd run into trouble.
- Jack: It's really dangerous, here in the jungle.
- Clyde: Your'e telling me. What about those first three nights, we had to light fires to keep the animals away.
- Jack: Yeah, then we ran out of water. For three weeks we couldn't even take a bath.
- Clyde: Then the animals lit fires to keep us away.
- Jack: [Pointing to the tiger] He must have gone to a veterinarian in Denmark.
- Clyde: I wondered why he had his hand on his hip when I shot him.
- Jack: What kind of tiger is that - Siberian or Bengal?
- Clyde: General Electric.
[our heroes have been captured by a tribe on cannibals, and are standing in a large pot]
- Jack: I'm scared, I'm frightened.
- 'Clyde:' Frightened. Why, you yellow-belly. Do you want to live forever?
- Jack: No, I just want to reach 40.
- Clyde: Oh, we're not going to make that trip again, oh no.
- Jack: [pointing a pistol at Bob's trousers] I'm going to blow your brains out.
[Bob adjusts Jack's gun arm, so that the pistol is now pointing at Bob's head]
- Bob Hope: Let's not do any jokes we didn't plan on, eh.
- Jack Benny played Mendelssohn last night. Mendelssohn lost.
- Everybody is afraid they won't have any money after they die, but Jack Benny discovered a way to take it with him. He had his appendix taken out and a piggy bank put in. ~ Bob Hope 
- I'd like to kill him but the Government needs the money. ~ Bob Hope
- When Jack Benny has a party, you not only bring your own scotch, you bring your own rocks. ~ George Burns
- I liked Benny right away, he had something I enjoyed very much - a worse singing voice than mine. ~ George Burns
- “When they asked Jack Benny to do something for the Actor's Orphanage - he shot both his parents and moved in.” ~ Bob Hope
- Jack and Mary and Gracie and I were going to dinner one night and Gracie asked Mary, 'Is Jack really thirty-nine?' And Mary said, 'Ridiculous.' Then she asked, 'And how is his sex life?' and Mary said, 'Ridiculous!' ~ George Burns
- Jack was tremendously talented, and I can honestly say I've never heard anyone play the violin the way he did. And I'll always be grateful for that, too. ~ George Burns
- Jack's a great musician, and I'm a great actor. It takes a great actor to say Jack Benny is a great musician. ~ Bob Hope
- Last time Jack paid one hundred dollars a plate, it was to his dentist, Dr. Pincus. ~ Bob Hope
- Jack Benny really liked my book. I know because he called me up from the library and told me. ~ Bob Hope
- When Moshe Dayan heard him play (the violin), he took the patch off his eye and put it over his ear. ~ Dean Martin
- One night I was walking in my sleep and Mr. Benny put a vacuum cleaner in my hand. ~ Eddie Anderson (Rochestor)
- Before shoes were invented, Jack was a heel. ~ Fred Allen
- Jack has no more hair than an elbow. ~ Fred Allen
- There are two kinds of jokes - funny jokes and Jack Benny jokes. ~ Fred Allen
- When Jack Benny plays the violin, it sounds as if the strings are back in the cat. ~ Fred Allen
- He is so anemic that if he stays out at night, he has to get a transfusion so his eyes will be bloodshot in the morning. ~ Fred Allen
- When Jack Benny walks out in tails in front of ninety great musicians, he looks like the world's greatest violinist. It's a shame he has to play. ~ Isaac Stern
- (when asked how well her father played the violin) Well, let me put it this way. He doesn't play as well as Jascha Heifetz - but then, who does? ~ Joan Benny
- Benny has done more than raise millions of dollars to erase operating deficits of major orchestras. He has brought multitudes of people who would not otherwise be there into the concert halls to prove that music can be entertaining and rewarding. ~ Leonard Bernstein
- Last night, Jack Benny played Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn lost. ~ New York Post Critic
- His violin always plays off-key, but his humor is never off-color. ~ Ronald Reagan
- Jack Benny had style from the beginning. He stood straight and walked kind of sideways as if he were being gently shoved by a touch of genius. ~ William Saroyan
- Throughout Jack's violin solo at the Hollywood Bowl, the audience was glued to their seats. That was the only way he could get them to sit down. ~ Zubin Mehta
- There was one especially memorable moment . . . when Jack began a very difficult passage from Mendelssohn's Concerto, everyone in the orchestra turned and looked at Jack in wonder and amazement . . . they were playing Beethoven's Fifth at the time! ~ Zubin Mehta
- There's one particular moment during that concert that I shall recall as long as I live. Its when the entire audience jumped to its feet and shouted, 'More! More!' it was right after Jack had announced there would be a five-minute intermission! ~ Zubin Mehta
(George Burns had lots more to say about his best friend in his book All My Best Friends. Find those quotes here)
About Jack Benny
- Jack was mean to the end. He only gave us eighty years, and it wasn't enough.
- Bob Hope at Jack Benny's memorial service.