45 Of History’s Most Famous – And Hilarious – Insults

Published August 26, 2021
Updated November 8, 2023

Forty-five of history's funniest insults so witty and cutting that they've outlived the person who delivered them!

Below is a gallery of responses, retorts, and comebacks that are so witty that they’ve outlived the person who delivered them – enjoy this collection of history’s best insults:

Best Insults From Mark Twain
Mark Twain: "The trouble ain't there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right."

Mae West Funny Quote
Mae West: "His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."

Groucho Marx Never Forgets A Face
Groucho Marx: "I never forget a face, but in your case, I'll make an exception."

Oscar Wilde On Happiness
Oscar Wilde: "Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go."

Kurt Vonnegut Quote
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: "If your brains were dynamite, there wouldn't be enough to blow your hat off."

Elizabeth Taylor On Men
Elizabeth Taylor: "Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses."

Albert Einstein On Human Stupidity
Albert Einstein: "Only two things are infinite-- the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the former."

Hilarious Insults Beethoven
Beethoven: "I like your opera. I think I will set it to music."

Roseanne Barr On Getting Pregnant
Roseanne Barr: "We were trying to get pregnant, but I forgot one of us had to have a penis."

Kierkegaard On Martensen
Kierkegaard: "My opponent is a glob of snot."

Nick Faldo On Marriage
Nick Faldo: "We were happily married for eight months. Unfortunately, the marriage lasted four and a half years."

Pope John Paul 23 On The Vatican
Pope John Paul XXIII: (When asked "How many people work in the Vatican?") "About half."

The Best Insults In History
Dorothy Parker, after a drunk man commented "I can't bear fools": "Apparently your mother could."

Hugo Napoleon
Victor Hugo, on Napoleon: "God was bored by him."

Catherine The Great Funny Quote
Catherine The Great: "If you won't be a good example, then you'll have to be a horrible warning."

Hubert Humphrey
Hunter S. Thompson, on presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey: "They don't hardly make 'em like Hubert anymore—but just to be on the safe side, he should be castrated anyway."

Famous Insults Boyle
Frankie Boyle: "Nobody thought Mel Gibson could play a Scot, but look at him now! Alcoholic and a racist!"

King Edward VIII: "The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children."

O Brien Foreign Policy
Conan O'Brien: "Sarah Palin met with world leaders to discuss her foreign policy expertise. The meeting lasted 90 seconds."

Winston Churchill On Americans
Winston Churchill: "Americans will always try to do the right thing-- after they've tried everything else."

Gandhi's Famous Comeback On Western Civilization
Mahatma Gandhi: "What do you think of Western Civilization?" "I think it would be a good idea."

Milton Berle's Best Insult
Milton Berle: "You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think."

Emperor Nero Burn
Nero, while look at a man he had just killed: "How could I have been afraid of a man with such a long nose?"

Van Gogh's Ear For Music
Billy Wilder: "He has Van Gogh's ear for music."

Best Insults Ernest Hemingway On Faulkner
Ernest Hemingway: "Poor Faulkner. He thinks big emotions come from big words."

Christopher Hitchens On Jerry Falwell
Christopher Hitchens: "If you gave Jerry Falwell an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox."

Timothy Leary On Women Who Want To Be Equal With Men
Timothy Leary: "Women who want to be equal with men lack ambition."

Gerald Ford On Ronald Reagan
Gerald Ford: "Ronnie (Reagan doesn't dye his hair--he's just permanently orange."

Joan Rivers On Prince Charles
Joan Rivers: "Prince Charles's ears are so big, he could hang-glide over the Falklands!"

Mark Twain On Jane Austen
Mark Twain on Jane Austen: "Every time I read Pride And Prejudice, I want to dig Jane Austen up and hit her over the skull with her own shin bone."

Oscar Wilde Funny Insults
Oscar Wilde: "Thinking is the most unhealthy disease in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any disease. Luckily, in England at any rate, thought is not catching."

John Lennon On Elvis
John Lennon: "Before Elvis, there was nothing."

William Shakespeare History's Funniest Insults
William Shakespeare: "The tautness of his face sours ripe grapes."

Famous Insults Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston, on the media: "They're devils to me, and they eat my flesh!"

HL Mencken Insult Of FDR
H.L. Mencken on FDR: "If he became convinced tomorrow that coming out for cannibalism would get him the votes he needs so sorely, he would begin fattening a missionary in the White House yard come Wednesday."

Margaret Thatcher On Getting Things Done
Margaret Thatcher: "If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman."

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali: "If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then they can sure make something out of you."

Lily Tomlin Quote
Lily Tomlin: "I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific!"

Can't Say No
Dorothy Parker: "The woman speaks eighteen languages and can't say 'no' in any of them."

Aristotle History's Best Insults
Aristotle: "It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of lying skillfully."

History's Funniest Insults
John Adams: "In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress."

Groucho Marx He May Look Like An Idiot
Groucho Marx: "He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don't let that fool you-- he really is an idiot."

EE Cummings On Politicians
EE Cummings: "A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man"

Best Insults By Charlotte Whitton
Charlotte Whitton: "Whatever women must do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult."

Calvin Coolidge Historical Insults
(On a performance) What do you think of the singer's execution? Calvin Coolidge: I'm all for it.

How amazing would it feel to deliver such a gut-wrenching one-liner? For even more of the best insults, check out our other posts on funny quotes and history's best comebacks. Then, have a look at the famous last words of well-known historical figures. And be sure to like All That's Interesting on Facebook.

Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Cox, Savannah. "45 Of History’s Most Famous – And Hilarious – Insults." AllThatsInteresting.com, August 26, 2021, https://allthatsinteresting.com/best-insults. Accessed April 19, 2024.