Phyllis Diller? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: Newlyweds are sometimes given the following thoughtful relationship advice:
Never go to bed while angry with your partner.
The prominent comedian Phyllis Diller twisted this expression to yield a very funny line. Would you please help me to find a citation?
Quote Investigator: The quip appeared in her 1966 book “Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints”. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
Never Go to Bed Mad—Stay Up and Fight
Just the other day I said to Fang, “Don’t you think we’ve got a storybook romance?” and he said, “Yes, and every page is ripped.”
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
In 1945 the columnist Martha Foster in “The Philadelphia Inquirer” printed a letter from a reader that offered advice for assuring happiness in a marriage. This was the type of guidance that Diller was subverting: 2
Never go to bed mad. There has never been a night when we weren’t able to say, ‘Good night, darling.’ We’ve always had our worries over in time to go to bed happy. It works wonders with one’s disposition and health to be able to say ‘Good morning’ and mean it!
In 1967 Diller’s 1966 book was excerpted in the “Democrat and Chronicle” of Rochester, New York and other papers; hence, her joke was further propagated: 3
This is the last excerpt from the new book “Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints.”
Never Go to Bed Mad — Stay Up and Fight
In 1967 a variant of the joke appeared in “Phyllis Diller’s Marriage Manual”: 4
Remember—never go to bed mad. Fang and I never did. However, one year we were up for nine months. Caution: I know a woman who ignored this advice. She’s now the mother of 15 children.
Gag compilers quickly picked up the statement; for example, it appeared in “The Home Book of Humorous Quotations” in 1969: 5
Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
Phyllis Diller, Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints.
Image Notes: Picture of Phyllis Diller by Brian Hamilton; accessed via Wikimedia Commons. Unhappy couple in bed from sasint at Pixabay.
(Great thanks to K whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.)
- 1966 Copyright, Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints by Phyllis Diller, Chapter 7, Quote Page 98, Doubleday and Company, Garden City, New York. (Verified with hardcopy) ↩
- 1945 December 3, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Two Simple Rules Assure Happiness of Marriage by Martha Foster, (Letter to Martha Foster from Anne), Quote Page 15, Column 5, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (Newspapers_com) ↩
- 1967 March 4, Democrat and Chronicle, Phyllis Diller Says: Scrub the Floor by Candlelight, Quote Page 4C, Column 7, Rochester, New York. (Newspapers_com) ↩
- 1967, Phyllis Diller’s Marriage Manual by Phyllis Diller, Chapter 3: Marriage On The Rocks, Quote Page 56, Doubleday and Company, Garden City, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩
- 1969 Copyright, The Home Book of Humorous Quotations, Edited by A. K. Adams, Topic: Marriage, Quote Page 229, Dodd, Mead & Company, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩