Groucho Marx? Chico Marx? Popular Song? Peggy Hopkins Joyce? Dorothy Dix? Ace Reid? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: According to legend when the wife of a famous comedian caught him in bed with another person the entertainer was unperturbed and denied that anything improper was occurring:
Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?
This remark has been attributed to Groucho Marx. Some say the line was employed in a movie. Would you please examine its provenance?
Quote Investigator: The 1933 movie “Duck Soup” included a scene containing a similar quip without the word “lying”. The remark was spoken by Chico Marx who was playing the character Chicolini. He was imitating the appearance of the character played by Groucho Marx causing other members of the cast to confuse their identities.
The following exchange occurred between the actress Margaret Dumont playing Mrs. Gloria Teasdale and Chico Marx. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
Teasdale: Your Excellency, I thought you left.
Chicolini: Oh no. I no leave.
Teasdale: But I saw you with my own eyes.
Chicolini: Well, who ya gonna believe me or your own eyes?
QI believes that Chico’s humorous interrogative evolved over time, and the genesis can be traced back to the early 1900s. Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- YouTube video, Title: “Chico Not Groucho: Who Ya Gonna Believe, Me or Your Own Eyes – Duck Soup – Firefly Chicolini”, Uploaded on Jan 23, 2017, Uploaded by: James Schneider, Comment: Scene from 1933 movie “Duck Soup”, (Dialog starts at 9 seconds of 20 seconds) (Accessed on youtube.com on July 31, 2018) link ↩