I Thought the Brain Was the Most Important Organ Until I Realized What Was Telling Me That

Emo Philips? George Carlin? Richard Saul Wurman? Dale Dauten? Daniel C. Dennett? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: A prominent philosopher of consciousness and the brain included a hilarious joke in a recent book. Here are three versions:

I used to think that the human brain was the most fascinating part of the body. Then I realized, ‘look what’s telling me that’.

I used to think that my brain was the most important organ in my body, but then I thought: look who’s telling me that.

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.

This quip has been attributed to the U.S. stand-up comedians Emo Philips and George Carlin. Would you please explore its provenance?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in a comedy special starring Emo Philips broadcast in 1987 on the cable channel Home Box Office (HBO). Philips told an anecdote during which he was arrested and sent to a psychiatrist for evaluation. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]YouTube video, Title: Emo Phillips HBO Comedy Special 1987, (“Philips” is misspelled as “Phillips” in the title), Uploaded on January 1, 2020, Uploaded by: Groovy Flicks, … Continue reading

Do you like psychology? I don’t. I used to think that the human brain was the most fascinating part of the body. Then I realized, whoa, ‘look what’s telling me that’.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Thought the Brain Was the Most Important Organ Until I Realized What Was Telling Me That

References

References
1 YouTube video, Title: Emo Phillips HBO Comedy Special 1987, (“Philips” is misspelled as “Phillips” in the title), Uploaded on January 1, 2020, Uploaded by: Groovy Flicks, (Quotation starts at 35 minutes 30 seconds of 51 minutes 47 seconds), Description: Comedy special starring Emo Philips broadcast in 1987 on Home Box Office cable network), (Accessed on youtube.com on January 10, 2021)

How Many People Here Tonight Are Telekinetic? Raise My Hand

Steven Wright? Kurt Vonnegut? Emo Philips? Rich Siegel? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: A speaker will typically ask audience members to raise their hands to signal an affirmative answer to a question. A humorist constructed a funny remark based on a transformation of this scenario:

If you believe in psychokinetic powers, please raise my hand.

This line has been attributed to Steven Wright, Kurt Vonnegut, and Emo Philips. Would you please explore its provenance?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match known to QI appeared in an article about surrealist comedian Emo Philips published in the “Birmingham Post-Herald” of Alabama in November 1985. Journalist Pamela Morse visited with Philips at The Comedy Club in Homewood, Alabama, and she recounted some of his jokes. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1985 November 15, Birmingham Post-Herald, Section: Kudzu Magazine, Emo Philips is, well, different by Pamela Morse (Kudzu Reporter), Quote Page 10, Column 1, Birmingham, Alabama. (Newspapers_com)

“At a party people often ask each other, ‘Where were you when Kennedy was shot?’ … I don’t have an alibi.”

Emo’s comedy has been called intellectual. He’d rather just call it funny. “How many people here have telekinetic powers? … Raise my hand!”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading How Many People Here Tonight Are Telekinetic? Raise My Hand

References

References
1 1985 November 15, Birmingham Post-Herald, Section: Kudzu Magazine, Emo Philips is, well, different by Pamela Morse (Kudzu Reporter), Quote Page 10, Column 1, Birmingham, Alabama. (Newspapers_com)