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)