39 Jimmy Durante Quotes to Tickle Your Funny Bone

Jimmy Durante is the famous comedian who said “Good night, Mrs. Calabash” – one of the most memorable catchphrases by any entertainer. He was a trained and skilled pianist, singer, and actor as well.

As a young boy, Durante wanted to try his luck as a saloon pianist. He realized the dream by playing at Diamond Tony’s Saloon as a 17-year-old boy in Brooklyn. He left school early because Durante was looking forward to a career in entertainment. He started Club Durante with Lou Clayton and Eddie Jackson in 1923 and never looked back. For the next 60 or so years, Jimmy Durante entertained people through his club performances, Broadway products, and radio shows.

His famous radio programs include The Camel Comedy Caravan and The Jimmy Durante Show. He also appeared in the 1929 movie Roadhouse Nights and the Broadway productions of The New Yorkers and Show Girl.

Through his funny yet wise words, he left behind a legacy for aspiring entertainers. Here are some of the best Jimmy Durante quotes for you!

Amusing Jimmy Durante Quotes

1. “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!” – Jimmy Durante

2. “Man is the only animal that can be skinned more than once.” – Jimmy Durante

3. “Go or stay, stay or go…” – Jimmy Durante, Schnozzola: The Story of Jimmy Durante

4. “Make someone happy, make just one someone happy, and you will be happy, too.” – Jimmy Durante

5. “Politics is developing more comedians than radio ever did.” – Jimmy Durante

6. “I hate music, especially when it’s played.” – Jimmy Durante

7. “A duet? But there’s only two of us. We need a third guy.” – Jimmy Durante, The Jimmy Durante Show

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8. “UMBRIAGO!” – Jimmy Durante

9. “Everybody wants to get into the act!” – Jimmy Durante

10. “My nose isn’t big, I just happen to have a very small head.” – Jimmy Durante

11. “My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.” – Jimmy Durante

Jimmy Durante as a young artist
12. “Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.” – Jimmy Durante

13. “Stop the music. Stop the music! You’re supposed to follow the music, not chase it all over the place.” – Jimmy Durante

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14. “Start to go again and change your mind again.” – Jimmy Durante

15. “All of us have schnozzles…if not in our faces, then in our character, minds, or habits.” – Jimmy Durante

16. “Nobody realizes that I work 18 hours-a-day for a solid month to make that TV hour look like it’s never been rehearsed.” – Jimmy Durante

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17. “If I’d known how old I was going to be, I’d have taken better care of myself.” – Jimmy Durante

18. “When we admit our schnozzles, instead of defending them, we begin to laugh, and the world laughs with us!” – Jimmy Durante

19. “Home cooking, where a man thinks his wife is.” – Jimmy Durante

20. “You knew it was right, wasn’t wrong. Still, you knew you wouldn’t be very long.” – Jimmy Durante, Schnozzola: The Story of Jimmy Durante

21. “I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m sticking with it.” – Jimmy Durante

22. “I was hurt so deep that I made up my mind never to hurt anybody else, no matter what.” – Jimmy Durante

Painting of Jimmy Durante and Don Diego
23. “You know, last night, I was telling Umbriago about my latest composition, called ‘Tony’s Pushcart.’ He said, ‘Tony’s Pushcart? How does that go?’ I said, ‘It doesn’t go, you have to push it!’” – Jimmy Durante

24. “I rubbed shoulders with Shostakovich, I rubbed shoulders with Rubinstein, I had to rub shoulders with them, they wouldn’t shake hands with me.” – Jimmy Durante

25. “Either you got it or you ain’t.” – Jimmy Durante, The Jimmy Durante Show

26. “Don’t put constrictions on the people. Leave them alone.” – Jimmy Durante

27. “Food became secondary.” – Jimmy Durante

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28. “Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go,

29. But still had the feeling that you wanted to stay,

30. You knew it was right, wasn’t wrong.
Still, you knew you wouldn’t be very long.
Go or stay, stay or go,
Start to go again and change your mind again.
It’s hard to have the feeling that you wanted to go,
But still have the feeling that you wanted to stay.
Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, si, do.
I’ll go.
I’ll stay.” – Jimmy Durante

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31. “So, I went to Hoboken to forget it and then I went to Hackensack to forget Hoboken.” – Jimmy Durante

32. “The bathroom is out of this world…which makes it a little inconvenient.” – Jimmy Durante

33. “That note was given to me by Bing Crosby, and boy, was he glad to get rid of it!” – Jimmy Durante

34. “When it comes to noses, you’re a retailer. I’m a wholesaler!” – Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
35. “When I got through with him, he was all covered with blood – my blood.” – Jimmy Durante

36. “At four o’clock in the morning most people have been asleep for hours, but at four o’clock in the morning the night-club children of a few years ago were just getting hot. The band jazzed at full blast. The air was so thick you could pick it up in handfuls and through it around like snowballs. The dance-floors were crowded with couples who couldn’t do anything but wiggle hips and feet.” – Jimmy Durante

37. “I once buried my nose in a book, but forgot which book I buried it in!” – Jimmy Durante

38. “Me and my big mouth! I’d get rid of it, only it’s such a handy place to keep my teeth.” – Jimmy Durante

39. “What’s a depression? The dictionary says a depression is a dent. And what’s a dent? Everybody knows a dent is a hole. And what’s a hole? You tell me what’s a hole! And I’ll tell you that a hole is nothing!” – Jimmy Durante

Jimmy Durante – I’ll Be Seeing You

Listen to Jimmy Durante’s version of I’ll Be Seeing You by Billie Holiday.


Jimmy Durante spent most of his life practicing and improving his performances to entertain the audience. In his words, he would work for at least eighteen hours per day to perfect his acts for flawless shows. Durante was a celebrity in his life and remained an inspiration for aspiring artists today who want to become unforgettable icons like him.

Jimmy Durante Quotes – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Was Jimmy Durante Famous For?

Jimmy Durante was an all-rounder with his talent in acting and comedy. He could sing, play piano, act, and make people laugh with his outstanding acts. He started his performances in the 1920s and remained active until the 1970s.

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What Did Jimmy Durante Use to Say?

Jimmy Durante had a number of famous sayings and dialogues. His most popular one is “Good night, Mrs. Calabash.” He first said it in 1940 to the 28-year-old Lucy as he walked up to the door of a restaurant in Calabash, North Carolina. After that, Durante ended all his performances with “Good night, Mrs. Calabash” until he passed away.

How Did Jimmy Durante End His Shows?

Good night, Mrs. Calabash” became the catchphrase of Jimmy Durante in 1940. He would say it each time he ended his radio shows.

Who Was Jimmy Durante Referring to as Mrs. Calabash?

Jeanne Olsen was Durante’s first wife. The catchphrase about Mrs. Calabash is meant for her. Apparently, “Calabash” is an inside joke for the residents of Calabash. Durante started using the phrase in each show after Jeanne Olsen passed away in 1943.

Is Jimmy Durante Alive?

Jimmy Durante died on January 29, 1980, after suffering from pneumonia. He passed away 12 days before his 87th birthday in Santa Monica, California.

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Jimmy durante” by tonynetone is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Jimmy Durante” by twm1340 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Jimmy Durante and Don Diego” by San Diego Shooter is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

File:Unidentified man, boxer Rocky Marciano, Mayor John F. Collins, and singer Jimmy Durante (10559562993).jpg” by City of Boston Archives from West Roxbury, United States is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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