79 Quotes of Christopher Guest

” In ‘Waiting for Guffman,’ the character I played, the Corky character, he’s very serious about what he does, and it’s not meant to be mean that this is a small town and these people aren’t the most talented people. They’re trying the best they can. So to be mean, that would be kind of horrifying in its superficiality. “
” I’ve been fortunate. I get to write films. I get to write music in films. I get to play arenas wearing a wig. “
” I get asked, ‘Who would you really like to work with?’ I’m already working with them. Smart, talented, funny people, good musicians, an extended family, good friends. “
” I am interested in the notion that people can become so obsessed by their world that they lose sense and awareness of how they appear to other people. They’re so earnest about it. But that’s true of so many things. “
” Strangely enough, among my dad’s things, I found the diary of an ancestor who was born in 1797 and became a ventriloquist in London. That was quite chilling. It described exactly how I was as a child but 150 years earlier – doing voices, pretending to be a ventriloquist. “
” It’s infrequent that that happens – great performances and magical cinematography and great direction. “
” You know when you’re young, you have this unbelievable stupidity and arrogance and ignorance all mixed in? “
” I myself delve into very arcane things. “
” People want me to be funny all the time. They think I’m being funny no matter what I say or do and that’s not the case. “
” In ‘Spinal Tap,’ there’s the fake historical quality of ‘Stonehenge.’ It’s something the musicians look at with a mystical reverence. In folk music, it’s the seriousness with which these people approach their ‘art.’ “
” In ‘Spinal Tap,’ there’s the fake historical quality of ‘Stonehenge.’ It’s something the musicians look at with a mystical reverence. In folk music, it’s the seriousness with which these people approach their ‘art.’ “
” You can’t improvise without a skeletal structure; you can’t just go in and start talking. This is a very misunderstood craft because no one else makes movies like this. “
” Folk musicians have a lot of the same self-importance, but they’re way more cruel and jealous than rock musicians – I know this for a fact because I used to be a folk musician. “
” In real life, people fumble their words. They repeat themselves and stare blankly off into space and don’t listen properly to what other people are saying. I find that kind of speech fascinating but screenwriters never write dialogue like that because it doesn’t look good on the page. “
” I spent a lot of time in London when I was growing up and I’ve always picked up accents without even really meaning to. It used to get me into trouble as a child. “
” I spent more time in America, but I developed a very English sense of humour. I clicked into it deeply with Peter Sellers, who is still probably my favourite comedian. “
” You know it’s important to have a Jeep in Los Angeles. That front wheel drive is crucial when it starts to snow on Rodeo Drive. “
” I’m married to the person I fell in love with. “
” I painted sets before I ever performed. “
” I rarely joke unless I’m in front of a camera. It’s not what I am in real life. It’s what I do for a living. “
” Comedy is like music. You have to know the key and you have to find players with good chops. “
” The movies have a way of seeping out there over time. We don’t put them in 2,000 theaters. It wouldn’t work that way. “
” What’s interesting about Laurel and Hardy is that in most comedy teams, there’s a straight man, and then there’s the funny guy. And with Laurel and Hardy, they’re both the funny guy. “
” Peter Sellers is my great comedy hero. “
” They sell these golf aids that attach to your knee and your head and are supposed to keep your swing correct. It’s futile beyond belief. I’ve never bought any, but I could watch those ads for 24 hours straight. People with straight faces saying this thing will take strokes off your game – that’s my peculiar obsession. “
” Many times I’ll improvise it, which isn’t done a lot in movies or commercials. But a lot of my commercials are improvised. “
” I’m not really premeditative in any way at all. I come up with an idea, hopefully for a film, and then I’m lucky enough to do the film. “
” Many times I’ll improvise it, which isn’t done a lot in movies or commercials. But a lot of my commercials are improvised. “
” Comedies don’t get nominated for Oscars. It doesn’t happen. So when we set out to do a movie, it’s not what we’re thinking about. “
” The minute the money is more, you lose your control, so then there’s no point. “
” The early parodies that talk-show people did of rock n’ roll in the ’50s were terrible. They didn’t know it, they didn’t like it – and that’s a lethal combination. “
” People who take themselves too seriously, who can’t see anything else, are usually funny. “
” All these movies are observational comedies. I see somebody, maybe a dry cleaner, and notice how they are. Maybe I’ll decide to turn a person with those traits into a studio chief. “
” I don’t know if I’d mastered that documentary format, but I wanted to move on from it. “
” Most films, when you finish as an actor, you just go home. “
” The reason I work with the same people, it’s not just an accident. “
” Ninety-nine percent of television shows, I’ve never seen. “
” I watch mostly documentaries and things that aren’t remotely funny. “
” I read kind of serious books about fairly arcane subjects. “
” I went to Bard College for a year. And then, even though I didn’t think I should give my blood to the theater, I did go to N.Y.U., which is where I met Michael McKean. “
” People ask me, ‘What’s your next film?’ And I never know. “
” I’ve been buying guitars since 1964, and you fool yourself into thinking it’s the last one. “
” I’m fascinated by real-time behavior. “
” When you hear someone talking in a restaurant or overhear someone talking on the street, there are very different patterns of conversation than you would hear in a conventional movie. “
” I started on the clarinet. I was going to a music school – my mother took me – and the guy said, ‘What do you want to play?’ I said the drums, and my mother said, ‘No, you don’t. You don’t want to play the drums.’ So I said, ‘Maybe the trumpet would be cool.’ And my mother said, ‘I don’t think so.’ And then the clarinet was handed to me. “
” It couldn’t have been more nerdy or bizarre, playing the clarinet. But I studied classical clarinet, went to the high school for music and art in New York City, and then found the guitar and the mandolin after it. “
” When you’ve been a character in a movie – and this has happened when we’ve done concerts as Spinal Tap or as The Folksmen – people see you as characters walking out of a movie. And you appear in public, then, to play, it’s a very schizophrenic thing. “
” I don’t read anything about my movies before or after I do films, or any part of show business. I think that keeps me in a kind of place where I can do the work that I need to do. “
” I wouldn’t say I’m a connoisseur of film. I like certain films, but I don’t pretend to be a connoisseur of films, no. “
” My passion is more specific, in the sense that I’ve always liked doing comedy. I’ve always liked doing music. I like acting. And apparently, you need those things in movies. “
” It’s dangerous talking about comedy; it gets to be very tedious and presumptuous. “
” I don’t think we’ve ever known what the hell’s going on when we do Tap shows. It’s possible the audience are effectively getting to see more of the movie when we play. You know, they know the songs, so anything we do onstage, whether we’re meaning to or not, is an extension of the film. Other than that, I wouldn’t understand what’s going on. “
” If you’re deluded, you live in a place where there isn’t everyone else’s reality. “
” I like to play music, and I like to be funny, so I just do both at the same time. “
” Music means a great deal to me. “
” I love being with my family and just being a regular person. “
” We heard about people who went backstage at dog shows with scissors and cut parts of a poodle’s hair off to sabotage the dog. “
” When I look back on what I’ve done, I think I’m drawn to obsession, perhaps. “
” I would overhear these conversations of people who show purebred dogs. They spoke about them as if they were their children. “
” If you don’t like the people, you’re just doing a sketch. Which, in most cases, is comedy minus some emotional backbone. “
” I was never in an improv group. But when I went to school, we would do it all day long with friends, not knowing what it was called. “
” What interests me most are the emotional lives of the people. If I don’t have that, it’s not worth doing, frankly. “
” Nothing is cut while I’m shooting. I edit between nine months and a year, and usually have around 80 hours of footage I have to get down to an 82-minute movie. “
” I haven’t had to do anything outside of show business my whole life. I’ve never been a waiter. I’ve only worked and gotten paid. It hasn’t been a classic example of someone slogging through the business. “
” I started working in New York City as an actor and did many plays. I did regional theater, smaller theaters, children’s theater. “
” I didn’t go to film school. I had been an actor in movies, I had been in plays, and then I just sort of jumped into it. “
” If you’re showing people where it’s smooth sailing, where is the joke? If you go back to any movie, even a conventional movie, with any comedians, they’re either not terribly intelligent or they’re not doing something well. “
” I love documentaries. My problem is when the filmmaker becomes the star. “
” I’ve never seen a reality show. I don’t watch television. “
” The fun part about doing our movies is that you’re creating something using the talents of people rather than finding these pathetic people who are thrust into these situations. That, to me, is completely artless. “
” I find it really appalling when people talk about comedy. “
” It’s difficult to articulate how I know it’s the right actor, but I do. It’s instinct. Intuition. “
” My daughter recommended Chris O’Dowd to me after seeing him in ‘Bridesmaids,’ so I watched that and his sitcom, ‘The IT Crowd.’ When I was over in London, we met up, and I knew immediately he was the right person. “
” ‘The Office’ is an amazing show. So is ‘Extras.’ “
” I would make a huge distinction between theater improvisation and film improvisation. “
” There isn’t much improvisation in film – there’s virtually none. The people that theoretically could be good at this in a theater situation don’t necessarily do this in a film in a way that will work, because it’s much broader on a stage. “
” The truth of it is that people are not going to want to go to improvisational theater if it’s not funny. You can succeed in doing all the things you’re supposed to do – be truthful to scene – and if it’s not funny, I’m telling you that no one’s gonna care. “
” In the kind of films that I do, there is an extremely limited number of people that can improvise. The reason the ensemble continues in the movies is because those are the people that can do that kind of work. It’s not just an accident those people are in the film. “
” Mean doesn’t last. Mean is over fast. Maybe this is the essence of everything, which is, to me, if there is no emotional center for what I’m doing, I have no interest in it at all. “