15 Rita Rudner Jokes for the Hall of Fame

15 Rita Rudner Jokes for the Hall of Fame

The 1980s isn’t exactly known for its timelessness. In fact, almost everything from this decade of neon-colored opulence is very much of a time and place — a time and place that’s only really interesting to repeat for tongue-in-cheek parties and school dances. Maybe the best thing that can be said about Rita Rudner, then, is that despite coming out of the stand-up comedy boom of the 1980s, she remains as timeless as ever — her dry delivery and wry observations about life and relationships as astute (and hilarious) today as they were back then.

And so, today, we proudly induct these 15 Rita Rudner jokes into the Hall of Fame.  

On Identity Theft

“I have too many credit cards. I lost one, and I didn’t even notice. I noticed when I got the bill. It was so much less. I’m letting him keep it. I’m saving money. And, of course, now they not only steal your credit card, they steal your identity. I think if they steal your identity, they should have to visit your parents.”

On Men and Cars

“My husband loves his car so much it makes noises only he can hear. He’ll be driving along, and he’ll say, ‘There. There’s the rattle. Do you hear it?’ And I don’t hear it. I want to hear it. I try to hear it. Once, I lied and said I heard it. He said, ‘No, that’s not it.’ He has two beliefs in life: He believes in God, and he believes that when the gas gauge is on empty he still has a quarter of a tank. He thinks the E stands for ‘Eh, there’s still some left.’”

On Falling in Love

“Before I met my husband, I’d never fallen in love. I’d stepped in it a few times. I was always meeting men who weren’t right for me. That’s why I feel that after you’ve dated someone it should be legal to stamp them with what’s wrong with them. That way the next person doesn’t have to start from scratch.”

On Marriage

“We just celebrated our second anniversary. In some places, people aren’t that impressed. I say I’ve been married for two years, and people say, ‘Good.’ Of course in Hollywood, when I say I’ve been married for two years, people say, ‘What’s your secret?’ There, a marriage is a success if it outlasts milk. Hollywood is a terrible place. When you meet a guy there, the first question you ask yourself is, ‘I don’t know — is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?”

On Aging

“I hate getting older, and I don’t plan to grow old gracefully. I plan to have facelifts until my ears meet. I’m a little afraid of plastic surgeons, actually. I was going to get my nose fixed, but I walked into this guy’s office and on his walls were all these pictures by Picasso. I said, ‘You know, my nose may not be perfect, but it’s centered.’ With this guy, I could wake up, and it could be in a guitar.”

On Playing With Children

“Never play peekaboo with a child on a long plane trip. There’s no end to the game. Finally, I grabbed him by the bib and said, ‘Look, it’s always gonna be me!’ Halfway there, I got smart and switched the game to hide-and-seek, so he spent the rest of the trip in the overhead rack.”

On Birthdays

“I never know what to get my father for his birthday. I gave him a hundred dollars and said, ‘Buy yourself something that will make your life easier.’ So he went out and bought a present for my mother.”

On Costco

“Costco has everything! They don’t stop. You know what they have now — they have Costco coffins. But you have to assemble them. I was thinking, ‘Boy, your timing would have to be perfect, wouldn’t it?’”

On Her Mother

“Whenever anything went wrong in my life, my mom always had the same saying she’d say over and over: ‘All things happen for the best.’ And I’d always say, ‘Who’s best?’ And she’d say, ‘Gotta go…’ There’s really only one way to describe my mother. There’s a very old saying I don’t know if you’ve heard it: Neurotics build castles in the air, and psychotics live in them. Well, my mother cleans them.”

On Retail Therapy

“One time I love to shop is after a bad relationship. I go and buy a new outfit, and it makes me feel better. Sometimes, if I see a really great outfit, I’ll break up with someone on purpose.”

On Family Drama

“My dad hated his sister and didn’t talk to her for about 40 years. My dad wasn’t well, and I knew he was going to pass away. I said, ‘Why do you hate Aunt Sylvia?’ He said, ‘I can’t remember…’ So before he died, I got them together, and they were able to talk. I was so happy that I did — because before my dad died, he was able to remember why he hated her.”

On Her Wardrobe

“I have my clothes carefully divided up into three groups: Clothes I can wear now; clothes I might be able to wear again at some point; and clothes I’m never, ever gonna be able to wear again even if someone cuts me in half. I have a pair of jeans that, I’m telling you, the Israelis and Palestinians have a better chance of getting together than this zipper.”

On Statistics

“I met my husband in Australia ‘cause I couldn’t find a man in this hemisphere. There is a shortage. They came out with that study in Newsweek last year; it said that if you’re a single woman over 30, there’s a less than 20 percent chance you’ll ever get married. They should do another survey. They should find out how many women over 30 ever bought Newsweek again.”

On Her Fertility Problems

“I tried to get pregnant, but I couldn’t. It turned out that when I was younger, I had made some mistakes. I’d spent too much time in jacuzzis, and what had happened was that I had accidentally hard-boiled my eggs. Martin and I discussed surrogacy. I went to a doctor, and he explained the procedure very thoroughly. He said, ‘What I’m gonna have to do here is take the eggs out of a young girl and fertilize them with your husband’s sperm.’ And Martin said, ‘Wait a second — why do you have to take the eggs out?’ So… we adopted.”

On Her Early Career

“I’ve been on TV for a while. Before I did comedy, I did commercials. I announced to the country that I had bad breath, a dandruff problem and perspiration. People who recognized me on the street tried to hose me down. And when I started, I was so classy. I was a ballerina, but I had to quit the ballet after I injured a groin muscle — it wasn’t mine.”

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