• Mahatma Gandhi

    Some of history's greatest replies come from people we don't usually associate with great wit.

    In the decades prior to World War II, Mohandas 'Mahatma'" Gandhi led a massive campaign of civil disobedience designed to help colonial India win its independence from the British Empire. In 1931, shortly after being named Time magazine's 'Man of the Year,' Gandhi traveled to London to meet with British authorities. The entire nation was curious to learn more about this little brown man, as many called him. Constantly swarmed by press and photographers, Gandhi was peppered with questions wherever he went.

    One day a reporter yelled out, "What do you think of Western civilization?"

    It was a defining moment, and Gandhi's reply instantly transformed him from an object of curiosity into a celebrity.

    In his heavy Indian accent, he answered, "I think it would be a good idea."
  • Pope John XXIII

    One of the few pontiffs in history with a rich sense of humor, Pope John XXIII once reported to an interviewer that important problems would frequently come to mind in the middle of the night, disturbing his sleep.

    Half awake, he'd make a mental note: "I must speak to the pope about that."

    "Then," he confessed, "I would be wide awake and remember - I am the pope!"

    Once asked by a journalist, "How many people work in the Vatican?" the pontiff pondered the question, giving the impression that he was trying to come up with an accurate estimate.

    Then, with a straight face, he answered: "About half."
  • George Bernard Shaw

    After the opening performance of Arms and the Man in London in 1894, playwright George Bernard Shaw joined the actors on stage to acknowledge a rousing, appreciative ovation.

    Amidst the sustained applause, a solitary voice cried out: "Boo! Boo!

    Shaw looked in the direction of the voice and said: "I quite agree with you my friend, but what can we two do against a whole houseful of the opposite opinion?"
  • My Best Side...

    Alfred Hitchcock's 1944 film "Lifeboat," a drama about eight survivors of a freighter sunk by a German U-Boat, was one of the most popular films of the year (it was also nominated for three Academy Awards).

    While posing for publicity photographs for the film, actress Mary Anderson approached the director and asked, "What is my best side, Mr. Hitchcock?"

    His reply was soon being circulated all around Hollywood: "My dear, you're sitting on it."