40 Harry Shearer Quotes About Life, Success & Acting

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Which are your favorite Harry Shearer quotes?

Harry Shearer is an American actor, comedian, writer, musician, radio host, director, and producer. He is most famously known for his long-running roles on the popular TV show ‘The Simpsons’ in which he provides voices for many of the show’s main characters including ‘Mr. Burns’ and ‘Reverend Lovejoy’.

Throughout his career in the film industry, Shearer has successfully brought home many prestigious awards, such as ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ and ‘Grammy Award’.

He was notably a member of the radio comedy group, ‘The Credibility Gap’, before the group break up and led him to begin co-writing the film ‘Real Life’ with fellow well-known actor ‘Albert Brooks’.

Here’s our collection of the best Harry Shearer quotes:


40 Harry Shearer Quotes About Life, Success & Acting

1. “The theater business is very much about Hey, if you want our big blockbuster at Christmas time, you’ll play our piece of crap in April.” – Harry Shearer

2. “In the year and a half I was on SNL, I never saw anybody ad-lib anything. For a very good reason – the director cut according to the script. So, if you ad-libbed, you’d be off mike and off camera.” – Harry Shearer

3. “Because I don’t do stand-up, radio has always been my equivalent, a place to stay in connection with the public and force myself to write every week and come up with new characters. Plus it’s a medium that – having grown up with it and putting myself to sleep with a radio under my pillow [as a kid] – I love. No matter what picture you want to create in the listener’s mind, a few minutes of work gets it done.” – Harry Shearer

4. “Sometimes, songs spill out of you very fast, and sometimes you have to wrangle them to the floor. But the same thing is true of comedy, where sometimes it really flows.” – Harry Shearer

5. “I always used to sit next to Mel Blanc when we’d do the shows. When you have Jack Benny on one side and Mel Blanc on the other, you’re not going to go far wrong.” – Harry Shearer

6. “I was never into candy and games and clowns.” – Harry Shearer

7. “You have to do real acting, not just do a voice.” – Harry Shearer

8. “The hardest work most of us do is maintaining the appearance of normality.” –Harry Shearer

9. “I think in most cases if you’re with good people, comedy creation happens faster in collaboration. That’s how I can tell if it’s a good collaboration: If it’s faster than me by myself, then it works. If it’s slower than me by myself, then I get out of the room.” – Harry Shearer


10th of 40 Harry Shearer Quotes

10. “[The word class has] been excised from the acceptable political vocabulary, except in the limited usage of right-wingers when they accuse liberals of inciting ‘class warfare’ – a charge that means it’s okay for rich people to vote their economic interests but it’s not all right to encourage poor people to do so.” – Harry Shearer


11. “To do then now would be retro. To do then then was very now-tro, if you will.” – Harry Shearer

12. “Music can happen with equal ease as a solo or collaborative venture, it seems to me.” – Harry Shearer

13. “If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute powerlessness make you pure?” – Harry Shearer

14. “A movie script more than anything else is a plan of action for the crew.” – Harry Shearer

15. “I’ve got an odd, negative bond with C. Montgomery Burns. He reminds a lot of people of bosses they’ve worked for. He certainly reminds me of someone I’m working for” – Harry Shearer

16. “You’re in this business for people to know what you do and like it.” – Harry Shearer

17. “The first thing you’ve got to do is know your craft, and then you can do something else with it.” – Harry Shearer

18. “You’re not just looking for laughs, but you’re trying to do the characters first, and then the laughs come afterwards.” – Harry Shearer

19. “I have a very strong visual memory of the first time I made him laugh. That was remarkable. I was like, Oh, God, I just made Jack Benny laugh.” – Harry Shearer


20th of 40 Harry Shearer Quotes

20. “Well I directed a few feature-length things for HBO in the late eighties.” – Harry Shearer


21. “I would come back to public school for usually about half the year. It was actually better for me to be out of school a lot because I was two years younger than everybody, which is a bad situation, socially.” – Harry Shearer

22. “I went to graduate school at Harvard for one year I worked in the state legislature in Sacramento for one year. I taught school in Compton for two years.” – Harry Shearer

23. “Democrats always like to brag that their guys are smarter than the opponents and Republicans always like to brag that their guys are more moral than the opponents. But if you’re looking for morals in politics you’re looking for bananas in the cheese department.” – Harry Shearer

24. “Music often happens even faster than comedy in terms of the creation.” – Harry Shearer

25. “I am one of those people who thrive on deadlines.” – Harry Shearer

26. “If you’re going to do something that lasts 90 minutes, you can’t really do it with stick figures.” – Harry Shearer

27. “Everybody in the crew looks at the script to see what they’re going to do. It has to contain where you are, and how many people are there, and what they do, and what time of day it is, and what time of year it is.” – Harry Shearer

28. “Well Washington DC what are you going to do. They think the capitol steps are the state of the art in comedy. You try to drag them into the 20th century let alone the 21st and they refuse to come with you.” – Harry Shearer

29. “Privilege has its own way of seeing the world.” – Harry Shearer


30th of 40 Harry Shearer Quotes

30. “Anybody who says that having the public recognize them and relate to the work they do is irritating should get into another line of work.” – Harry Shearer


31. “When it moved to Friday night it disappeared when they find another show that can do what The Simpsons does, they will be delighted to do cancel The Simpsons.” – Harry Shearer

32. “As a kid, I really did want to hang out with the grownups, so it was hanging out with the hippest grownups in the world. This was the nicest bunch of people I’ve worked with in show business, with the exception of the people around A Mighty Wind. It really was a wonderful eight years.” – Harry Shearer

33. “Nobody makes a movie thinking it’s still going to be watched and talked about and quoted 20 years later.” – Harry Shearer

34. “My parents didn’t want me to be a regular in a series. I was a working actor from time to time but they thought was a little too much being a star of a series. They wanted me to have a slightly more normal childhood.” – Harry Shearer

35. “The last president we had was the smartest guy anyone could remember and he did the dumbest thing anyone has ever seen in the White House so go figure.” – Harry Shearer

36. “You know, radio was a really easy way to do the shows. You’d come in, do a read-through, there’d be a few rehearsals, then you’d come the night of the show and do it in front of the audience and then go home.” – Harry Shearer

37. “Nothing brings on inspiration more readily than desperation.” – Harry Shearer

38. “You can get an awful lot of effects into the customer’s mind for a great deal less time and money in radio than you can in television.” – Harry Shearer

39. “I was a Political Science major.” – Harry Shearer

40. “I’d always loved radio.” – Harry Shearer



Thanks for checking out this collection of quotes from Harry Shearer! Don’t forget to share them on social media with your friends and family.

Which are your favorite Harry Shearer quotes? Leave a comment below.

Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa is a writer for Wealthy Gorilla. Friends often call her Zii. She is a girl from Jakarta, Indonesia who currently lives in Bali. Zii loves photography and travelling.


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