The Early Bird Gets the Worm, but

… the Second Mouse Gets the Cheese.

That was the quote in my fortune cookie tonight.

I had never heard the phrase before, and it took me a few moments to realize what it meant. Once I figured it out, I decided to go online and see if there was additional info about the quote that might be interesting enough to perhaps write a blog post about.

Unfortunately, there really wasn’t, since the quote seems to mean exactly what it says.

However, while searching the web, I did come across one site which noted that while some have claimed it was comedian Stephen Wright who created the second mouse one-liner, such a claim seemed doubtful because of the dates involved.

But the real beauty of coming across this web site was that it brought me back in contact with the genius of Stephen Wright.

I remember the first time I saw Wright perform on TV I thought he was one of the strangest, and funniest comedians I had ever seen. Many of his one-liners take me a second or two to think about before I get the punchline, and it seems as if I am not alone in such behavior.

Seeing his name gave me the chance to go back and find some of his classic one-liners, and discover some I do not recall having heard before.

I thought I’d share some of my favorites:

  • “How do you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?”
  • “I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.”
  • “What’s another word for Thesaurus?”
  • “One time a cop pulled me over for running a stop sign. He said, ]Didn’t you see the stop sign?’ I said, “Yeah, but I don’t believe everything I read.”
  • “If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.”
  • “All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand.”
  • “I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. So I said, ‘”Got any shoes you’re not using?'”
  • “When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.”
  • “The sign said “eight items or less.” So I changed my name to Les.”
  • “I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.”
  • “I have two very rare photographs. One is a picture of Houdini locking his keys in his car. The other is a rare photograph of Norman Rockwell beating up a child.”
  • “There was a power outage at a department store yesterday. Twenty people were trapped on the escalators.”
  • “I’ve been getting into astronomy so I installed a skylight. The people who live above me are furious.”
  • “In my house there’s this light switch that doesn’t do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a woman in Madagascar. She said, ‘Cut it out.'”
  • “There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.”
  • “Half the people you know are below average.”
  • “42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.”
  • “I was born by Caesarian section…but not so you’d notice. It’s just that when I leave a house, I go out through the window.”
  • “I wear my heart on my sleeve. I wear my liver on my pant leg.”
  • “I know the guy who writes all those bumper stickers. He hates New York.”
  • “I still have my Christmas Tree. I looked at it today. Sure enough, I couldn’t see any forests.”
  • “I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums.”
  • “When I was a little kid we had a sand box. It was a quicksand box. I was an only child… eventually.”
  • “It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.”
  • “I’m writing a book. I have the page numbers done; now I just have to fill in the rest.”
  • “When we were driving over the border back into the United States, they asked me if I had any firearms. I said what do you need?”
  • “I’ve written several children’s books … Not on purpose.”
  • “I called the wrong number today. I said ‘Hello, is Joey there?’ A woman answered and she said ‘Yes he is.’ And I said ‘Can I speak to him please?’ She said ‘No, he can’t talk right now, he’s only two months old.’ I said ‘Alright, I’ll wait.'”
  • “I went to a place to eat. It said ‘breakfast at any time.’ So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.”
  • “We lived in a house that ran on static electricity. If we wanted to cook something, we had to take a sweater off real quick. If we wanted to run a blender we had to rub balloons on our heads.”
  • “I stayed up one night playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.”
  • “I wrote a song, but I can’t read music so I don’t know what it is. Every once in a while I’ll be listening to the radio and I say, ‘I think I might have written that.'”
  • “George is a radio announcer, and when he walks under a bridge, you can’t hear him talk.”
  • “Hermits have no peer pressure.”
  • “I didn’t get a toy train like the other kids. I got a toy subway instead. You couldn’t see anything, but every now and then you’d hear this rumbling noise go by.”
  • “I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.”
  • “I put my air conditioner in backward. It got cold outside. The weatherman on TV was confused. ‘It was supposed to be hot today.'”
  • “I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second.”
  • “I stayed in a really old hotel last night. They sent me a wake-up letter.”
  • “I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.”
  • “I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn’t park anywhere near the place.”
  • “I was in a job interview and I opened a book and started reading. Then I said to the guy, ‘Let me ask you a question. If you are in a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘I don’t want your job.'”
  • ‘I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.”

I could go on and on, but the genius of Stephen Wright seems pretty clear to me.

If you’ve never seen him in action, here’s a video clip:

Who would have thought that some take-out Thai food would have led to a Stephen Wright homage?

You gotta love the Internet…

*image from

6 thoughts on “The Early Bird Gets the Worm, but

  1. You have provided a valuable service, Professor! Thank you. This guy was the best. One of my favorites was: “I was riding a ski lift with a guy who said he just got out of prison. He told me, ‘I pushed a perfect stranger into the path of a train.’ So, I said ‘I remember you’.


  2. Thanks Jim. I laughed out loud several times. I saw him perform once and remember wishing he’d stop for a minute because I was in physical pain. “I bought some dehydrated water but don’t know what to add.”


  3. By the way, your fortune cookie wisdom reminds me of the old Irish joke: As the grizzly started to charge the two Irish campers, Mike said to Pat, “I hope we can run faster than that bear!” Then Pat turned to Mike and said, “I just hope I can run faster than you!” (Rim shot)


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