29+ Best Buster Keaton Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Joseph Frank Keaton, known professionally as Buster Keaton, was an American actor, comedian, film director, producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. Inspirational Buster Keaton quotes will fire up your brain and inspire you to look at life differently while making you laugh.

Famous Buster Keaton Quotes

And if there is sweeter music this side of heaven I haven’t heard it. – Buster Keaton

A comedian does funny things. A good comedian does things funny. – Buster Keaton

Tragedy is a close-up, comedy, a long shot. – Buster Keaton

Silence is of the gods, only monkeys chatter. – Buster Keaton

No man can be a genius in slap shoes and a flat hat. – Buster Keaton

All my life I have been happiest when the folks watching me said to each other, Look at the poor dope, wilya? – Buster Keaton

Like everyone else, I like to be with a happy crowd. – Buster Keaton

They say pantomime’s a lost art. It’s never been a lost art and never will be, because it’s too natural to do. – Buster Keaton

I don’t feel qualified to talk about my work. – Buster Keaton

Charlie Chaplin and I would have a friendly contest: Who could do the feature film with the least subtitles? – Buster Keaton

I’ve had few dull moments [in my life] and not too many sad and defeated ones. In saying this I am by no means overlooking the rough and rocky years I’ve lived through. But I was not brought up thinking life would be easy. I always expected to work hard for my money and to get nothing I did not earn. And the bad years, it seems to me, were so few that only a dyed-in-the-wool grouch who enjoys feeling sorry for himself would complain. – Buster Keaton

I don’t act, anyway. The stuff is all injected as we go along. My pictures are made without script or written directions of any kind – Buster Keaton

If one more person tells me this is just like old times, I swear I’ll jump out the window. – Buster Keaton

Not long ago a friend asked me what was the greatest pleasure I got from spending my whole life as an actor. There have been so many that I had to think about that for a moment. Then I said, ‘Like everyone else, I like to be with a happy crowd’. – Buster Keaton

Down through the years my face has been called a sour puss, a dead pan, a frozen face, The Great Stone Face, and, believe it or not, “a tragic mask.” On the other hand that kindly critic, the late James Agee, described my face as ranking “almost with Lincoln’s as an early American archetype, it was haunting, handsome, almost beautiful.” I can’t imagine what the great rail splitter’s reaction would have been to this, though I sure was pleased. – Buster Keaton

Is Hollywood the cruelest city in the world? Well, it can be. New York can be that, too. You can be a Broadway star here one night, and something happens, and out–nobody knows you on the street. They forget you ever lived. It happens in Hollywood, too. – Buster Keaton

The first thing I did in the studio was to want to tear that camera to pieces. I had to know how that film got into the cutting room, what you did to it in there, how you projected it, how you finally got the picture together, how you made things match. The technical part of pictures is what interested me. Material was the last thing in the world I thought about. You only had to turn me loose on the set and I’d have material in two minutes, because I’d been doing it all my life. – Buster Keaton

I was mad at the time, or I would never have done the thing. – Buster Keaton

What really got my goat at MGM were comedians like The Marx Brothers who never wrote their own jokes. – Buster Keaton

I gotta do some sad scenes. Why, I never tried to make anybody cry in my life! And I go round all the time dolled up in kippie clothes-wear everything but a corset…can`t stub my toe in this picture nor anything! Just imagine having to play-act all the time without ever getting hit with anything! – Buster Keaton

The funny thing about our act is that dad gets the worst of it, although I’m the one who apparently receives the bruises . . . the secret is in landing limp and breaking the fall with a foot or a hand. It’s a knack. I started so young that landing right is second nature with me. Several times I’d have been killed if I hadn’t been able to land like a cat. Imitators of our act don’t last long, because they can’t stand the treatment. – Buster Keaton

Life is too serious to do farce comedy. – Buster Keaton

When sound came, we found this out–we found this out from our own pictures–that sound didn’t bother us at all. There was only one thing I wanted at all times and insisted on: that you go ahead and talk in the most natural way, in your situations. Don’t give me puns. Don’t give me jokes. No wisecracks. – Buster Keaton

We didn’t stick to any format. We would just get an idea, and once you started on the idea it would lend itself to gags and natural trouble of any kind. There was no format. – Buster Keaton

Well, I’d say that the minute sound came in, it was everybody talking their heads off and going for dialogue laughs. All your writers did the same thing. Once that started, it took years to ever get anybody even to touch that old type of material again – Buster Keaton

I’ve simply been brought up being knocked down. – Buster Keaton

It was an event when you could get all three of them on the set at the same time. The minute you started a picture with the Marx brothers you hired three assistant directors. One for each Marx brother. You had two of ’em while you went to look for the third one and the first two would disappear. – Buster Keaton

Everybody at Metro was in my gag department, including Irving Thalberg. They’d laugh their heads off at dialogue written by all your new writers. They were joke-happy. They didn’t look for action; they were looking for funny things to say. – Buster Keaton

You could write the whole plot on a postcard. We do the rest. – Buster Keaton

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