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171 Inspiring Quotes by Steve Martin

  • Last updated Jul 26 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Steve Martin.

Wikipedia Summary for Steve Martin

Stephen Glenn Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and musician. Over his distinguished career he has earned five Grammy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and was awarded an Honorary Academy Award at the Academy's 5th Annual Governors Awards in 2013. Among many honors, he has received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center Honors, and an AFI Life Achievement Award. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Martin at sixth place in a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics.

Martin came to public notice in the 1960s as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later as a frequent host on Saturday Night Live. In the 1970s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. Since the 1980s, having branched away from comedy, Martin has become a successful actor, starring in such films as The Jerk (1979), Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), The Man with Two Brains (1983), Three Amigos, Little Shop of Horrors (both 1986), Roxanne, Planes, Trains and Automobiles (both 1987), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), and L.\n\nA. Story (1991). He has also starred as the family patriarch in Parenthood (1989), the Father of the Bride films (1991–1995), and the Cheaper by the Dozen films (2003–2005). Martin also portrayed Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther remakes. In 2009 he starred in Nancy Meyers's romantic comedy It's Complicated alongside Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin.

Martin is also known for writing the book and lyrics to the musical Bright Star (2016), and the comedy Meteor Shower (2017) both of which premiered on Broadway. While he has played banjo since an early age, and included music in his comedy routines from the beginning of his professional career, he has increasingly dedicated his career to music since the 2000s, acting less and spending much of his professional life playing banjo, recording, and touring with various bluegrass acts, including Earl Scruggs, with whom he won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 2002. He released his first solo music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, in 2009, for which he won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.

A view of the night showing stars

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way.

--Steve Martin

sunset highway

Dinosaurs did not walk with humans. The evolutionary record says different. They gambled.

--Steve Martin

purple and white clouds during night time

The banjo is such a happy instrument -- you can't play a sad song on the banjo -- it always comes out so cheerful.

--Steve Martin

None

You know when you're telling these little stories? Here's a good idea: have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!

--Steve Martin


full-moon above snow-capped mountain painting

I like all kinds of music. I listen to Abigail Washburn, the Punch Brothers, and Marc Johnson, the great clawhammer player. I also listen a lot to Sirius Radio, there's a lot of bluegrass there.

--Steve Martin

red strawberry fruit on red surface

What is a movie star? A movie star is many things. They can be tall, short, thin, or skinny. They can be Democrats... or skinny.

--Steve Martin



palm trees covered with fog

What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.

--Steve Martin



close up shot of white flower

We've taken what was just once a racetrack and made it a multifaceted gaming destination for the entire region.

--Steve Martin


low-angle photography of green leaf tree

Be undeniably good.

--Steve Martin


silver round analog wall clock

Hosting the Oscars is much like making love to a woman. It's something I only get to do when Billy Crystal is out of town.

--Steve Martin

mountains covered with fog

If you feel tired midway through, give Neil Patrick Harris a Red Bull and throw some sheet music at him.

--Steve Martin

silhouette photo of mountain during night time

Through the years, I have learned there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.

--Steve Martin

blue and white striped textile

I took literally everything I knew how to do on stage with me, which was juggling, magic and banjo and my little comedy routines.

--Steve Martin

raging waves through shores

You cannot make your opportunities concur with the opportunities of people whose incomes are ten times greater than yours.

--Steve Martin

girl leaning on wall during daytime

I got a flue shot and now my chimney works perfectly.

--Steve Martin

blue wall

It is not the big events that hurt the most but rather the smallest questionable shift in tone at the end of a spoken word that can plow most deeply into the heart.

--Steve Martin


yellow background

I like the idea that one thing leads to another. You can tweet something completely innocuous, and then find yourself going off on a tangent that's inspired by a response.

--Steve Martin

Arizona landscape

Be so good they can't ignore you.

--Steve Martin


yellow sunflowers

I started a grease fire at McDonald's -- threw a match in the cook's hair.

--Steve Martin

selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

Most comedies are really hard to write, or to watch, because you kind of generally know what's coming.

--Steve Martin


two gray pencils on yellow surface

I cringe at backstory. Because it never quite explains or gets into some psychological thing that is never quite right and never quite the truth and who knows why someone is someway.

--Steve Martin

silhouette of pine trees photo

When I was in college, I really liked poetry. I don't read much anymore.

--Steve Martin

red white and black butterfly on green leaf

With comedy, you never know until you put it in front of an audience. You shoot it and a year later you have no idea if it's going to work. And then you get the response. It's great when it's good.

--Steve Martin

grayscale photography of pug

Working at the magic shop really gave me a sense of comedy because it was all jokes.

--Steve Martin


brown rock formation on body of water during daytime

If I screw up raising my kids, nothing I achieve will matter much.

--Steve Martin


body of water under blue sky during sunset

I was very interested in vaudeville. It was the only sort of discipline that was a five-minute act on stage, which is what I really enjoyed and saw myself doing. And I bought books on it.

--Steve Martin

silhouette of elephant on brown sand during sunset

It's a mystery to me the way that contemporary art galleries function.

--Steve Martin

yellow painted wall

I saw the movie, 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and was surprised because I didn't see any tigers or dragons. And then I realized why: they're crouching and hidden.

--Steve Martin

blue and black abstract painting

Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.

--Steve Martin

None

I was always a huge fan of E. E. Cummings. He did a series of lectures at Harvard or Princeton, and they were recorded. And they were incredibly moving.

--Steve Martin

rainbow

First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me.

--Steve Martin



Arizona landscape

I never touched a gun in my life. That and that alone forever doomed me to middle management.

--Steve Martin

None

It's funny that some ideas start with a little "What if?" and then suddenly you're spending a million dollars to shoot the scene and hoping that it works.

--Steve Martin


clear wine glass with red wine

I never thought about success. I always thought about doing the job at hand. My goal was getting through the show that night.

--Steve Martin


yellow lights between trees

I'm enamored with the art world.

--Steve Martin


green ceramic mug beside book

When the person beside you is making you alert and keen and the idea of being with anyone else is not imaginable.

--Steve Martin

green leafed trees

You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do.

--Steve Martin

Longer Version:

You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do. You want to be focused on it.



purple petaled flower on gray surface

Now let's repeat the non-conformists' oath: I promise to be different! I promise to be unique! I promise not to repeat things other people say! Good!

--Steve Martin

blue sky with stars during night time

Everything was dragging me toward the arts; even the study of modern philosophy suggested that philosophy was nonsense.

--Steve Martin

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

I believe entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot.

--Steve Martin

green leaf

He never complicates a desire by overthinking it, unlike Mirabelle, who spins a cocoon around an idea until it is immobile.

--Steve Martin


two women walking on bridge during daytime

Just remember, darling, it is pain that changes our lives.

--Steve Martin

bird's eye view of desert

Theories, for me, are just about freeing your mind. It doesn't mean the theory is going to work like a scientific theory works. It's about freeing your mind and making you think a different way.

--Steve Martin

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

With comedy, you have no place to go but more comedy, so you're never off the hook.

--Steve Martin

time lapse photography body of water

You know what your problem is, it's that you haven't seen enough movies -- all of life's riddles are answered in the movies.

--Steve Martin

Longer Version:

You know what your problem is, it's that you haven't seen enough movies -- all of life's riddles are answered in the movies."
Steve Martin.



green plants with white background

How to make a million dollars: First, get a million dollars.

--Steve Martin

mountain dew during sunrise

Boy, those French: they have a different word for everything!

--Steve Martin

silhouette of trees near body of water during sunset

Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.

--Steve Martin

silhouette of trees during nighttime

There is one thing I would break up over and that is if she caught me with another woman. I wouldn't stand for that.

--Steve Martin

purple and blue light illustration

I loved magic, and so I would practice my magic tricks in front of a mirror for hours and hours and hours because I was told that you must practice, you must practice and never present a trick before it's ready.

--Steve Martin

mountains covered with fog

Deeply funny musings and adventures elevate Paul Rudnick to the highest level of American comedy writing.

--Steve Martin

selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

An apology? Bah! Disgusting! Cowardly! Beneath the dignity of any gentleman, however wrong he might be.

--Steve Martin


landscape photo of mountain during nighttime

These days it's hard to look at a poodle without thinking what a good meal he would make.

--Steve Martin

leafless tree on snow covered ground

So, while fitting in, she was like a wicked detail standing out against a placid background.

--Steve Martin

None

I believe Ronald Reagan can make this country what it once was... an Arctic region covered with ice.

--Steve Martin

white textile in close up photography

Anytime you look at anything that's considered artistic, there's a commercial world around it: the ballet, opera, any kind of music. It can't exist without it.

--Steve Martin


yellow sunflowers

When I finally retire, I just want to go away so no one has to listen to me.

--Steve Martin

purple lavender flower

I've always believed that there are funny people everywhere, but they're just not comedians. In fact, some of my best comedic inspirations were not professional entertainers.

--Steve Martin

rock formation surrounding by body of water

Don't have sex man. It leads to kissing and pretty soon you have to start talking to them.

--Steve Martin

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

Comedy is a distortion of what is happening, and there will always be something happening.

--Steve Martin

person standing on top of mountain

I will do anything to look like him -- except, of course, exercise or eat right.

--Steve Martin



green trees on brown soil

Introductions are hard to come by when your natural state is shyness.

--Steve Martin

red moon at night

What means the most to me changes through the years. There was a time when movies meant the most. But when I'm concentrating on a project, that's what means the most to me.

--Steve Martin

crescent moon above mountain

Awards mean nothing to comedians. What matters is the audience, how you're doing -- artistically, for the most part -- at that moment.

--Steve Martin

sunset

I believe in eight of the ten commandments. I believe in going to church every Sunday... unless there's a game on.

--Steve Martin

Arizona landscape

I believe you should place a woman on a pedestal: high enough so you can look up her dress.

--Steve Martin


selective photography of green leaf plant

When I die, now don't think that I'm a nut, don't want no fancy funeral, just one like old King Tut.

--Steve Martin

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

I'm not a human being. I'm despicable and disgusting -- but that's where the money is.

--Steve Martin

couple sitting near trees during golden hour

I believe that Ronald Reagan will someday make this country what it once was... an arctic wilderness.

--Steve Martin

photo of clear sky full of stars

The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer.

--Steve Martin

Longer Version:

The conscious mind is the editor, and the subconscious mind is the writer. And the joy of writing, when you're writing from your subconscious, is beautiful -- it's thrilling. When you're editing, which is your conscious mind, it's like torture.


closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

I love comedy. That's what got me into the arts. I don't even know how to categorize myself anymore.

--Steve Martin

man in cowboy hat sitting in bleachers

The environment changed with Martha Stewart and Enron.

--Steve Martin

aerial photography of pine trees with mist

I don't really manage my time. I really just wait until I'm inspired to do something. And when I'm inspired to do something, it just happens.

--Steve Martin


photo of fogs during nighttime

All I've ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work.

--Steve Martin


elephants on green grass field during daytime

Unlike Ray Porter, his love is fearless and without reservation.

--Steve Martin

white desk lamp beside green plant

Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.

--Steve Martin

woman standing on cliff

I was deeply unhappy, but I didn't know it because I was so happy all the time.

--Steve Martin


yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

Both scary and down-to-earth, he John Belushi once told me, 'I never yell at the staff, only the department heads.'

--Steve Martin


sunset

When someone less capable is ahead of me, I am not pleased. It makes me insane.

--Steve Martin

flower garden

Well, excuuuuuse me!

--Steve Martin


None

Whether I'm involved in creating something or not, it's a personal issue of do I respect it. But you can only know that five or ten years later.

--Steve Martin


None

The only thing that bothers me is if I'm in a restaurant and I'm eating and someone says, 'Hey, mind if I smoke?' I always say, 'No. Mind if I fart?'

--Steve Martin

purple flower on purple textile

The bluegrass community... can be very strict. I didn't know if I'd be welcomed into the bluegrass community or not, but I think they judge you very fairly... I felt really welcome.

--Steve Martin

tree under blue sky

The real joy is in constructing a sentence. But I see myself as an actor first because writing is what you do when you are ready and acting is what you do when someone else is ready.

--Steve Martin


green textile in close up image

Be pompous, obese, and eat cactus
Be dull and boring and omnipresent
Criticize things you don't know about
Be oblong and have your knees removed.

--Steve Martin

silhouette of trees during sunset

Always do business as if the person you're doing business with is trying to screw you, because he probably is. And if he's not, you can be pleasantly surprised.

--Steve Martin

person holding white book

Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you'll be a mile away and have his shoes.

--Steve Martin


blue and white abstract painting

I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet, they fall in love, he buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say I do. I was wrong. That's getting married. A wedding is an entirely different proposition.

--Steve Martin

old cowboy boots

It's not the size of the nose that matters, it's what's inside that counts.

--Steve Martin




white pendant lamp

When your hobbies get in the way of your work -- that's OK; but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves... well.

--Steve Martin

purple flowered hedge plants

I just don't identify myself with a place. I just don't get it. Like, why am I cheering for this town? Towns are good and bad but they don't have principles, constitutions. You wouldn't go to war for your town.

--Steve Martin




green trees beside body of water during daytime

To be with another woman, that is French. To be caught, that is American.

--Steve Martin

silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

The banjo is truly an American instrument, and it captures something about our past.

--Steve Martin


bird's eye view of desert

Acting keeps me alert to people, and life. I don't know, there's something about going to work early in the morning, and having to stay alert and concentrated. Maybe that keeps your mind alive.

--Steve Martin

None

I happened to take a photo, and there was my wife, my dog and my banjo, all in the same shot -- and I thought, "Oh, that's like a family portrait right there.

--Steve Martin

None

Tweeting is really only good for one thing -- it's just good for tweeting... It is rewarding, because it's just its own reward. It's sort of like heaven.

--Steve Martin

pink and teal striped textile

I love animated films when they are good, because they do bring a lot of emotion and heart that's very difficult to get in a live action film.

--Steve Martin


black and white abstract illustration

Lacy was just as happy alone as with company. When she was alone, she was potential; with others she was realized.

--Steve Martin


white concrete building

I just wanted to be in show business. I didn't care if I was going to be an actor or a magician or what. Comedy was a point of the least resistance, really. And on the simplest level, I loved comedy.

--Steve Martin

brown and white butterfly on purple petaled flower

I've heard lots of people lie to themselves but they never fool anyone.

--Steve Martin

yellow and white abstract painting

Anyway, seeking work is a tad difficult given the poor design of the streets with their prohibitive curbs and driveways that don't quite line up.

--Steve Martin


brown and black tiger near body of water

No art comes from the conscious mind.

--Steve Martin

man riding horse

All of life's riddles are answered in the movies.

--Steve Martin

black wooden louver door window

I can't smell moth balls, I find it too difficult to get their tiny legs apart.

--Steve Martin

grayscale photo of pug on floor

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

--Steve Martin

black mountain under blue sky during night time

A remarkable memoir that's packed with anecdotes, advice and humor, all while maintaining a high level of dignity and self-awareness.

--Steve Martin



silhouette of trees during nighttime

Hollywood must be the only place on earth where you can be fired by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap.

--Steve Martin

purple and white clouds during night time

A celebrity is any well-known TV or movie star who looks like he spends more than two hours working on his hair.

--Steve Martin



blue, yellow, and brown wall decor

I think there are people out there writing original bluegrass songs, but it's hard to get them out on the air.

--Steve Martin

sunset

I've got to keep breathing. It'll be my worst business mistake if I don't.

--Steve Martin





None

Relationships end, but they don't end your life.

--Steve Martin

Longer Version:

Relationships end, but they don't end your life. But people do often spending more time finding out about failed relationships than finding successful ones.


brown sands

College totally changed my life. It changed what I believe and what I think about everything. I majored in philosophy.

--Steve Martin

photography of white wall lot

I really enjoy finding the right word, creating a good, flowing sentence. I enjoy the rhythm of the words.

--Steve Martin


silhouette photography of trees and sky

Halle Berry is here, whose win last year broke down barriers for unbelievably hot women.

--Steve Martin

grayscale photo of desert

I understood that as much as I had resisted the outside, as much as I had constricted my life, as much as I had closed and narrowed the channels into me, there were still many takers for the quiet heart.

--Steve Martin

blue sky with stars during night time

The self-prepared dinner is a great time killer for lonely people and as much time should be spent on it as possible.

--Steve Martin


two birds on flight

She didn't even finish her last sentence; it just trailed off. I think the subject had changed in her head while her mouth had continued on the old topic, not realizing it was out of supplies.

--Steve Martin

snow covered mountain during daytime

The course was more plodding than heroic: I did not strive valiantly against doubters but took incremental steps studded with a few intuitive leaps.

--Steve Martin

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