Anecdotes from the Life of Groucho Marx.


Julius Henry Marx, aka ‘Groucho’ Marx, was born October 2, 1890, in New York City, New York.  He and his brothers Adolf (Harpo) and Leonard (Chico) made up one of the zaniest comedy groups in American history – The Marx Brothers.  On stage and in the movies, they kept audiences in an uproar with their outrageous puns, satires, musical donnybrooks, and all-around bad-boy behavior with those who were obviously their betters.  Groucho was the nominal leader of this band of merry Andrews, and as such usually had the best lines in their plays and movies.  He was also a noted raconteur in his private life, using his irrepressible wit to skewer stuffed shirts and deflate the pompous vaporing of so-called experts in any and every field.  Here are five gems on finances that came from him, and that we can all learn from:

  • “A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.’

Groucho was one of the first Hollywood stars to insist on using a stand-in for any stunts he considered to be even slightly dangerous.  He advised his children to work at boring jobs rather than risky ones; the money’s the same, he insisted, and you don’t have to spend time and money taking care of injuries.

  • “The only primrose path I know of is Wall Street!”

Groucho learned his lesson after the 1929 Wall Street Crash.  He invested in a wide variety of financial instruments, from real estate to bonds to precious metals, and was able to help his other brothers when their incomes dwindled at the end of their film career because they had insisted on investing in nothing but stocks.

  • “Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.”

Well, okay, this is more bitter hindsight than sound financial advice, since Groucho had 3 wives during his lifetime.  But he managed to stay friends with all three of his ex-wives and they eventually agreed to drop their alimony demands on him – thus proving once again that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar!

  • “I find television very educational.  Every time someone turns on a set I go into another room and read a book.”

Groucho was an avid reader and book collector.  Towards the end of his life he estimated he had spent a total of four-hundred dollars on television sets, which were now worth nothing, and had spent well over twenty-thousand dollars on books, which were now worth nearly a million dollars.  He obviously knew the wisdom of spending money on things that not only give pleasure, but increase in value.

  • “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing.  If you can fake those you’ve got it made.”

Groucho’s friends knew him to be a hard bargainer, but an honest one.  When he made a deal, he stuck by it no matter what.  This came in handy in the mid 1930’s, when the Marx Brothers’ movie career was considered to be over.  The team was let go by Paramount Studios and Groucho decided to take them into radio for a trial run.  When MGM Studios requested them for a movie, Groucho told them that they had already signed a contract for radio and would not back out of it.  Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM, was so impressed with Groucho’s honesty and integrity that he personally bought out the team’s contract with the radio network, and the team began work on what many consider to be one of the greatest movie comedies every made, “A Night at the Opera”.

Reflections on the Minimum Wage.

This could be you in a few weeks!

guess I never could maintain a franchise with success,

Since underpaying workers would give me a lot of stress.

It’s not that I’m an angel, heaven-sent to make folks rich;

It’s just that I’m a lazy good-for-nothing son of a bitch.


Underpaying workers on a constant basis means

A slew of lawyers and accountants picking my blue jeans.

For poor folks are so hard to manage if you cannot prove

That you are also slogging in that awful selfsame groove.


I’d have to go to meetings and make charities a must;

I’d have to slave like anything to earn my paupers’ trust.

I’d rather not create a bunch of jobs that keep men poor,

And give the world excuses to build another dollar store.

The Soup Kitchen.


The men – they’re mostly men – line up before the doors are sprung;

Some of them are older, but then some of them are young.

They’re boozers and they’re bruisers and they’re losers as a rule;

Hard knocks being the subject they have studied most in school.


They don’t say grace and finger bowls are definitely scorned;

They eat what’s put before them, overcooked and unadorned.

Their words are harsh and bitten off like strips of fibrous jerky;

Their eyes reflecting nothing but a desperation murky.


And then someone sits down at the piano on the edge,

And plays a little Chopin – maybe softly, maybe sledge.

The jaws do not stop chewing, nor the forks pause in their lift –

But ev’ry Lazarus enjoys that happy little gift.

Are You Looking for a Chance to Travel & Work in Dubai?


(Editor’s Note: Our good friend, Toto Johnson, a professional circus clown, has just posted the following on his Facebook page.  We thought it interesting enough to repost here.  It is a LEGITIMATE job offer!)


“Hey…remember that gig in Dubai that was brought up awhile back? Well…I got a lengthy email about it from Martin D’Souza today. He is the producer of the clown festivals in India that me, Greg Parks, Joe Vecciarelli, etc have gone to. He has 11 clowns booked out of the 20 spaces available. I cannot do it because they are not willing to split up the time frame…which runs December 28-February 1. I could do 2 weeks but not the whole month but the government in Dubai has only allowed 20 visas for the event so all the clowns involved must go for the full time.

If anyone wants to throw their hat in the ring you can contact Martin at…”