We’ve all been in that situation where someone dissed us and we just couldn’t manage a witty retort. These famous people didn’t have any trouble thinking up an awesome, and at times viciously funny comeback… and went down in history at the same time.
Edna Ferber vs Noel Coward
Coward was remarking upon the fact that Ferber was wearing a tailored suit.
Senator Fritz Hollings vs Henry McMastor
When challenged by his Republican opponent during a televised debate to take a drug test:
Mohandas Gandhi vs Western Civilization
Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller vs An Attendee At A Church Conference
After the man ranted against university education and thanked God that he had never been corrupted by going to college.
Earnest Hemingway vs William Faulkner
Groucho Marx vs A Contestant on You Bet Your Life
After the contestant revealed that he was a father of 10:
Henry Clay vs Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster
After seeing a pack of mules walk by:
Ilka Chase vs An Anonymous Actress
James McNeill Whistler vs Oscar Wilde
After Whistler had made a particularly witty observation:
John Barrymore vs A Woman In The Lady’s Room
Barrymore was drunkenly urinating in the wrong bathroom, and turned to face his accuser, penis in hand.
John Wilkes vs John Montagu
Miriam Hopkins vs An Anonymous Singer
Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier
Niels Bohr vs A Reporter
Oscar Wilde vs Lewis Morris
Morris had just been passed over for the Poet Laureateship.
Pierre Trudeau vs Richard Nixon
Upon hearing that Nixon had called him an asshole.
Reverend Edward Everett Hale vs The U.S. Senate
When asked if he prayed for the Senators:
Robert Benchley vs A Man In Uniform
Thomas Reed vs Henry Clay
Winston Churchill vs A Member Of Parliament
Winston Churchill vs Bessie Braddock
Winston Churchill vs George Bernard Shaw
Winston Churchill vs Lady Astor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart vs An Admirer
Abraham Lincoln vs A Foreign Diplomat
After the diplomat found Lincoln polishing his boots in his office.
Abraham Lincoln vs Stephen Douglas
After Douglas called him “two-faced” during a debate:
Alcibiades vs Pericles
Bill Clinton vs Dan Quayle
After Quayle revealed that he planned to be “a pit bull” in the 1992 campaign against Clinton and Gore.
Calvin Coolidge vs An Opera Singer
Calvin Coolidge vs Some Random Lady At A White House Dinner
Dorothy Parker vs New Yorker Editor Harold Ross
Parker had been on her honeymoon, when Harold Ross interrupted her to ask why she was late with a book review.
NY Mayor Ed Koch vs Andrew Kirtzman
After the reporter insisted on pressing a point about an inconsistent statement Koch had made:
Feel the BURN! Next time you get in an argument with someone, just try to remember a few of these great comebacks. It will end the argument for good. Share the history’s greatest comebacks with others below.