A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 22, 2010
“Congress: A man gets up to speak and says nothing, nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees”

New York (NY) Post Broadway columnist Leonard Lyons wrote this in a 1941 column: “‘Congress is so strange,’ reported Boris Marshalov, the Russian actor and dramatic coach, after a visit to the spectators’ gallery of the House of Representatives. ‘A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens—and then everybody disagrees.’”

Boris Marshalov (1902-1967) became widely quoted for the saying, but it was also attributed to Will Rogers, Groucho Marx, Raymond Paige and others.


Wikiquote: United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election.

Sourced
Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens. And when he sits down, everybody disagrees.
. Attributed to Russian actor Boris Marshalov after visiting the House of Representatives
.. Fuller, Edmund (1942). Thesaurus of Anecdotes. Crown Publishers. p. 343.
.. Young, Roland (1943). This Is Congress. A. A. Knopf. p. 158.
. Attributed to Will Rogers
.. Time–Life Books (1969). This Fabulous Century: 1910–1920. Time–Life. p. 263.

Bartleby.com
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations.  1989.
NUMBER: 266
AUTHOR: Boris Marshalov (1902–67)
QUOTATION: Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens—and then everybody disagrees.
ATTRIBUTION: BORIS MARSHALOV, a Russian observer, after visiting the House of Representatives.—Senator Alexander Wiley, Laughing with Congress, p. 58 (1947).
SUBJECTS: Congress

2 March 1941, Oakland (CA) Tribune, pg. 14D, col. 7:
STRANGE MORALS
“Congress is so strange,” reported Boris Marshalov, the Russian actor and dramatic coach, after a visit to the spectators’ gallery of the House of Representatives. “A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens—and then everybody disagrees.”—Leonard Lyons, N. Y. Post.

28 June 1941, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood,” pg. A9:
Blake Garner (Lupe Velez’ boy friend) says a story conference is a get together where nobody says anything, nobody listens, and then all violently disagree.

6 August 1941, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “The State Press,” sec. 2, pg. 4:
Grandview Texan: A Russian actor and dramatic coach sat it on Congress one day and is said to have remarked in bewilderment: “Congress is funny. One man gets up to make a speech and says nothing. Nobody listens, and when he is done everybody disagrees.”

Google Books
This Is Congress
By Roland Young
New York, NY: A. A. Knopf
1943
Pg. 158:
The Russian actor and dramatic coach Boris Marshalov is reported to have remarked after visiting the House of Representatives: “Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens—and then everybpdy disagrees.”

Google News Archive
4 February 1944, Daytona Beach (FL) Morning Journal, pg. 3, col. 2:
Thumbnail Picture: Raymond Paige read it long ago. About the diplomat from Europe, who after witnessing Congress in action the first time observed: “Congress is strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens and then all disagree.”

Papers Past
27 July 1945, Wellington (NZ) Evening Post, pg. 6:
Asked to give his opinion of Congress, Will Rogers, the cowboy humorist, drawled:

“Well, they’re a strange bunch of critters. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens—and then everybody disagrees.”

Google News Archive
27 February 1948, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, “So They Tell Me” by Anne Fishman, pg. 14, col. 4:
Groucho Marx tells me this: “Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens. And then everybody disagrees.”

Google Books
If elected, I promise:
1001 jokes, toasts, stories, and gems of wisdom by and about politicians

By John F. Parker
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1960
Pg. 101:
“Congress surely is a strange place,” commented a visitor as he watched the proceedings on the floor of the House. “A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens—and then everybody disagrees.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, November 22, 2010 • Permalink