"If God had intended us to fly, He would have given us wings” is a popular anonymous proverb. The jet age of the 1960s added a different ending: “If God wanted us to fly, he would have given us tickets.”
“If the Lord had intended us to fly this way, he would have given us tickets” is from a “Church Humor” comic strip by Leo Carnavan in June 1969. The one-line saying has been credited to Brooklyn-born film director, writer and comedian Mel Brooks since at least 1994, but there’s no earlier evidence that would indicate that he said it.
If God had intended us to fly, He would have given us wings.
. Anonymous proverb. Note that many humorous variations have been made from this, replacing the second half of the sentence with things such as, “He would have given us more money” or “He would have bought us the tickets” or in the quixotic commentery of Michael Flanders, “he would never have given us railways”.
19 June 1969, Billings (MT) Gazette, “Church Humor” comic strip by Leo Canavan, pg. 16, col. 4:
(Two angels are sitting on top of a DC-9—ed.)
“If the Lord had intended us to fly this way, he would have given us tickets.”
20 July 1969, Chicago (IL) Tribune, comic strip, pg. 24:
“If the Lord had intended us to fly this way, He would have given us tickets.”
Come in number one, your time is up
By Derek Jewell
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
“If God had meant us to fly, he would have given us airline tickets,” he said, trying an old and somewhat desperate joke.
Some of My Best Friends Are Blues
By Ronnie Scott and Mike Hennessey
London: W.H. Allen
After all, as I’ve often reflected since, if God had meant us to fly, he would have given us all El Al tickets.
The Popular Voice:
A Musical Record of the 60s and 70s
By Derek Jewell
That’s a natural lead-in to the jokes ("If God had meant us to fly he would have given us air-line tickets"), which are as sardonically Jewish as the tune he wrote called “Some Of My Best Friends Are Blues”.
30 August 1981, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Music” by Martin Bernheimer, Calendar, pg. K62:
To pine for those days does not imply a conviction that movies should have remained silent, that hoop skirts should come back, that television should not have been invented, or that if God had wanted us to fly he would have given us tickets.
Mark My Words:
Great Quotations and the Stories Behind Them
By Nigel Rees
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble, Inc.
‘If God had intended us to fly, He would have sent us tickets’ - attributed to Mel Brooks by Frederic Raphael in 1994.
The 2,548 Wittiest Things Anybody Ever Said
By Robert Byrne
New York, NY: Touchstone (Simon and Schuster)
If God wanted us to fly, he would have given us tickets. —Mel Brooks