Talk:Jack Handey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


I fail to see what is "surrealistic" about Deep Thoughts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:41, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

  • One of the "Deep Thoughts" examples in this article is a perfect example of a surreal image: "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." "Screaming trees" is without a doubt a surreal image. The vast majority of Deep Thoughts contain this sort of bizarre, slightly disturbing surrealism. Funny, yes, and also surreal. Jack Handey's comedy often leans to the surreal. His concept, "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" is a form of surrealism. The concept of a Neanderthal man in a suit, trained as a trial lawyer, yet being terrified by mundane modern concepts, definitely fits the definition. Fish Man (talk) 19:04, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

His realness[edit]

Just a couple points on if he exists or not. Jack Handey's deep thoughts first appeared in George Meyer's Army Man zine in the 1980s. Well before they became a gag on SNL, so if it was a Phil Hartman gag it wasn't something started for SNL. He was also a writer on SNL for years, even when he wasn't doing deep thoughts.

Handey also regularly writes comedy pieces for magazines like The New Yorker and was listed as a writer for things other than SNL (check the IMDB page) so if it is a pseudonym it is one used for a lot of comedy writing, not just deep thoughts, and one used for a few decades. Seems kind of an odd thing for a professional comedian to do...

The article currently strongly implies if not outright states that he narrated his own quotes on SNL. My recollection is that it was the unmistakeable voice of Phil Hartman. -- 12:19, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Hartman did not recite the entire "Deep Thought" segment, he just introduced it (IIRC). Richard K. Carson 03:31, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

A Handy Guy?[edit]

This article was under Jack Handy and numerous sites on the Internet have his name spelled that way. But the IMDb has his name as Jack Handey and I assume that is actually the correct spelling. So I moved it. —Frecklefoot 15:38, Apr 22, 2004 (UTC)

Is he real?[edit]

I've always been under the impression that Jack Handey/Handy was just a name used by the SNL writers for Deep Thoughts and Fuzzy Memories.

If you are real, Jack Handey, show thyself!

Well, he does have an entry in the IMDb, and I doubt they'd have an entry on someone who isn't real. But, it doesn't have a birthdate for him (and they have everybody's birthdate) and his "body of work" is quite sparse. Perhaps he isn't real. Clearly, more research devoted to this is required. Thank you for bringing it up. Frecklefoot | Talk 17:02, Jan 17, 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the IMDb does have a sense of humour... [1] [2] [3] :D Mrtea (talk) 23:45, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Here you go:

It's a pseudo-interview with him from the google cache. (The non-cached version requires a subscription.) Most of the questions are jokes, but he does give a bit of autobiographical info at the beginning.


Where should we draw the line on the quotes section? After all, we have a whole host of his quotes on Wikiquote. Frecklefoot | Talk 19:43, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

I moved them all to Wikiquote. It seems to me, though, that one Deep Thought would be appropriate in the article, just to give a sense of what his humor is like. But-- who among us is fit to choose just one Deep Thought that stands above the rest? Not I, I'm afraid. Fishal 18:46, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)


It's my understanding that Jack Handey is a psuedonym for Al Franken (although I've also heard it was started by Phil Hartmann then picked up by Franken).

See the discussion above. Apparently he's real, though I couldn't read the linked article (it requires a subscription). Frecklefoot | Talk 16:04, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

I would swear that he might be a pseudonym for Steve Martin himself. Listen: possibly because the "real" Handey was supposedly a writer for Martin, it happens that the style of the jokes sounds a lot like something Martin would deliver. Another thing that makes me wonder is the coincidence of his wife supposedly being named "Marta." Martin has been publishing in the New Yorker's "Shouts and Murmurs" section for over a decade, so it would be no problem for him to submit Handeyesque pieces and ask that they be published under that name. Of course, if Handey is indeed real, Martin could have been his New Yorker connection. Verbminx

Steve Martin has been quoted as saying that Jack Handy was a neighbor whom he introduced to Lorne Michaels, but again, it could still be him or part of an in joke:


New York Post October 1, 1999

Martin writes off fried shrimp days

Martin quit stand-up years ago, but the likes of Stanley Tucci, Richard Avedon and Don Hewitt were holding their sides Wednesday night at Michael's on West 55th as he read "Disgruntled Former Lexicographer," his latest piece for The New Yorker. Afterward, editor David Remnick led a rousing conversation with the actor/producer/comic and New Yorker contributor. Asked which writers have most influenced him, Martin confessed, "I'd love to say S.J. Perelman and Thurber, but really, it's Mason Williams and Woody Allen and Bruce J. Friedman. And Jack Handy." Handy, Martin explained, was a neighbor, who, after Martin introduced him to Lorne Michaels, landed a writing gig at "Saturday Night Live." "And I'm like, 'wait a minute! That's my neighbor!' It's those kind of things that really influence you - greed, jealousy." Martin calls his standup days "the most uncreative period" of his life. "At the end of the day you're eating fried shrimp in a Holiday Inn. It was a rock star's existence - without the girls." Writing has brought him "more respect in Hollywood." He doesn't even mind being edited, because he's lousy at grammar. "But I'm getting better. Or is it best?"

(After a little more research:) Okay, now I believe he's definitely real. Either that, or everyone's in on the joke and no one's talking. Here, he's quoted in an article about George Meyer, writer for the Simpsons:

The writer Jack Handey, with whom Meyer once shared an office, says, “It’s almost as though George believed it would be bad karma to say anything bad about another person.”


I tried to clean up the article to reflect all this discussion. Fishal 06:54, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Plagiarism allegation[edit] has twice added an allegation of plagiarism to this page regarding the "screaming trees" joke. The second time it said:

This was originally a joke told by George Carlin in his shows through the 70s and 80s.

I'm removing this unless a source can be produced. — Hex (❝?!❞) 22:31, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Parenting Tip #2738[edit]

I think when diarrhea gets smeared on the new couch, it really doesn't matter anymore.

Handey is real[edit]

End of story, please. Thank you. Lots42 04:13, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Writers in the mold of Jack Handey[edit]

Jack Handey is a genius. There is a writer who goes by "Savo the Dyslexic Dog" and his stuff is alot like Jack Handey. I don't think he is published and as far as I know only blogs from time to time. I found him as a member of His user name is savo72.

He has several of his blogs at

Are there others that write in this style that we might like? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sabeach jr (talkcontribs) 14:51, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I just now read some of his stuff and I don't see any resemblance to Handey at all. Handey's stuff is funny; Savo the Dyslexic Dog isn't.—Frecklefσσt | Talk 17:43, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Busted Link[edit]

The The SNL Archives' collection of Deep Thoughts link is busted. Maybe it's elsewhere on the sight if someone wants to look for it. Lots42 04:12, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I've just looked around and they're nowhere to be found. I'm sure it must have been a copyright dispute. But where else could there be an index of Deep Thoughts by air date? Is there a policy on this? Should the links be deleted? Are those dates no longer acceptable as the source no longer exists? Fishal (talk) 02:04, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Early Info Incorrect[edit]

In an interview on The Sound of Young America, Handey says he started at SNL in the mid 80s when Lorne Micheals came back, since he was already writing on Micheal's prime time sketch show. I'm going to change the information to show that information, since its a primary source. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chipotlehero (talkcontribs) 05:25, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Primary sources - Actually, primary sources are less valuable on Wikipedia, since WP is supposed to be an accumulation of other people's research, not original research. But I agree that the interview is better than IMDB, which is user-generated. Plus the Texas Monthly source is also an interview. Do you have a link to this interview, or any publication info or air date/air time info? Fishal (talk) 16:33, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Deep Thoughts on TV before SNL[edit]

I remember seeing Deep Thoughts segments on the Comedy Channel before they appeared on SNL. They weren't part of a show. Does anyone have any proof of this? (talk) 04:20, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Career Chronology[edit]

I'm not sure this fully makes sense: "According to Martin, Handey got a job writing for Saturday Night Live after Martin introduced Handey to the show's creator, Lorne Michaels.[3] ... Handey returned to Saturday Night Live in 1985 as a writer and co-producer.[4]" None of his credits are pre-1980, and Michaels wasn't back at SNL until 1985, and this very page says he only started at SNL in 1985. So what's the deal? I don't want to change it because I don't know the actual facts, but somebody else must, right? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:42, 13 June 2011 (UTC)


Jack Handey currently lives with his wife....

Unless someone's updating this article daily, "currently" should not be used. Deleted. Sca (talk) 15:03, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Jack Handey. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 01:29, 7 January 2016 (UTC)