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- Steven Wright: If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
- Eddie Izzard: "Guns don't kill people, people do, and monkeys do too (if they've got a gun)"
- Anonymous joke: Before judging a person, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you'll be a mile away when you judge them, and you'll have their shoes.
- Paul in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World: “With great power comes a lot of people pestering you to use it on their behalf.”
- In Alarm Clock, after Rainbow Dash breaks a cart by speeding, she says, “Ehhhhh, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few ... uh, carts.” A few chapters later, Ditzy Doo adapts the saying again: “It’s like they say: you can’t make an omelet without destroying Ponyville Town Hall once or twice.”
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990): Wise man say: Forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.
- Hobo with a Shotgun: When life gives you razor blades, you make a baseball bat. Covered in razor-blades.
- The Mummy (1999): Rick is fighting off Imhotep while Evy searches the Book of the Dead for the spell that will send him back to the underworld. Rick tries to get her to move a little faster.
Evy: Patience is a virtue.
Rick: Not right now, it isn't!
- Joker in the The Dark Knight gives us this one-letter change from Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger
I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger.
- Toward the end of Happy Gilmore, Happy's former boss is wearing a shirt which reads "Guns don't kill people, I kill people!"
- Tom Holt has used many variants on the omelette saying, most notably Only Human's "It might be possible to make omelettes without shredding chickens, but it doesn't make for nearly as good television."
- In Discworld, "Set a thief to catch a thief" is actually the updated, due to Thieves' Guild advocacy, of an older proverb that actually advocated a long and complicated trap to catch a thief.
- There's also "Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life."
- William De Worde expands greatly on the "glass half full/half empty" dichotomy, noting that there are also people whose glasses have been knocked over, or people who can't get the bartender's attention, or how the people who run things tend to look at a half-empty glass and say "This isn't my glass! My glass was full! Who's been pinching my beer?"
Live Action TV
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but a fifty foot fall will kill y'all!
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition contain an interesting subversion in rule 75: Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum." In that case, the subversion of the original popular saying has itself become a popular saying.
- Later played straight with rule 229:
Rom: Latinum lasts longer than lust.
O'Brien: Maybe, but lust can be a lot more fun!
- The Red Dwarf episode "Stasis Leak" has:
Holly: What I'm saying, Dave, is that it's better to have loved and to have lost... than to listen to an album by Olivia Newton-John.
Cat: Why's that?
Holly: Anything's better than listening to an album by Olivia Newton-John.
- In Caméra Café, Paolo always repeats twice the first part of the proverb he's about to say. For example: "An apple a day... an apple a day".
- The Babyshambles song "Sticks and stones" has the following chorus: Sticks and stones may break my bones/Oh but your words, they really hurt.
- About 90% of They Might Be Giants lyrics.
- From the song "Rhythm Section Want Ad": "Speak softly and drive a Sherman tank / Laugh hard, it's a long way to the bank"
- Tracy Lawrence also had a song called "Sticks and Stones," with the operative line being, "These sticks and stones may break me, but the words you said just tore my heart in two."
- "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me." Na-na-na-na, come on.
- Candy is dandy, but sex won't rot your teeth.
- Guns don't kill people, people kill people. With guns.
- Katamari Damacy: Love makes the world go round... But Manners keep you from getting motion sickness.
- Achewood: Eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away... but throwing it at him works better!
- The Order of the Stick:
- xkcd offers two takes on a classic, one in this comic and one in its Alt Text.
Father: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words—
Child: —can make someone else feel happy or sad, which is literally the only thing that matters in this stupid world?
Alt Text: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can make me think I deserved it.
- Ozy and Millie has this take:
Llewellyn: That which does not kill me, makes me stranger.
Ozy: Are you sure you don't mean "stronger"?
Llewellyn: Quite sure, yes.
- Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL, but don't forget to steer!
- From Starship:
Junior: We have a saying where I come from too; God save the Queen.
Bug: Oh, good.
Junior: Lucky for me, God Is Dead.
- The Guild gives us this gem:
Vork: Women. Can't live with them... they will not go out with me.
- "Today's proverb", the Credits Gag at the end of each episode of Welcome to Night Vale are usually like this:
What has four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?note I don't know, but I trapped it in my bedroom. Send help.
If you love someone, set them free. Set them free now. This is the police, and we have you surrounded.
- Also, a twist on a National Rifle Association motto: "Guns don't kill people,note it's impossible to be killed by a gun, we are all invincible to bullets and it's a miracle".
- A staple for the Night Vale twitter feed. For example, "Home is where the heart is. You'll never guess where we hid it, though."
- Rocket Power: Blood is thicker than water... But not nearly as refreshing.
- Phineas and Ferb: Blood is thicker than water. But mango chutney is thicker than blood.
- Fairly OddParents: "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words leave emotional scars that never heal!"
- Ed, Edd n Eddy:
Ed: An elephant never forgets, but I forget what the elephant remembered.
- Batman: Assault on Arkham: When Harley Quinn spots the Joker's cell and tries to shoot him:
Joker: Women! Am I right, officer? Can't live with 'em... can't kick 'em out of a moving car.
- Milo Murphy's Law: Milo does this fairly frequently, though frequently blames it on his dad
Milo: Sticks and stones can damage your vital organs, so always wear body armor.Milo: It's like my dad always says, that which does not kill you, only makes you late for school.