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Funny / Fiddler on the Roof

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  • Many of Tevye's quotes:
    • "You may ask, where do all of these traditions come from? I'll tell you... I don't know."
    • "If I were a rich man [...] I'd have one long staircase just going up, and one even longer coming down! And one that's leading nowhere just for show!"
      • And in most productions, immediately after the the verse with the above quote, Tevye starts belting the second chorus while doing one of the most ridiculous dances ever put to stage.
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    • This scene with Mendel:
      Tevye: As Abraham said, "I am a stranger in a strange land."
      Mendel: Moses said that.
      Tevye: I'm sorry. As King David said, "I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."'
      Mendel: That was also Moses!
      Tevye: For a man slow of tongue he talked a lot!
    • And this scene with Mendel:
      Tevye: As the Good Book Says..., "if a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick."
      Mendel: Where does the Book say that?
      Tevye: Well, it doesn't say exactly that, but somewhere it has something about a chicken!
    • "On the other hand..."
      • Later becomes a Tear Jerker with Chava. ("There is no other hand.")
    • Tevye refusing to leave without seeing Motel's sewing machine.
      Tevye: Do not make me angry, woman! When I am angry, even flies do not fly!
      Tevye: WOMAN, I AM THE HEAD OF THIS HOUSE! I RUN THE FAMILY! AND I WANT TO SEE MOTEL'S NEW MACHINE! [Pokes his head inside for literally one second then slams the door] NOW LET'S GO HOME!
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    • His moment of Fridge Logic during one of his chats with God when, as usual, he begins to pontificate "As the good book says..." only to realise "why should I tell You what the good book says?!"
    • He has some strange ideas about the size of America:
      Lazar: I am going to Chicago, America.
      Tevye: We are going to New York, America. We'll be neighbors!
      • This is Truth in Television - Even in this age of Internet, lots of Europeans don't realize the US is huge. Likely even more so in the early 20th century.
    • His and Lazar Wolf's conversation in the bar. Lazar Wolf is talking about his plans to marry Tevye's daughter. Tevye thinks he's talking about buying some cows. Hilarity Ensues.
      Lazar Wolf: Tevye, I understand how you feel. But er... after all, you have a few more without her.
      Tevye: Ah, I see. Today you want one. Tomorrow you may want two.
      Lazar Wolf: Two? What... what would I do with two?
      Tevye: The same as you do with one.
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    • Mostly his scenes with his wife:
      Tevye: Do you love me?
      Golde: You're a fool!
      Tevye: I know.
      • And this:
      Tevye: Do you love me?
      Golde: I am your wife!
      Tevye: Yes, I know! But do you love me?
  • Tzeitel's imitation of Yenta during the song "Matchmaker"
    • Even funnier in the film when Hodel joins Tzeitel to tease Chava, and Chava glances back and forth between each of her older sisters, looking thoroughly unimpressed by their dire predictions,
  • Perchik proposing to Hodel: "I personally am in favor of such a socio-economic relationship."
  • "HORSE!" "MULE!" "HORSE!" "MULE!"
  • Let's not forget this:
    Perchik: Girls are people too! They can be taught!
    Random Rabbi's helper: He's a radical!
  • During the wedding, when Perchik breaks tradition and dances with Tevye's daughter, and Tevye decides to support him:
    Other Men: She is dancing with a man!
    Tevye: I can see she is dancing with a man!
    Other Men: And?
    Tevye: (Beat) And I'm going to dance with my wife!
    • When Tevye subsequently approaches Golde for a dance, she scoffs and turns away from him. He insists by shouting her name and clapping his hands before pulling her onto the dance floor. We then see Motel attempt to dance with Tzeitel by shouting and clapping his hands in an exact imitation of Tevye, but the nebbishe Motel is far less intimidating than the burly Tevye. (However, it still works!)
    • As the dancing ramps up Tevye mischievously distracts the Rabbi and tricks him into holding hands and dancing with a woman. When the Rabbi realizes the trick, he gamely compromises by separating their hands with his handkerchief.
  • Tevye straight after he gives permission for Motel and Tzeitel to get married.
    Motel: Thank you, Reb Tevye, you won't be sorry!
    Tevye: Sorry? I'm sorry already!
  • The rabbi has a good moment at the beginning.
    Leibesh: Rabbi, may I ask you a question?
    Rabbi: Certainly, Leibesh.
    Leibesh: Is there a proper blessing for the czar?
    Rabbi: A blessing for the czar? Of course! May God bless and keep the czar... far away from us!
  • After Tevye has given Hodel and Perchik permission to get married, he suddenly gets worried about what he is going to tell Golde. ("Another dream?") Perchik suggests that he tell her about the rich uncle Perchik will be staying with in Kiev. Tevye shouts that he doesn't need to be told how to handle his wife. However, as soon as Golde starts reacting badly to the news, Tevye immediately tells her about the rich uncle in Kiev.
    • Also, his attempts to break the news. He tells Golde he has something important to tell her and she insists it can wait until after dinner. Then he tells her anyway, and gets more and more nervous, and when he gets to "I gave them my permission", he jumps up and runs out of the house before Golde realises what he said, shouting, "I'll eat later!", and then when Golde says "Without even asking me?!", he burst back through the door and says "WHO ASKS YOU?" and she briefly just looks confused at how quickly he went from confident to cowering and back again.
  • This exchange after Tevye plays devil's advocate for Perchik and Mordcha:
    Avram: (gestures at Perchik and Mordcha) He's right, and he's right? They can't both be right.
    Tevye: You know... you are also right.
  • Many of Yente's quotes:
    • "Ah, children, children, they are your blessing in your old age. But my Aaron, may he rest in peace, couldn't give me children. To tell you the truth, Golde, he hardly tried."
    • "I'm losing my head. Someday it'll fall off altogether, and a horse will kick it in the mud and goodbye, Yente."
    • They're even funnier in the Yiddish production. Jackie Hoffman really milks her role!
  • This exchange between Tzeitel and Golde:
    Tzeitel: But Mama, the men she finds. The last one was so old and he was bald. He had no hair.
    Golde: A poor girl without a dowry can't be so particular. You want hair, marry a monkey.
  • The whole scene at the wedding with Lazar Wolf telling Tevye he doesn't have to listen to his 'quotes' since he is not marrying his daughter, the subsequent fight (with Tevye pushing Motel down every time he stands up to intervene), culminating with Tevye calling Lazar's wedding gift chickens diseased and Lazar responding "You leave my chickens out of this!".
  • In the film, Tevye provokes an argument regarding the sale of a six-year-old or twelve-year-old horse, right after cheerfully saying that this issue had been resolved a while ago. The whole village then starts to join into the argument.
    Villager: IT WAS TWEEEELVE! *waving arms wildly*
  • The build-up to what seems to be everyone cooing over Tzeitel and Motel's new baby, which turns out to really be about his sewing machine.
  • Between Perchik and Tevye:
    Perchik: Money is the curse of the world!
    Tevye: *looking up to the heavens* MAY GOD SMITE ME WITH IT! And may I never recover!
  • During the "dream" Golde asks Tevye about her Grandmother.
    Golde: Grandma Tzeitel? How did she look?
    Tevye: Well, for a woman who has been dead thirty years, she looked very good.
    • Golde is upset when Tevye recounts Grandma Tzeitel and the rest of the dead people singing congratulations on the marriage of (the living) Tzeitel and Motel, and demands he tell them who she's actually engaged to. This leads to Tevye retroactively arguing with the ghosts while they keep singing.
  • Yente, the village matchmaker, is describing one match she's come up with: a very ugly man with an extremely nearsighted woman.
    The way she sees and the way he looks, it's a perfect match!
  • In the Yiddish production, at the end of "Der Kholem" ("The Dream"), Golde goes "Tfu, tfu, tfu!" (A Yiddish superstitious phrase, the equivalent of "kina hora"), and Tevye mockingly imitates her "Tfu, tfu, tfu!" and goes to sleep.
  • The contents of the letter from Perchik to Hodel in "Rumours" goes from "Well, I just heard that Perchik's been arrested, in Kiev" to:
    That Golde's been arrested
    And Hodel's gone to Kiev
    Motel studies dancing
    And Tevye's acting strange
    Shprintze has the measels
    And Bielke has the mumps
  • And is finished off with, "And that's what comes from men and women dancing!"