There's an old joke: two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know, and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life. Full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly. The the other joke important joke for me is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx, but I think it appears originally in Freud's wit and its relation to the unconscious. And it goes like this, I'm paraphrasing: Um, I would never wanna belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member. That's the key joke of my adult life in terms of my relationships with women. You know, lately, the strangest things have been going through my mind, 'cause I turned 40, and I guess I'm going through a life crisis or something, I dunno, and I'm not worried about aging, I'm not one of those characters, you know I, well I'm balding slightly on top, that's about the worst you can say about me. I um I think I'm gonna get better as I get older. You know, I think I'm gonna be the balding virile type, you know, as opposed to say, the um distinguished gray, for instance, you know, unless I'm neither of those two. Unless I'm one of those guys with saliva dribbling out of his mouth who wanders into a cafeteria with a shopping bag screaming about socialism. Annie and I broke up, and I still can't get my mind around that, you know, I keep sifting the pieces of the relationship through my mind and and examining my life and trying to figure out where did the screw up come, you know, and mm a year ago, we were in love, you know, and and and I just, and it's funny, I'm not a I'm not a morose type. I'm not a depressive character, you know, I was a reasonably happy kid, I guess, I was brought up in Brooklyn during World War II.
[voiceover] My analyst says I exaggerate my childhood memories, but I swear, I was brought up underneath the roller coaster in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. Maybe that accounts for my personality, which is a little nervous, I think. You know, I have a hyperactive imagination. My mind tends to jump around a little, and uh I I I have some trouble between fantasy and reality. My father ran the bumper car concession. Th-there he is, and there I am. Right. I I used to get my aggression out through those cars all the time. I remember the staff at our public school. You know, we had a saying, uh but, "Those who can't do, teach, and those who can't teach, teach gym." And uh, of course, those who couldn't do anything, I think, were assigned to our school. I must say, I always thought my schoolmates were idiots. Melvyn Greenglass, you know, his fat little face and Henrietta Farrell, just Miss Perfect all the time and uh Ivan Ackerman, always the wrong answer. Always.
I was thrown out of N.Y.U. my freshman year for cheating on my metaphysics final, you know. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me. When I was thrown out, my mother, who was an emotionally high-strung woman, locked herself in the bathroom and took an overdose of Mah-Jongg tiles. I was depressed at that time. I was in analysis. I was suicidal as a matter of fact and would have killed myself; but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian, and if you kill yourself, they make you pay for the sessions you miss.
You know, even as a kid, I always went for the wrong women. I think that's my problem. When my mother took me to see Snow White, everyone fell in love with Snow White. I immediately fell for the Wicked Queen.
A relationship, I think, is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.
After that it got pretty late, and, we both had to go, but it was great seeing Annie again. I realized what a terrific person she was and how much fun it was just knowing her, and I thought of that old joke. You know, this guy goes to his psychiatrist and says, "Doc, my brother's crazy. He thinks he's a chicken." And the doctor says, "Well why don't you turn him in?" The guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs." Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships– you know, they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but, I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.
Mrs. Singer: He's been depressed. All of a sudden, he can't do anything.
Dr. Flicker: Why are you depressed, Alvy?
Mrs. Singer: Tell Dr. Flicker. It's something he read.
Dr. Flicker: Something you read, huh?
Alvy Singer: The universe is expanding.
Dr. Flicker: The universe is expanding?
Alvy Singer: Well, the universe is everything, and if it's expanding, someday it will break apart, and that will be the end of everything.
Mrs. Singer: What is that your business? He's stopped doing his homework.
Alvy Singer: What's the point?
Mrs. Singer: What has the universe got to do with it. You're here, in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is not expanding.
Dr. Flicker: It won't be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we've gotta try and enjoy ourselves while we're here. Huh? Huh? Huh? [laughs]
Alvy Singer: [Hearing a man behind him rambling about Marshall McLuhan] What I wouldn't give for a large sock with horse manure in it. [Turns to the camera] What do you do when you get stuck in a movie line with a guy like this behind you? It's just...maddening-
Man in Theatre Line: [Notices Alvy and walks up to him] Wait a minute, why can't I give my opinion? It's a free country!
Alvy Singer: Did-did he, he can give you- Do you have give it so loud? I mean, aren't you ashamed to pontificate like that? And the funny part of it is, Marshall McLuhan; you don't know anything about Marshall McLuhan!
Man in Theatre Line: Oh really, really? I happen to teach a class at Columbia called "TV, Media, and Culture." So I think that my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity!
Alvy Singer: Oh, do ya? Well, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here, so, so, yeah, just lemme lemme lemme — [pulls McLuhan from behind a nearby poster stand] — Come over here for a second. Tell him!
Marshall McLuhan: I heard what you were saying. You know nothing of my work. You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you ever got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing.
Alvy Singer: [To the camera] Boy, if life were only like this!
Alvy: I'm so tired of spending evenings making fake insights with people who work for Dysentery.
Alvy: Oh, really? I heard that Commentary and Dissent had merged and formed Dysentery.
Alvy: It's all mental masturbation.
Annie: Oh, well, now we're finally getting to a subject you know something about.
Alvy: Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love.
Allison: I'm in the midst of doing my thesis.
Alvy Singer: On what?
Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature.
Alvy Singer: You, you, you're like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y'know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.
Alvy Singer: Right, I'm a bigot, I know, but for the left.