Discuss: M*A*S*H Quotes You’ve Used in Real Life


Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.

Today’s topic is: M*A*S*H quotes you’ve used in real life

Are You a Fan of Potterisms?

M*A*S*H featured countless quotable quotes and delightful lines of dialogue during its 11 years on the air. Have you ever used a line for mash in real life either jokingly or seriously? To be honest I can’t think of any lines of dialogue off the top of my head that seem suited for real life. Many of the witty lines and dramatic exchanges work perfectly within the context of the TV show but not in real life.

Can you imagine someone using Hawkeye’s “river of liver” speech from “Adam’s Rib” or the “spirit of a Winchester” speech Charles gave in “Fade Out, Fade In” in real life? I can’t.

However, there are at least two quotes from M*A*S*H I have used in real life. Many years ago, without realizing it, I used a variation of this quote while trying to convince someone:

“Sherman, you can give me a hundred good reasons to leave, and I can’t give you one good reason to stay. Stay anyway.”
Hawkeye, “Potter’s Retirement”

It was only months later, while watching the episode, that I realized I’d paraphrased Hawkeye.

Also, on more than once occasion I’ve jokingly used a line of dialogue from “M*A*S*H–The Pilot”:

“I peeked at the end, Frank. The devil did it.”
Trapper, “M*A*S*H–The Pilot”

Finally, there’s one quote I’ve always wanted to fit into conversation but just haven’t had the opportunity:

“The instrument has yet to be invented that can measure my indifference to that remark.”
Hawkeye, “Alcoholics Unanimous”

Do you regularly use any quotes from M*A*S*H in real life? Maybe you’re a fan of Potterisms like “Horse hockey!” or “Mule muffins!”

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

48 Replies to “Discuss: M*A*S*H Quotes You’ve Used in Real Life”

  1. “Ah, Bach!”

    “Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice.”

    The younger generations don’t get it.

  2. Far too many to keep track of, lol.

    But one specifically I do habitually, although it’s not necessarily M*A*S*H-specific, is I’ll respond, “Yo!” whenever somebody calls out to me.

  3. While I was deep in thought someone said to me, ‘You look pensive.’

    And I took the opportunity to quote Radar by responding, ‘No, I am just thinking.’

    The colleague was befuddled, to say the least.

    1. My favorite quote of the series: “Come on in, take off your skin and rattle around in your bones!”

      I also love to use the quote (out of context) “we’ll do it…me and the missus” Gets lots of strange looks

  4. My wife and I have used the “it’s nice to be nice to the nice” line. And I like to use “that’s highly significant”. There’s also Hawkeye’s “permanent vertical smile” that i’ve used from time to time. And I love Trapper’s “Figure A/Figure B” dialogue, but of course there’s no way to fit that into a conversation! 🙂 And Margaret’s “I am not so think as you drunk I am.” always cracks me up! Never had to use that yet….Like BDOR said, there’s so many of ’em!

    1. Little do you know, you have just challenged me to try to find a way to use Margret’s quote. I can’t wait to confused my parents (for I’m not old enough to drink yet) This will be fun.

      1. She (Margaret) portrayed a great drunk (if there is such a thing), having wonderfully proclaimed, “I’m not so think as you drunk I am”

      2. Alexandria, I too feel that challenge but I AM old enough to drink at 62 years young!

  5. Too many to list, including many already noted above.

    One that I will mention that I and other family/friend M*A*S*H fans have used is related to Henry’s oak desk. We use it in the context of someone bragging about themselves or something they own (such as their home or car). We then say quietly to each other “you’ll never guess what kind of wood this is….” (dramatic pause) “nope, it’s oak”. No one ever gets our inside joke, but it cracks us up.

    Another inside joke we use when someone is too talkative & boring is borrowed from Hawkeye… “meanwhile, Aunt Martha having taken a tramp through the woods is lying in a ditch at the edge of town”

    I have been known to quote the entire press conference of General Maynard Mitchell from the Incubator. I cannot get through it without laughing. I wonder if the actors had as much challenge keeping a straight face as I do. I use it whenever I see a politician or sports figure dodging a question.

    So many great lines in the show that stand the test of time and never cease to brighten my day.

    1. “Now just a minute! This is a press conference! The last thing I want to do is answer a lot of questions!” We love that line!

  6. “This is somewhat of a frightening honor.”

    Henry used it in “For The Good Of The Outfit”; I’ve had several chances to steal it. It’s pretty versatile.

  7. One of my personal favorites is on those occasions when I walk into my office to find someone sitting in my chair and starting to get up when they see me. “Don’t get up. Let me just pretend that you’re in charge of this nut house.”

  8. I always say “Courage Camille!” to encourage people I know…Dunno if anybody gets it.
    Used by Hawkeye in The Longjohn Flap and Col. Potter in Commander Pierce.

      1. Apparently it was also famously used by Bob Hope on a 1940 radio show, which helps explain its inclusion as a reference.

    1. Shampoo. Because we couldn’t find any real poo.
      Courage, Camille (yeah, i know it’s not authentic to M*A*S*H…)
      Give that man a cheroot.
      So, so many quotes that I didn’t even realize they’d become part of my being. My brothers were just back from Vietnam when it started and it was just such a relatable thing for me. Thanks for this list.

  9. There’s a line in the pilot I just love and have definitely used… “What does every man want? Sex… except for those baseball perverts.” As a big baseball fan, that’s a favorite line.

  10. Sometimes after explaining something to someone I’ll finish with “…if you can follow the way I’ve drifted.”

    1. I almost forgot! Your username reminded me that whenever one of my kids is using less common sense than they should be, I will say to them “You are a piece of cornbread!” It’s a great way to get their attention because it seems so goofy!

    2. For one, the name you used is perfect, and two, I’m going to use this line after I explain something too! Only my dad will get it though lol.

  11. Olive skin makes good kin.

    I had a girlfriend in highschool that was very Italian looking, honestly she was very good looking. She was even prom queen (I still don’t know why she dated me). She would always say this line, even though Klinger was not Italian, he could have easily passed as an Italian.

    1. So similar to the WW2 Australian army beer ration joke:
      “There will be one bottle of beer issued, per man, per day……per haps!”

  12. A comment that means a great deal to me, Charles and Hawkeye are talking quietly to each other whilst Hawkeye’s father is undergoing major surgery back in the states. Their conversation ends by Charles commenting to Hawkeye that whilst he had a father, Hawkeye had a dad. A great comment that all ‘ fathers’ should participate with their children and be chums.

    1. That episode made Charles a much more likable character and adds a reason to his arrogant attitude. I loved that episode.

  13. Trying to figure out the exact wording…
    Henry says something like “get out or go away, it’s multiple choice, pick one”
    Not sure of the episode but hate to quote incorrectly.

  14. I don’t know if this really counts as a quote, but I really liked the episode where Charles stands up for a soldier who has a lisp, then we find out that his sister has a lisp. I think this, along with a few other things, makes Charles a more likable character, much more than Frank.

  15. A rare occasion when Charles is sympathetic to Hawkeye whilst Hawkeye’s father is undergoing critical surgery. They discuss their fathers attitude s and Charles finishes the conversation by saying that whereas he had a father, Hawkeye had a Dad

  16. One of my all-time favorite lines from television history, let alone M*A*S*H history is, “Colonel go for laugh—no get!”

    1. I was on stage in a theater production once and delivered what was supposed to be a funny line. In the silence that followed, I heard that voice in my head!!! “Colonel go for laugh—no get!”

  17. One of our favorites that you can use lots of ways:
    In response to the question “What does that mean, ‘Ah, Bach’?”), “I think once you’ve said that you’ve said it all”

  18. Wow, this is a fun topic. I ran into it completely by accident. I too have used many lines from M*A*S*H in my every day life, a plethora of which have already been mentioned here. A few more you might find useful once in a while which I’ve uses (sometimes slightly paraphrased to fit a particular situation)

    “I can’t believe I’m sitting in the chair that launched a thousand indecisions”
    “You can say anything but yellow horde”
    “Careful, father, that stuff will melt your beads”
    “Hmm. I wonder if I drew that fifth ace”
    “He was probably born two years before Moses”
    “I’ll bring the sardines”
    “Am I ranting? I hope so, my ranting get raves”
    “I gave a discharge to a sheep”

    I could actually go on for hours but I think I already outstayed my welcome. So, goodbye for now
    Your loving son,
    Queen Victoria

  19. Hawkeye: Frank, you’re just being paranoid.
    Frank: I’m only paranoid cause everyone’s against me.

  20. Can’t remember the exact line but frank talking to Margaret says something like people only think you’re bad because you hide all the good. It was something like that and even though I can’t remember the whole thing always makes me laugh

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