Brother Theodore

German-American monologuist and comedian (1906–2001)

Theodore Isidore Gottlieb (November 11, 1906 – April 5, 2001), known as Brother Theodore, was a German-born American actor and comedian known for rambling, stream-of-consciousness monologues which he called "stand-up tragedy". He was a man described as "Boris Karloff, surrealist Salvador Dalí, Nijinsky and Red Skelton…simultaneously".

At age 32, under Nazi rule, he was imprisoned at the Dachau concentration camp until he signed over his family's fortune for one Reichsmark.


  • My name, as you may have guessed, is Theodore. I come from a strange stock. The members of my family were mostly epileptics, vegetarians, stutterers, triplets, nailbiters. But we've always been happy.
  • I am squirming with delight to meet an intellectual colossus.
  • Years and years of marriage prepared me for years and years of divorce.
  • I find it hard to sit still in one spot, and impossible to sit still in two spots.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, I resent this applause.
  • Lately, I've become quite involved in psychic vibrations. I vibrate whenever I get the chance.
  • I foretell the future. I predict the past. I don't need a crystal ball; a football, a tennis ball, a moth ball, any old ball will do. When the power is upon me, there is no holding me back, I just let loose and prophesy all over the place.
  • My mumsie and my popsie both died years before I was born, and my sister and my uncle were identical twins, which is probably more than you can say for yourself.
  • Only what we have lost forever, we possess forever. Only where there are graves, are there resurrections. Only when we have drunk from the river of darkness, shall we truly see. Only when our legs have rotted off, shall we truly dance.
  • All our great spiritual leaders are dead. Moses is dead, Muhammad is dead, Buddha is dead, the Reverend Jim Jones is dead, and I'm not feeling so hot myself!
  • I am what you might call a controversial figure: people either hate me or despise me.
  • I never answer my telephone unless it rings.
  • If only the Earth would open and swallow you up.
  • I have gazed into the abyss, and the abyss has gazed into me. And neither of us liked what we saw.
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