potent quotables

The Ever-Entertaining Quotes of Robert Downey Jr.

Photo: Josiah Kamau/Buzzphoto/Getty

Robert Downey Jr. is a quippy guy. He’s a charmer on talk shows, and there’s a reason whole acres of the Internet are devoted to GIFs of his goofy facial expressions: charisma, kids. Charisma. He’s also been famous for a pretty long time and, over the course of his career, has given many interviews. And in these interviews, he likes to say some ridiculous things. Here are some of the best RDJ quotes from the last twenty-plus years:

Interview Magazine, 1989
Kenneth Turan:
What position does Chances Are occupy in your body of work?
Robert Downey Jr.:
Probably in the upper colon. No, it’s a nice film.

USA TODAY, August 15, 1990
[On a helicopter stunt in Air America] “No big deal. Where they lift me up and you see me disappear like a dot — I did that. I was supposed to be sleeping, so when I opened my eyes, I was a couple thousand feet up. It felt fine, kind of macho and cool.”

CBS News, August 16, 1990
“There’s probably nothing more dissatisfying than — like if Air America doesn’t make a lot of money, I’ll be — I’ll feel really disillusioned. Because part of the reason that I did the film was because I wanted to be in a film that was … did well at the box office.”

USA Today, January 10, 1992
“I’ve outgrown a lot of things I used to think I wanted, which was to be the Dionysian maverick.”

CBS News, December 25, 1995
“There’s something I want to direct that I’ve written, which is very strange film about a — a dog walker in New York City that loses the dogs.”
CNN, February 15, 2003
“I think it’s miraculous that anybody survives themselves.”

Esquire, February 21, 2007
[To the author of the story] “I want you to feel completely free to let all your codependent neuroses out … You can grab the wheel, you can ask me if my tummy hurts, you can give me a foot rub later, anything. Enmeshment is really okay in small doses.”

The Sunday Times (London) April 13, 2008
On his Iron Man workout regimen: “Probably 1,500 hours of effort for 11 seconds of screen time.”

The New Zealand Herald, April 25, 2008
“I said ‘Look, I’ve been in my own version of captivity and usually what a guy wants when he gets sprung from jail or he’s bailed out or he’s been down for a while, is he wants the simplest, easiest, all-American thing you can get.’ You want a soda, a cheeseburger and fries. And then you want … obviously, the next thing you want — there’s only two things you want.”

Sunday Mail (South Australia)April 27, 2008
“I am supposedly of a stature where they call my agent and say, ‘He’ll need a screen test’ and they will say, ‘What screen test — did you ever see Chaplin?’”

Rolling Stone, August 2008
“I’m a soldier who didn’t know how nasty the battle was going to be, and now, I’ve got a purple heart and I’m back.”

Esquire, November 10, 2009
“Suffice to say, dude, I’m not paranoid anymore. I’m not fearful. It’s interesting to be surfing this tremendous crisis of capitalism — and I know there’s a coral reef under me and I don’t want to hang ten, but I do think that when you’re in the pole position, that’s when you try to beat your best personal time.”

Regarding his square toilet: “Dude, this place is so Austin Powers twenty-first century. I came here this morning having to drop a deuce, and it was a singular and enjoyable.”

Rolling Stone, May 2010
“When the door clicks shut, jail is the safest place on earth. There’s nothing aside from a rogue correctional officer that can do you any real harm if you have the right cellie.”

“[After being bailed out of jail], I remember I had the only coke that tasted as good as the coke I did with my dad and Jack [Nicholson].”

Ask Men, December 2011
“Talking about how good a shape I’m in is by far my favorite topic, and that would take up at least a half an hour that we don’t have. That’s a topic for an entire other interview.”

Esquire, May 2012
“The greatest thing my dad taught me came one day when I called him from a phone booth and said, ‘Hungry. No bus token. Please. Out of options. Friends aren’t picking up the phone.’ He said, ’Pfft, get a job.’”

On The Tonight Show, April 26, 2013
“When you’re promoting a movie, you go out, and I call it: Grind, monkey. Grind.”

GQ, May 2013
“I felt like a fighter who was training for a title bout that had not been booked yet.”

“It was all shock, awe, conquer—it was about devastating the competition.”

“Look, even if I don’t get [an Oscar] directly, eventually they’re just going to have to give me one when I get old. So no matter how you slice it, I’m getting one.”

The Quotable Robert Downey Jr.