15 Savage Historical Insults That Still Sting Today

List Rules
Vote up the historical roasts that are just as sizzling decades later.

Nothing is quite as memorable as the sting of an insult. Whether between friends or between enemies, some shady comments are so outlandish that it's easy to think that they're completely made up. 

These insults prove that some people truly have the gift of wit and savagery while others can only try and hide so as to not be the target. If you've ever been the target of a savage sting, then you'll know what that means. On the other hand, if you are the one delivering these cuts then hopefully whoever it's aimed at deserves it.

While some comments are only enough to make us laugh and move on, there are others that are able to transcend time and continue to sting even today. So take a look at some of the most savage comments made throughout history and let us know which ones still make you flinch. 


  • Johnny Carson Said Chevy Chase 'Couldn't Ad Lib A Fart At A Bean-Eating Contest' 
    Photo: CBS-Gabor Rona / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Insulter: Johnny Carson

    Insulted: Chevy Chase

    Quote: "He couldn't ad lib a fart at a bean-eating contest."

    Context: Johnny Carson was a television host and comedian who reached legendary status from his long tenure as host of The Tonight Show from 1962-1992. The show set the stage for the talk show host format and is still airing today.

    Like most comedians, Carson was not averse to making jokes at the expense of others. One of these others turned out to be Chevy Chase - a fellow comedian, actor, and writer. This comment came up when Carson saw a clip of Chase on Saturday Night Live where Chase froze and didn't seem to be able to improvise any other lines. Despite this roast of his comedic abilities, Carson and Chase later made nice and became poker pals. 

  • Louis IX Of France Said He'd Rather Have A Scot Come Rule Than His Son Govern'
    Photo: Emile Signol / Museum of the History of France / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Insulter: Louis IX of France

    Insulted: His oldest son, Louis

    Quote: "...I would rather have a Scot come from Scotland to govern the people of this kingdom well and justly than that you should govern them ill in the sight of all the world."

    Context: Seeking parental approval is tough, especially if you're a monarch. King Louis IX spared no feelings when he lay dangerously ill and made it known that he'd rather have a Scot rule France if his son wasn't going to do a good job. Given that the French and Scottish hated each other, this comment wasn't lightly made. King Louis IX was known to be a good regent and have immense love for his people, and he wasn't going to let nepotism get in the way of good governing. However, his oldest son, Louis, passed before his father's reign was over, and the throne went to his son Phillip III

  • Hunter S. Thompson Said Nixon Was 'So Crooked That He Needed Servants To Help Screw His Pants On Every Morning'
    Photo: John venzel / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

    Insulter: Hunter S. Thompson

    Insulted: Richard Nixon

    Quote:

    If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles.  He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a President. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants every morning.

    Context: Hunter Thompson was an American writer and journalist. Known as a counterculture icon, he is often credited with starting gonzo journalism. He never held back when giving his opinion - especially when it came to President Richard Nixon. 

    It was no secret that Thompson detested Nixon from his inauguration until the president’s passing in 1994. This quote is from a Nixon obituary written by Thompson. While most people refrain from insulting the deceased, Thompson doubled down on his loathing of Nixon. 

  • Elizabeth Taylor Considered 'Dogs And Horses' Some Of Her 'Best Leading Men'
    Photo: CINELANDIA magazine / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Insulter: Elizabeth Taylor

    Insulted: Her male costars

    Quote: “...On reflection, I reckon some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.” 

    Context: Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most famous classic Hollywood actresses to have ever graced the silver screen. She was known for her beauty, talent, lavish lifestyle, and of course, for her eight marriages. During her career, she starred in over 49 films and worked with many famous leading men, including Paul Newman, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Spencer Tracy, Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando, and husbands Eddie Fisher and Richard Burton.

    The subtle jab came up in a 1981 interview when Taylor was asked about the Lassie movies she'd starred in and told the interviewer that Lassie was a "he." Taylor then went on to make a comment more favorable to her animal costars than her human ones.

  • Christopher Smart Thought Poet Thomas Gray 'Walks As If He Had Fouled His Small Clothes And Looks As If He Smelt It' 
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
    5
    1,065 VOTES

    Christopher Smart Thought Poet Thomas Gray 'Walks As If He Had Fouled His Small Clothes And Looks As If He Smelt It' 

    Insulter: Christopher Smart

    Insulted: Thomas Gray

    Quote: “He walks as if he had fouled his small clothes, and looked as if he smelt it”

    Context: Both Christopher Smart and Thomas Gray were English authors and poets. They became known for their notable contributions to poetic diction and literature and resided at the University of Cambridge around the same time. Despite their similarities, they didn't get along. Smart was known more for his wit and wild ways, while Gray was more of a conservative guy.

    While this insult may seem unfitting of a high-society English poet, it’s reported that Smart made this embarrassing assessment of his peer. 

  • Lyndon B. Johnson Said All His VP Needed Was 'A Gal To Answer The Phone And A Pencil With An Eraser On It'
    Photo: National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Insulter: Lyndon B. Johnson

    Insulted: Hubert Humphrey

    Quote: "What does he need all that staff for? All Hubert needs over there is a gal to answer the phone and pencil with an eraser on it."

    Context: President Lyndon B. Johnson was known for his biting jokes and his no-holds-barred attitude. He was an eclectic president who often used humor to get his point across. He was also known for outlandish stories and his stubborn attitude.

    Johnson, who had served as vice president under John F. Kennedy, was reportedly dominant over the VP role once he was president, offering little power or agency to his own VP, Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey wasn't spared from Johnson's jabs - when irritated with Humphrey, Johnson reportedly made the demeaning comment about Humphrey and his importance, or lack thereof.