10 Of The Best Dry Humor Quotes From ‘The Penultimate Peril’

Author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), best known for his children’s book series, ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events,’ is a master of dry humor.

Book Culture Favorite Quotes On This Day Opinions Recommendations Young Adult Young Readers

While there are countless hilarious quotes throughout the entire series, we’re going to be looking at 10 quotes from the 12th book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Penultimate Peril, that make excellent use of dry humor.

The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket book cover


“I suppose I’ll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies.” 

I personally think the cynical and hilariously dry-witted tone of the narrator, Lemony Snicket, that is maintained throughout the series is often just as entertaining as the dialogue and plot— which is not at all an easy thing for an author to do!


“As I am sure you know, when people say ‘It’s my pleasure,’ they usually mean something along the lines of, ‘There’s nothing on Earth I would rather do less.’”

This may be unfortunate (see what I did there?), but it is often true for many people. I for one know that I have said “no problem!” before, when there was most definitely a problem.


“Neither were you [born yesterday], unless of course I am wrong, in which case welcome to the world, little baby, and congratulations on learning to read so early in life.”

Ah yes. I still remember, the day after being born, picking up that book and reading it. I really appreciated Lemony’s congratulations to me.


“Deciding whether or not to trust a person is like deciding whether or not to climb a tree because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch or you might simply get covered in sap and for this reason many people choose to spend their time alone and indoors where it is harder to get a splinter.” 

This is precisely why I don’t climb as many trees as I used to. There is nothing worse than being cover in sap and getting a splinter.


“In a world too often governed by corruption and arrogance, it can be difficult to stay true to one’s philosophical and literary principles.”

I’m sure it is not lost on you, dear reader, that Snicket put philosophical principles on the same level of importance as literary principles. As a book lover, I would have to agree with him!


“Off with you” is a phrase used by people who lack the curtesy to say something more polite, such as, “if there’s nothing else you require I must be going” or “I’m sorry but I’m going to have to ask you to leave, please” or even “excuse me but I believe you have mistaken my home for your own and my valuable belongings for yours and I must ask you to return the items in question to me and leave my home after untying me from this chair, as I’m unable to do it myself, if it’s not too much trouble.”

I can’t say that I’ve ever said “off with you” while referring to the latter of the three meanings, but who knows, one day the occasion might arise!


“Some people think destiny is something you cannot escape, such as death or a curdled cheesecake, both of which always turn up sooner or later.”

I would very much not like to ever encounter a curdled cheesecake, thank you very much! Destiny, I’m cool with.


“Deciding on a safe answer to a question is like deciding on a safe ingredient in a sandwich, because if you make the wrong decisions you may find that something horrible is coming out of your mouth.”

This is honestly a good comparison and some wise advice. Thanks Lemony Snicket!


“…calling a person ‘sir’ can often help you get what you want, unless of course the person is a woman.” 

Yeah, I’m guessing it’s probably going to get you the opposite of what you want.


“For Beatrice-

No one could extinguish my love,

or your house.”

Fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events know that Lemony Snicket always likes to start off each book with a delightfully cheerful dedication to Beatrice, his deceased ex-fiancée.

These quotes are just a small glimpse into the masterpiece that is A Series of Unfortunate Events.

For more favorite quotes, click here.