Over the course of 15 seasons, E.R. wrung every drop of dramatic possibility from its title location. With each episode capturing rapid-fire action and life-or-death decisions, the show was filled with high emotional stakes and soap-opera pathos. It was a potent and compelling combination, and it netted the series 23 Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series. All of that seriousness makes it easy to overlook the show's other strong suit — humor. But these 21 funny E.R. quotes highlight just how great the show's lighter side could be, even if you totally forgot about them over the years.
Even the darkest episodes of E.R. had quips woven in, and between severe cases there'd often be a patient with something lodged where it shouldn't be complaining loudly to break up the tension. Jokes in early seasons were often about the difficulty of the profession, while later on, after audiences had spent seasons getting to know the medical team, the jokes poked harder at characters' personalities. George Clooney's Doug Ross often got the best zingers in, but later seasons saw Kerry Weaver and Abbey Lockhart's dry humor take over. So take a look at E.R.'s sillier side, and maybe you'll see this drama in an entirely new light.
1. Sass From Episode One
Patient: Are you married?
Susan: No, I'm a doctor.
24 Hours [1.1]
2. Nurse Carol Hathaway Jokes About Her Own Suicide Attempt
Carol: I'm here to unload that new shipment of barbituates.
Susan: At least you didn't kill off your sense of humor.
Carol: No, just a few brain cells.
Going Home [1.3]
3. This Is Why It's Unhealthy To Make Life Comparisons
Susan: At your age Ryan Sandberg was retired.
Doug: At my age Mozart was dead.
Into That Good Night [1.5]
4. When The Opportunity Presents Itself...
(A car slams through the ER doors.)
Doug: Jerry, call security. Somebody's in my parking space.
Chicago Heat [1.6]
5. Mark Greene: Terror Of The E.R.
Doug: What can I say about Mark Greene that hasn't already been said? I think everybody knows how he overcame adversity as a child of Quakers, his years in exile, his political writings and limericks, his mod period with the turtlenecks, his blue period and of course, his ruthless march to power and the silencing of his rivals.
Do One, Teach One, Kill One [2.3]
6. Randi Knows What's Up
Doug: Randi, you meet a cute guy for the first time. What do you do?
Randi: Run a credit check.
The Healers [2.16]
7. Putting Your Trust In The Bottom Of The Class
Lydia: What do you call the person that finishes last in med school?
John Carter, M.D. [2.22]
8. The Overly Cautious Type
Mark: I've given it a lot of thought, and I've decided to be spontaneous.
Last Call [3.04]
9. Nurse Carol Decides To Stick With Nursing
Chuny: I thought Weaver was already fitting you for a lab coat.
Carol: Yeah, well, white adds 10 pounds. I think I'll stick to pink.
Calling Dr. Hathaway [3.19]
10. Now THAT Sounds Like A Party
Carter: OK, party's over; you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here!
Lucy: What's wrong, was the music too loud?
Carter: No, the furniture was too on fire.
11. Everyone Hates Romano
Corday: I've found a way to limit my Romano exposure.
Benton: Oh, yeah, what's that? Garlic?
Point of Origin [5.18]
12. On Chen And Malucci Bickering
Mark: [to Chen and Malucci] Do you know why I had only one child? Because I didn't want to listen to the two of them arguing in the back seat of my car.
Be Still My Heart [6.13]
13. Old Habits Die Hard
(Luka sees Abby smoking.)
Luka: I thought you quit.
Abby: I did. And then my mother showed up.
The Visit [7.6]
14. The Old One-Two Punch
Randi (to Greene): How'd your personality test go?
Greene: I scored somewhere between serial killer and talk show host.
Kovac: I thought they were memory tests.
Greene: (clears throat) That was Monday.
The Crossing [7.15]
15. Dirty Jokes Galore
Abby: Just bend over.
Carter: You can at least buy me dinner first.
Blood Sugar Sex Magic [8.3]
16. O Irony
Gallant: Is there a lost and found box?
Haleh: Yeah, someone stole it.
If I Should Fall From Grace [8.7]
17. Patient One-Upsmanship Isn't The Best Bedside Manner
Greene: Mrs. Raskin. It's been a long time.
Mrs. Raskin: The service isn't what it used to be.
Greene: What seems to be the matter?
Mrs. Raskin: I have this hangnail and it's very painful.
Greene: I have a brain tumor and it's inoperable.
Mrs. Raskin: What?
Greene: I win.
Orion in the Sky [8.18]
18. Then Again Sometimes The Patients Really Deserve It
Drunk Patient: I could use a sponge bath.
Chen: You up for a lap dance, Malik?
Drunk Patient: Stay away from me, you chocolate homo.
Malik: How did you know my stage name?
One Can Only Hope [9.06]
19. Can't Keep A Player From Playing
Susan (to Luka): You're late.
Luka: Blame my alarm clock.
Susan: What's her name?
Next of Kin [9.09]
20. It's A Tough Job....
Sam: Abby, will you excuse me? I need to go yell at someone.
Abby: (doesn't look up from her patient) Have fun.
Only Connect [11.11]
21. ...But Someone's Got To Do It
Neela: I don't like working on old people, or children, or drunks-
Gallant: (sarcastically) And what's with all the sick people? They make it such a drag.
The Student [10.17]
While E.R. may have been the go-to-show for a fix of adrenaline-fueled drama, what kept people coming back for more was watching favorite characters deal with their overwhelming workplace the only way they could — by laughing at the absurdity of it all.