On Sunday afternoon, we learned that legendary WWE, WCW and AWA manager, wrestler and commentator Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, almost unarguably the best to ever do it, passed away at age 72. By Sunday evening, nearly every voice in the wrestling world shared their thoughts about the Weasel, clarifying a thousand times over that he was a miraculous talent, one of the most influential men in the history of the sports-entertainment business, and more often than not the smartest man in the room.
To remember Bobby, let’s look back at a few of his most quotable quotes. Feel free to use these when you need to be as witty as The Brain, when you’re being chastised by your buddy in blue-tinted sunglasses, or being forced into an ethical action-sports dilemma by a big orange guy in yellow underpants who can’t be beaten no matter how much you cheat.
We love you and miss you already, Brain.
“Ya listen to me, you’ll go to the top! You don’t listen to me, you’re never heard from again!”
While Bobby Heenan was the king of the one-liners and most of this list of quotes is funny, we’ve got to make sure to mention that The Brain was also a legitimate threat, and the best manager in pro wrestling slash sports-entertainment history. Heenan could get you to the top, and if you were, say, Hercules Hernandez, he could at least get you to a respectable place in the middle.
“A friend in need is a pest.”
Bobby’s friendship with Gorilla Monsoon is legendary, including a heartfelt goodbye on WCW Monday Nitro after Gorilla’s passing and a mention in Bobby’s Hall of Fame induction speech, but The Brain had a very particular view on friendship. It’s better to be business partners than friends. Business partners make sense. Friends just atomic drop you and make you wear weasel costumes.
“You don’t have to yell at me! I’m not blind!”
And hey, you might expect The Brain to be eye-deaf after interacting with literally anyone other than himself and maybe Lord Alfred Hayes on The Bobby Heenan Show. It was like Fishing with John for wrestling fans.
You also don’t have to hold up something in front of his face, he’s not deaf.
“I know all about cheating. I’ve had six very successful marriages.”
Bobby had a way with women. The best part? He actually only had one successful marriage. He married his wife, Cynthia Jean, in 1974. They remained married until his passing.
“I’m a legend in this sport. If you don’t believe me, ask me.”
Nobody was more confident than The Brain, whether he had any right to be or not. I think the only thing Heenan had a quicker response for than “Bobby Heenan is great” was “Hulk Hogan isn’t.”
See also this great GIF of him attempting a “most muscular” pose in the presence of whatever the hell that is Vince McMahon is wearing.
“You’d have a good voice, if it ever came out of your throat.”
Bobby Heenan loved making two specific points about Rowdy Roddy Piper. The first was that Piper talked out of his ass, expressed as only The Brain could say it. The other was a running joke about how Piper came home as a child and found his parents moved out, because they hated his guts and found no other option.
So that gives us …
“I heard a rumor that your mom and dad ran away from home.”
Brutal. Heenan could cut to the bone with his insults, whether you were one of the best talkers in pro wrestling history, or Lee Marshall trying to make a terrible “weasel” joke on a 1-800-COLLECT On The Road report. He and Mean Gene were kindred spirits in the old school ability to slice a man in half with a passing comment.
“You win some and you lose some. Unless you’re Virgil, then you lose them all.”
Wrestling Superstar Virgil became a meme, but Bobby Heenan was ahead of the curve. He was equating sadness to the Million Dollar Man’s money-fanning butler long before the Internet was around, summing him up in such a beautiful burn that Virgil himself used the quote to memorialize The Brain.
“He’s the only man I know of who can hide his own Easter eggs.”
Bobby The Brain’s succinct description of Texas Tornado Kerry Von Erich might be the pro wrestling equivalent of, “When you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup.” I’d pay for a Wikipedia that’s just Bobby Heenan insulting every person in the world with one or two lines.
“Hey, he speaks pretty well for a guy who just ate two pounds of crackers.”
Maybe the most legendary Heenan burn is on Lou Ferrigno, television’s The Incredible Hulk, who suffered severe ear infections and hearing loss as a child that affected his speech. Bobby pulled no punches. Bobby couldn’t throw much of a punch, so he never pulled the ones he threw with his mouth.
I could fill this with 500 Heenan insults, but I’d like to give an honorable mention (or a part 2 inclusion) to, “Do you know Koko B. Ware’s mom’s first name? Tupper.”
“The two things that scare me most about wrestling fans is that they’re allowed to vote and allowed to reproduce.”
Whether he was calling you a “ham and egger” or the rarer but even more biting “white socker,” Bobby never missed an opportunity to let everyone around him know he was their superior, whether he was or not. Did you have a hundred sparkly jackets bedazzled to say how smart you are?