"Only Murders in the Building": This season’s best quotes from Oliver Putnam, Broadway producer

In true showbiz fashion, Oliver has big ideas, big confidence and a self-described "extra persona"

By Joy Saha

Staff Writer

Published August 21, 2022 8:00PM (EDT)

Oliver (Martin Short) in "Only Murders In The Building" (Barbara Nitke/Hulu)
Oliver (Martin Short) in "Only Murders In The Building" (Barbara Nitke/Hulu)

In addition to the jokes and joyful camaraderie, "Only Murders in the Building" is beloved for its quirky cast of characters. Some are lovable, jovial or — akin to stereotypical New Yorkers — gruff yet well-meaning. Others, not so much.

The biggest personality on the show is undoubtedly Martin Short's Oliver Putnam, the debt-ridden Broadway director whose own struggling career fails to dampen his boisterous spirit. Oliver has an ardent love for his bulldog Winnie,  son Will (Ryan Broussard) and frenemy Teddy Dimas' (Nathan Lane) Greek dips. But Oliver's greatest love is the performing arts, which he showcases while co-leading the "Only Murders in the Building" podcast alongside comrades Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin) and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez).

In true showbiz fashion, Oliver has big — oftentimes unrealistic — ideas, big confidence and a self-described "extra persona." He also enjoys referencing notable names in the entertainment industry, whether it's famous movies, shows, productions or celebrities.

To celebrate Oliver's outsized character, here are his 13 best quotes from this season, ranked from funny to the most ridiculous:

"I know what perjury is. I did a production of '12 Angry Men' once. But with women, '12 Angry Women.' One of the sisters from 'Hamilton' was in it. This was years before 'Hamilton.' I know what perjury is."
"Also it's my knees. I just had them done. These are delicate models. They're Alfa Romeos, not ATVs. I can't handle this kind of off-roading."
"Oh, I know we're all too cool for this, Mabel. But you know who else thought he was too cool? Andy Warhol. I knew him. Taught him how to play at the Factory in '79."
"You know, when you're in danger, it's all passion and sex. But then, when things settle down, it's hard to know what comes next. That's why Judi Dench and I lost touch after that infamous ride on the Concorde."
"The last time I was in a space that small, I had too many Cosmos in Vegas and ended up on stage with Penn and Teller. You know, they were about to saw me in half, and my bladder was so full, so I felt like an idiot . . ."
"Well, I, for one, have to sit down for a minute. I haven't had this much exercise in one day since I directed one of Suzanne Somers' ThighMaster infomercials. She loved everyone around her to use them when she was getting touched up." 
"God, you are the most difficult animal I have ever directed. And I did a production of 'The Elephant Man' with a real elephant."
"I have a bag of Skittles for anyone who stands on the Yellow Brick Road. This is what they used to do with Judy Garland, except it was a bag of amphetamines."
"Okay, kids! Rush hour is approaching and the tunnel will be as packed as Orson Welles' colon."
"I have some thoughts about our show. I see it as a two-hander — Timothée Chalamet plays me, you play Mabel, and Charles is cut."
"This is my opening night gift from 'Macbeats,' my 1991 musical of 'Macbeth' starring Vanilla Ice."
"Or maybe she met 'Savitch,' like Jessica Savitch. A famous news anchor I dated briefly in the '80s. Lived in the building before me. Left me for Ed Bradley from '60 Minutes.' Oh, by the way, did I ever tell you the time that I met Steve Kroft at a Korean spa? The man had the most beautiful, firm breasts."
"I am so Greek, I could be Jennifer Aniston's stand-in. I'm so Greek, I could go bankrupt, and no one in the world would help me."

By Joy Saha

Joy Saha is a staff writer at Salon. She writes about food news and trends and their intersection with culture. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.


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