×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The funniest Michael Scott quotes from The Office

Ah, Michael Scott. The Dunder Mifflin regional manager has long held a special place in the hearts of the fans of NBC's legendary sitcom, The Office. His unsolicited advice, incredibly uncomfortable faux pas, and occasional (albeit accidental) spot-on wisdom have kept audiences laughing for well over a decade now. 

It doesn't matter if he's awkwardly tending to his romantic urges, clumsily striving to fit into various social circles — "I love inside jokes. Love to be a part of one someday." — or brashly announcing the 20th meeting of the week, Michael Scott always has a way with words.

In fact, attempting to whittle the manager's funniest lines down to a handful of all-time greats is nearly impossible. That said, we've done our best to pick out the cream of the crop, all gathered together into one priceless, gut-busting string of quotes for your personal entertainment. From economic calamities to bizarre expressions, here are the funniest Michael Scott quotes from The Office.

Michael Scott declares bankruptcy

In the season four episode Money, Michael is shown working two jobs as he struggles to bring in enough income to offset both his and Jan's reckless spending habits. After being forced to quit his second job part way through the episode, Michael desperately roams through the office, looking for any advice that can get him out of his financially tight spot. Running into Creed Bratton in the kitchen, the head of "Quabity Assuance" tells him that if he declares bankruptcy, all of his problems will go away. 

After a brief conversation about how real-life bankruptcy is different from the Monopoly equivalent, Mr. Bratton defines bankruptcy as "nature's do-over." With those utterly misleading words still ringing in his head, Michael decides to go for that option. However, rather than going about the process in a private way, like a normal person, the thick-headed manager takes Creed's advice literally. Stepping out in front of the entire office, his eyes bulging and his gaze focused on the distance, Michael loudly and literally shouts, "I declare bankruptcy!" 

The next scene follows up with the desperately delusional fella cutting up his credit cards and defending the fact that he's all good because he didn't just say the words, he declared them.

Michael Scott talks about leadership

Sometimes it takes someone as simple-minded as Michael Scott to come up with a short and sweet answer for questions that have plagued mankind for centuries. Case in point: season two, episode six, The Fight. In this episode, Michael proves his superiority over Dwight Schrute by heading down to his employee's dojo and proceeding to mop the floor with the beet farmer. 

While this initially gives the manager an incredible chip on his shoulder, he ultimately feels remorse for his gloating and comes up with a retroactive surprise twist, informing Dwight that the whole thing was a "test," and that he's passed.

In a final interview for the documentary crew, Michael is asked the age-old question if he would rather be feared or loved as a leader. His response? "Would I rather be feared or loved? Um, easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me." Well done, Mr. Scott, well done.

Falling in love in The Office

Usually, it's the content of Michael's conversation that gets everyone rolling out of their chairs with laughter. Sometimes, though, it's not so much the content as the simple sentence structure and delivery that makes a quote particularly priceless.

At least, that's the case in the season four episode Goodbye, Toby. Instantly infatuated with Toby Flenderson's HR replacement, Holly Flax, Michael decides that he must immediately pull together a "CD mixtape of N3P music" that communicates two messages — a welcome to Scranton and the fact that he suddenly, without a doubt, loves her. 

He calls Jim into his office to help pick out the songs, and the lanky salesman reluctantly gets involved, clearly in an attempt to stop Michael from ruining his chances with the brand new employee. He starts by pushing back on the idea of love being an instantaneous realization — Michael had just met Holly earlier that day, after all — to which his manager quips back the correction, "Well, it was love at first sight. Actually, it was — no. It was when I heard her voice. It was love at first see with my ears." 

Michael isn't afraid of stealing quotes

A good portion of season five consists of Michael Scott clashing with his new boss, Charles Miner. When Charles shows up on the scene, all business and no fluff, it takes a grand total of one day for Michael to quit his job. From there, he convinces Pam and Ryan to join him in founding the Michael Scott Paper Company as a direct competition to Dunder Mifflin. It's even headquartered in a dimly lit closet in the same office park. 

This period of time sees Michael, Pam, and Ryan (kind of) grow a lot as they strive to keep their fledgling company from going under. At one point, Michael is shown in his new office, sitting below a whiteboard where he's written down an inspirational quote. It reads, "'You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take – Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott." 

Apparently, Michael has no problem "borrowing inspiration" from others and then claiming it for himself. Then again, if you provide proper recognition to the source within the quote, is it really plagiarism, or is it more of an awkward recognition? The jury's still out on that one.

Michael Scott's cringey wedding speech

In the middle of season three of The Office, Dunder Mifflin saleswoman Phyllis Lapin ties the knot with Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration, and then the newlyweds take off on an ultra-long, six-week honeymoon. Of course, the only way Phyllis got such an exorbitant amount of time off was by asking Michael to be in her wedding in order to push her wheelchair-bound father down the aisle. 

When her dad unexpectedly gets out of the chair and walks her down the aisle himself, though, it leaves Michael feeling left out, and he attempts to remedy the situation by soaking up a little limelight during the reception. As the wedding party gives their speeches, the presumptuous boss grabs the mic and attempts to deliver a 40-minute exposition of, in his words, "one of the great, seemingly impossible love stories of our time."

After introducing himself for the second time in under 30 seconds, he kicks things off with the line, "Webster's Dictionary defines 'wedding' as the fusing of two metals with a hot torch." Better check that definition, Mr. Scott. After a few more minutes, including a third introduction, a quote from The Princess Bride, and the announcement that the happy couple's celebrity name is "Phlob," Bob forcibly ends the speech, leaving it roughly 35 minutes short of its planned conclusion. 

Making up quotes and offending employees in The Office

Over the course of The Office, Michael repeatedly puts his foot in his mouth with faux pas that revolve, in one way or another, around race. That's not to say he's necessarily a textbook racist. In fact, many of his most awkward lines come when the manager is specifically attempting to address race in a socially progressive manner. Nevertheless, the apparently good intentions are hardly enough to keep him from making a mess of more than one situation. In fact, we've gone ahead and fit two separate quotes from the same episode into this entry.

They're both found in the iconic season one episode, Diversity Day. Throughout an endless sequence of inappropriate lines, Michael manages to slip in the gem, "Abraham Lincoln once said that, 'If you're a racist, I will attack you with the North.' And those are the principles that I carry with me in the workplace." Later in the same episode, Michael keeps things poppin' by asking Oscar, "Um, let me ask you, is there a term besides 'Mexican' that you prefer? Something less offensive?" 

We'd like to say that Mr. Scott eventually learns his lesson, but his affinity for inventing historical quotes and accidentally spouting racist lines continues to plague him throughout the rest of the show.

Michael Scott's many flaws

With such a penchant for getting himself into trouble, it's a good thing that Michael has some savvy salesman skills up his sleeve when he's in a jam. Often, his ability to schmooze and sell a situation saves his bacon, but at other times, it just plain doesn't. This is on full display in the season four opener, Fun Run, when he faces the disapproval of the entire office after hitting Meredith Palmer with his car. 

As he tries to defend himself, he explains to the documentary crew that he's a well-meaning individual who occasionally slips up from time to time. Well, that's close to what he says, anyway. His exact words are, "Guess what? I have flaws. What are they? Oh, I don't know. I sing in the shower. Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I'll hit somebody with my car. So sue me." Of course, with the injury happening on company property with company property, he's quick to follow that last bit up with a clarification that he actually doesn't want to be sued. It's a fair point. 

Michael is a proud parent

Jumping all the way to season nine, one of Michael's funniest lines of all time comes during his brief appearance during the series finale. The final episode follows the employees one year after the documentary airs, and it's largely set against the backdrop of Dwight and Angela's wedding. Michael, who's been away with Holly in Colorado since the end of season seven, makes a surprise appearance in order to serve as Dwight's "bestisch mensch." 

After the ceremony, Michael is shown, with slightly graying hair, sitting like a proud papa among a menagerie of his former employees. His signature insecurities are gone, and he looks nothing short of truly, genuinely happy. In the midst of his joy, he declares, "I feel like all my kids grew up, and then they married each other. It's every parent's dream." Even in his most deliriously ecstatic moments, the man just can't manage to phrase things quite right.

Michael Scott really wants those Turtles

Even the best salesmen occasionally have a bad day, and for Michael, one of the lowest points in his admittedly impressive sales career comes in the season four episode Dunder Mifflin Infinity. Faced with the looming threat of Ryan's new paper-selling website, Michael attempts to prove that old-fashioned sales tactics are still the superior option. He does this by trying to win back old clients with luxurious gift baskets. 

The plan itself royally backfires, with the former clients accepting the gifts but refusing to return to the paper supply company. The entire scenario culminates with Michael blindly following his GPS right into a lake, an event that causes him to finally snap. Filled with a watery rage,  Michael, accompanied by Dwight, storms back to the last client they visited and demands that they return the gift basket. While the ex-client eventually does so, upon further inspection, Michael discovers that it has been opened, and a box of chocolate Turtles have been taken. Reaching the peak of his frustration, Michael finally explodes, shouting, "Where are the turtles?" The four words may be short and simple, but the failed salesman uses them to channel every bit of his Luddite-inspired resentment, and the effect is priceless.

That's what she said

If there's one quote that absolutely sums up Michael Scott, it has to be, "That's what she said." It's the man's go-to line for a plethora of different situations. He shouts it at an annoyed Jan when she says that, "You're hardly my first [customer]." He says it to an irritated Gabe after he exclaims that, "You are making this harder than it has to be." He can't even hold it in when he's confronted with a betrayed Jim who's remonstrating that, "You screwed me." The man always has the line locked, loaded, and ready to go. 

He even tries to adapt it to unique situations, like the time he tried to say it to Oscar in Spanish and ended up saying, "That's what he says." And then there's the time he literally responded to himself in his last episode, Goodbye, Michael, when he removed his mic pack and said, "Oh, this is gonna feel so good getting this thing off my chest." Whatever the time, place, company, or mood, Michael is always ready to trot out his favorite zinger, and the truth is, it never disappoints.

That's what she said.

Michael loves his 'improversations'

For all of the carefully crafted lines, sometimes Michael's best moments are just straight-up gibberish. This is particularly true for an absurd string of nonsense that the man spouts off in the season five episode, The Duel. The scene begins when Michael nervously heads to the corporate headquarters in New York City in order to have a mysterious meeting with the CFO, David Wallace.

Upon his arrival, he discovers that, far from being in trouble, Wallace wants to pick his brain, since Michael's branch is somehow doing incredibly well in spite of (or perhaps because of) his eccentric management style. His head balloons with immediate and unreasonable pride at the news that his opinion is wanted, and the manager immediately responds with the off-the-cuff statement, "My philosophy is basically this. And this is something that I live by. And I always have, and I always will. Don't ever for any reason do anything to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what, no matter where, or who, or who you are with, or, or where you are going or, or where you've been, ever, for any reason whatsoever …"

The ridiculously long-winded line goes on for 40 seconds, getting the conversation precisely nowhere in the process. As if that wasn't enough, he follows this up by informing the camera crew, "Sometimes I'll start a sentence, and I don't even know where it's going. I just hope I find it along the way. Like an improv conversation … an 'improversation.'"

Michael Scott and the supernatural

When it comes to inventing words for his own benefit, Michael Scott is an absolute master of mashing up the English language. In fact, when the chips are down, the level of inadvertent wordplay to which he'll stoop to help himself out of a jam gets even better. 

As an example, let's look at the first episode of season four, Fun Run. As the episode unfolds, Michael squirms under the heavy weight of disapproval that comes with running people down with your car, until the manager comes to the quite forced realization that the office must be cursed. As he attempts to take action in order to free them all from the curse that "hit Meredith with my car," he manages to blurt out a one-liner that is 100 percent worthy of this list. After laying the blame for his actions on the supernatural, he follows up with the priceless clarification that, "I'm not superstitious … but I'm — I'm a little stitious." Hey, if it gets him out of the hot seat, he'll take it.

Wanting the spa treatment

In the season two episode The Injury, Michael manages to burn his foot ever-so-slightly on his George Foreman grill. He has Dwight come pick him up from his house and bring him to the office, where he makes a dramatic entrance, dressed down, limping on crutches, and with his foot wrapped in bubble wrap and safe from everyone but the bubble-popping likes of Jim Halpert.

Over the course of the episode, Michael goes to great lengths to foster attention for his minor injury — all while Dwight is suffering from a serious concussion, no less. Decked out in comfortable misery in the meeting room, Michael calls Pam at reception and asks her to come help him. When she says that he needs to tell her why first, he pauses before somewhat bashfully informing her that, "I want you to rub butter on my foot." When she refuses, he urges, "Pam, please? I have Country Crock." How the butter brand was supposed to help is a mystery, but he certainly doesn't pull the wool over the secretary's eyes. She remains firmly planted at her desk.

Early morning wisdom in The Office

The season two episode Office Olympics is a classic. From Flonkerton and the first significant mention of Dwight's beet farm to Michael's ill-advised purchase of a condo, the episode holds a special place within the show's canon. It also features one of Michael's greatest one-liners, which is tastefully hidden in the opening scene. In fact, it's literally the first line.

As the scene opens on the office building in the dim early morning light, Michael's voice is heard delivering the sage wisdom that he dispenses in an endless stream during these earlier days of the show. This particular time, he's explaining why he's at work so early, saying that, "I'm an early bird, and I'm a night owl. So I'm wise, and I have worms." The head-scratching statement is the perfect example of just how confusing the Dunder Mifflin manager can be when he's trying to impress with his on-the-spot managerial wisdom.

A classic Michael Scott mash-up

It turns out, Michael Scott's skill at combining words goes beyond stuff like "improversation" or being a "little stitious." In the season three episode The Traveling Salesman, the boss actually manages to take things to a whole new level by combining two completely different sayings into one hilariously nonsensical statement. 

During the scene in question, he's attempting to list off his grievances with Dwight shortly before he fires him. As he lays out his concerns, he tries to combine two classic sayings. First, we've got "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." And then there's "three strikes, and you're out." However, the effort doesn't go as planned, and Michael ends up saying, "You know what they say. Fool me once, strike one, but fool me twice … strike three."

Wait, what? Well, we can probably chalk this one up to the Dunder Mifflin boss' desire to always sound bigger and better, even if it comes at the cost of comprehension.