Paulie Gualtieri, AKA Paulie Walnuts, was played by the great Tony Sirico in the original HBO series The Sopranos and was a firm fan-favorite character. This is mostly due to Tony Sirico’s ultimately charming portrayal of the violent mobster and some of it has to do with the character being wildly unpredictable. However, a lot of the love from fans stems from Paulie Walnuts’ best quotes
The Sopranos is filled with funny lines and characters, but nobody even comes close to Paulie when it comes to humor. Sometimes he’s intentionally funny. Sometimes the audience is left laughing at him and not with him, and sometimes he’s deeply frightening. Either way, it’s a near-guarantee that anything coming out of Paulie’s mouth will be very memorable.
Paulie Walnuts Weeps For Italian Culture
“This Is The Worst. This Expresso S***.”
Paulie (like most other main characters in The Sopranos) is very proud of his Italian heritage and seeing espresso really makes his blood boil. While being served in a major coffee shop franchise, Paulie laments the commercialization of Italian culture and cuisine.
It’s not just his anger that’s funny so much as the fact that he says “expresso” in place of espresso. This Paulie Walnuts quote perfectly shows how ignorant the character’s behavior can be while still being oddly endearing.
A Merry Christmas From Paulie Walnuts
“You’re Santa Claus. So Shut The F*** Up About It.”
If there’s one thing Paulie takes more seriously than his Italian heritage, it’s entertaining the children of the neighborhood.
The shy and reserved Bobby Baccalieri is hesitant about playing Santa for the kids, forcing Paulie to stand and reprimand him, saying: “The boss of this family told you you’re gonna be Santa Claus. You’re Santa Claus. So shut the f*** up about it!” Paulie Walnuts is a soldier through and through, even when it comes to Christmas.
Paulie Walnuts Will Pick On Anybody, No Matter Their Size
“It’s Like An Ad For A Weight Loss Center. Before, And Way Before.”
Poor Bobby is always getting the brunt of Paulie’s jokes. While goofing around with Chris, Paulie sees Vito and Bobby speaking to each other and decides to pick on them as easy targets.
He turns to Chris, saying, “Oh, look at that! It’s like an ad for a weight loss center. Before, and way before!” Bobby says what the audience is thinking – “This guy. Does he ever stop breaking balls?” It may be cruel but it really does sum up a lot of Paulie Walnuts’ character.
Paulie Walnuts Is Always Kissing Up To Tony
“You Hear What I Said, Ton?”
One of Paulie Walnuts’ best character quirks on The Sopranos is how he repeats his jokes.
A running gag throughout the series sees Paulie making a quip, turning to Tony, and asking, “You hear what I said, Ton?” He then immediately repeats the joke that everyone just heard, word-for-word. It makes the audience laugh every single time, and it helps cement Paulie as one of the goofiest and most hilarious characters on the show.
Paulie Walnuts Calls Them How He Sees Them
“Oof, Madone! He Looks Terrible!”
Leave it to Paulie to say exactly what’s on his mind. While visiting Tony in the hospital after he slipped into a coma, Paulie is clearly instructed by Meadow to say encouraging things, as coma patients can supposedly hear what others are saying.
Immediately upon seeing Tony hooked up with tubes and a ventilator, Paulie can’t help but exclaim in horror, yelling, “Oof, madone! He looks terrible!” Though obviously inappropriate, Paulie’s outburst is a welcome bit of humor in an otherwise dark and serious time.
A Classic Paulie Walnuts Misunderstanding
“The Guy Was An Interior Decorator!”
“Pine Barrens” is often ranked as one of the best episodes of The Sopranos, and it’s arguably Paulie Walnuts’ finest hour as a comedic force in the show. While on the phone, Tony tells Paulie that the guy they’re pursuing is an ex-commando who killed sixteen Chechen rebels with the Interior Ministry.
Paulie mishears him, telling Chris, “You’re not gonna believe this. He killed sixteen Czechoslovakians. The guy was an interior decorator!” To this, Chris famously quips, “His house looked like s***!” It’s a flawless exchange, showing off just how great the chemistry between Michael Imperioli and Tony Sirico was.
Paulie Walnuts, The Historian
“Sun Tuh-Zoo! The Chinese Prince Matchabelli!”
Paulie Walnuts often tries to sound cultured, but he just can’t quite get there. Rather than it being awkward, however, it’s usually just downright funny.
During Tony B’s welcome home party, Paulie drops some Sun Tzu wisdom on him, mispronouncing Sun Tzu’s name as Sun Tuh-Zoo. Not only that, but he calls Sun Tzu the “Chinese Prince Matchabelli.” Prince Matchabelli is actually a luxury perfume line. Paulie meant Machiavelli, but Machiavelli was never a prince. He obviously got confused with Machiavelli’s seminal treatise, The Prince, but good luck explaining that to Paulie Walnuts.
An Unexpected Visit From Paulie Walnuts Is Never A Good Thing
“Minn! Your Door Was Open!”
No scene better encapsulates Paulie Walnuts’ dangerously unpredictable personality traits better than Minn’s murder. Right before killing the poor old lady, Paulie is busted by her as he’s rooting around underneath her bed (after loudly breaking down the door).
Caught in the act, Paulie feigns friendliness with “Minn! Your door was open! I brought you something from my Ma!” The sight of Paulie’s head emerging from behind the bed is one of The Sopranos‘ finest visual gags even if it comes right before one of its darkest moments.
Paulie Walnuts Is Terrible At Interventions
“I’ll Make This Short And Sweet…”
Chris’ intervention, while obviously not funny as an idea in itself, has become ranked as one of The Sopranos‘ funniest scenes by users on Reddit thanks to the outlandish behavior of those around him.
First, there’s Silvio’s story of finding Chris passed out in the toilet and then there’s Paulie, who is comedically blunt: “I’ll keep this short and sweet. You’re weak. You’ve become an embarrassment to yourself and everybody else.” It’s a terrible thing to say in that or any other context but Paulie does actually care for Chris in his own way and the fact that this is the only way that he can express nurturing advice just comes off as humorous.
Never Take Advice From Paulie Walnuts
“Word To The Wise: Remember Pearl Harbor!”
As funny as Paulie Walnuts is, the show isn’t afraid of reminding the audience that deep down he’s just ignorant and bigoted. This iconic Paulie Walnuts quote is a perfect example of the show wanting the audience to laugh at Paulie rather than with him.
While Tony B is talking about his ambitious Korean boss, Paulie comes in with his advice: “Word to the wise. Remember Pearl Harbor!” Not only does it not make sense in the context of the conversation, but Paulie somehow manages to confuse Korea with Japan.