R: Did you ever read Nietzsche
L: Ha Ha Ha
R: Legs, listen to me, he said that anything that makes you laugh, anything that's funny, indicates an emotion that's died. Every time you laugh that's a serious emotion that doesn't exist with you anymore...and that's why I think you and everything else is so funny.
L: Yeah, I do too, but that's not funny.
R: That's 'cause you don't have any emotions. (Hysterical laughter)
—Richard Hell interviewed by Leg McNeil, Punk, Issue #3, March 1976, reprinted in Punk: The Best Of Punk Magazine, !T/Harper Collins, 2012
[...] I had become a manic-depressive. I was hopeless. I could only laugh at someone else's expense and I thrived on negativity. I can see now how it was only natural that I would gravitate towards Tommy, Joey, and Johnny Ramone. They were the obvious creeps of the neighborhood. All their friends had to be creeps. No one would have ever pegged any of us for any kind of success in life. But that's how it goes.
—Dee Dee Ramone, Lobotomy: Surviving The Ramones, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2000
I always liked seeing Dee Dee, and to my mind he was the best example of a certain rock and roll essence that punk sought to embody. He was a street kid who was purely talented—he wrote most of the great Ramones songs—and who radiated lovable innocence, even though he'd worked, for lack of a better way to earn a living, as a gay hustler on the street. Or maybe that's where he'd learned the innocence. Like Jerry Nolan, he'd been a hairdresser for a while, too. He had a strongly defined personality—that funny dizzy dumb style—that he had to have developed as a defense. He was like a toddler, stumbling and misunderstanding what just happened, but who recovers instantly to plow ahead grinning proudly, endearingly, hilariously. With him the comedy was deliberate, if so deeply habitual that it became who he was. The other side of his childlike goofiness was his tantrums. But he was so funny, usually about himself. My favorite example is something he said for a piece I did about the Ramones for Hit Parader in 1976. (It was the first time I'd done any journalism and the first article about the Ramones in a national publication.)
The band had gathered at Arturo Vega's loft for the interview. Arturo was the Ramones' art director and best friend and main booster. I turned on the tape recorder and started asking questions. In a minute Dee Dee was explaining the group's songs and he said the first one they'd written was "I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You," and the next one was "I Don't Wanna Get Involved With You," and then "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement." I don't wanna this and I don't wanna that. Finally he offered, "We didn't write a positive song until 'Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.'" Someone who was actually dumb would never be able to think of that, which of course makes it even funnier.
—Richard Hell, I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, Ecco/Harper Collins, 2013
I bring all this up because it's kind of staggering the way, to judge by the trailer, the upcoming CBGB movie bollixes the droll anecdote Mr. Hell relates.