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"Never, ever, think outside the box."
July 12, 2013 7:37 AM   Subscribe

New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff picks his 11 favourite cartoons.
posted by anothermug (134 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cripes, only one thing from before 1979? Boo!

Still I should probably be grateful that he didn't include any Hamilton or, god forbid, his own stuff in there.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:43 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yep, most of them hold up to the "Christ, what an asshole" test.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:44 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


He's wrong. This is the best New Yorker cartoon of all time.
posted by COBRA! at 7:47 AM on July 12, 2013 [51 favorites]


It’s not funny, but to me it’s about life without art. This is something that could only have appeared in The New Yorker.

Sounds about right.

[not thenewyorker-ist]
posted by phunniemee at 7:47 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


His explanations—for cartoons that basically don't require any—are surprisingly terrible.
posted by kenko at 7:48 AM on July 12, 2013 [50 favorites]


Meh. 3/10 --about as good as Mankoff's cartoons. The NYer must have different people picking their cartoons, because sometimes I'll pick up an issue and find everything clever and funny, but most of the time the whole collection is meh. Many are just cynical, like the shoes/gun and lesbian/gay marriage joke. That boat cartoon was first done way back around the 50's. I have it in a New Yorker anthology. A man has his small boat turned upside down in his yard, and as he's finishing painting the name, his young son says, "Want to know something, Dad?"
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:49 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


That Fusilli one reminds me of two episodes of Seinfeld:
1. "The Fusilli Jerry" because of the Fusilli
2. "The Cartoon" because of the New Yorker cartoon that doesn't make any sense but the New Yorker cartoon editor insists is funny
posted by Sys Rq at 7:50 AM on July 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Those are about 90% pretentious or terrible. It would have been better if he'd just picked 11 Roz Chast cartoons-- the obituary cartoon is pretty representative of her work, and it was the only truly funny one on the page.

"Never think outside the box" was the only other one on the page that wasn't cringe-inducing, mostly because it's the New Yorker doing a poop joke.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:50 AM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


No Charles Addams. No Gahan Wilson. This guy is awful.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:51 AM on July 12, 2013 [16 favorites]


Normally it’d be a Swiss army knife but here it’s French so it’s all corkscrews. It’s saying they like wine, which isn’t too bad. It’s not saying they’re inveterate alcoholics. For the viewer, there’s the little cognitive thrill of putting things together.

*stabs self in eye repeatedly*
posted by Behemoth at 7:51 AM on July 12, 2013 [51 favorites]


Mankoff is such a blowhard, and his reign as cartoon editor has been like...life without Mozart.
posted by Infinity_8 at 7:54 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Faint of Butt beat me too it, but still:
All of the best New Yorker Cartoons can be found in a simple search.
posted by Hactar at 7:54 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


No George Booth?
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:01 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Charles Addams is great, but any list of the best New Yorker cartoons should also include George Booth.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:01 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jinx!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:01 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm-a let you finish Hactar, but George Booth. (Both he and Addams are sublime, don't get me wrong. I think my preference for Booth stems from the approachability of his drawings. Addams is like a renaissance master of the form.)
posted by Infinity_8 at 8:03 AM on July 12, 2013


Nope. This cartoon, which I clipped over a decade ago and which has been across three continents and on probably 10 refrigerators, is the best New Yorker cartoon of all time.
posted by R. Schlock at 8:04 AM on July 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Gotta love this guy's "commentary" of explaining the joke.

For a better analysis of New Yorker cartoons...
posted by bittermensch at 8:05 AM on July 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I find the Mozart one amusing for exactly the opposite reason Mankoff finds it poignant: of course life would have gone on without Mozart, so the bleak picture in the cartoon is completely absurd. Mozart's important, but it's not as if life and the development of modern society hinged on him, and people can and do have fulfilling lives without hearing anything he's ever composed. Mankoff's sentimental response just makes it funnier.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:08 AM on July 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I stopped reading New Yorker (got tired of seeing the stacks and stacks of unread issues all over my house) before C. Barsotti took root there, but this one is also amazing (get a tissue).
posted by Infinity_8 at 8:11 AM on July 12, 2013 [40 favorites]


MY FIRST BOAT makes me giggle, in much the same way that this makes me laugh my butt off.
posted by unregistered_animagus at 8:11 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, to sum up this thread so far, your favorite New Yorker cartoon sucks?

I suspect he may have avoided Booth, Wilson, and Addams because they were obvious; for what it's worth I liked all of them but the last one. Don't tell me you don't think Che Geuvara wearing a Bart Simpson t-shirt isn't hilarious!
posted by TedW at 8:14 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


god forbid, his own stuff in there.

Mankoff's habit of putting s own work in the magazine really annoys me. Also the originals of most of these are up in his office or around.
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 AM on July 12, 2013


"Of course I care about how you imagined I thought you perceived I wanted you to feel."

Thought that one was very well done.
posted by 3FLryan at 8:17 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was always partial to "Lassie, get help."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:18 AM on July 12, 2013 [18 favorites]


Mankoff's habit of putting s own work in the magazine really annoys me.

Yeah, that's a pretty brass-balled move, especially when there's a visible quality gap. Really, for me, Mankoff's one of the many instances where I love the New Yorker overall but really don't like several key chunks of it.
posted by COBRA! at 8:20 AM on July 12, 2013


Man alive. You know how sometimes you'll hear someone whose first language isn't English try to explain a joke that's totally hilarious in their native tongue but when translated into English it's just baffling? Like, you can't even imagine a reality in which it might be funny? That is what most of those cartoons are like, to me.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:24 AM on July 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Haha "Your favorite cartoon sucks." Yeah, pretty much. My love of and admiration for the work of cartoonists sets me apart from most of my friends, most of whom have no idea who C. Barsotti or even George Booth is. During a childhood marked by bouts of clinical depression, my Mom & Dad knew they could always give me a few good days by bringing home a new collection. Now I give collections to people I like, the way other people make mix tapes. I rarely find myself in a situation that *doesn't* remind me of a favorite cartoon. Cartoons, Bill Cosby, and Edgar Allan Poe: Why I am who I am.

Mankoff doesn't seem, to me, to have or understand this kind of connection with cartoons. It bothers me.
posted by Infinity_8 at 8:26 AM on July 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Thank you so much for this link. I always thought I didn't understand New Yorker cartoons, but now I get that there is no there there.

They're exactly as empty as they seem.
posted by jsturgill at 8:26 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


> MY FIRST BOAT makes me giggle, in much the same way that this makes me laugh my butt off.

Or this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:30 AM on July 12, 2013


I like Ebert's New Yorker cartoon that never was. (source)
posted by mistersquid at 8:30 AM on July 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm going to the New Yorker for a cartoon drop off on Tuesday .... Wish me luck?
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 AM on July 12, 2013 [25 favorites]


GOOD LUCK YOU CRUSTACEOUS BASTARD
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:32 AM on July 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


New Yorker cartoons are sublime. Not sure why anyone would bother making a post about them on MetaFilter, though. Haters gonna hate.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:33 AM on July 12, 2013


Those are about 90% pretentious or terrible.

careful. The real purpose of New Yorker cartoons is to get us to reveal our innermost workings.
posted by philip-random at 8:34 AM on July 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Most of those cartoons are great, but it's weird that Mankoff himself doesn't seem to get them. Like the Mozart one, which is obviously meant to be deliberately over the top exaggeration, not poignant commentary, or the "Fusilli" one which relies on you knowing that fusilli are the corkscrew shaped pasta (hence "you crazy bastard"), about which Mankoff seems sublimely unaware.

If you don't find New Yorker cartoons funny, that's fine, by the way. There's no such thing as universal humor in the world (or, to the extent that there is, it's pretty basic). What I hate, though, is the smug assumption that just because you, personally, don't find something funny, anyone else who does claim to find it funny is just lying because they want to seem sophisticated and in on the joke.
posted by yoink at 8:34 AM on July 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


Good luck, Whelk! I wasn't clear on what you meant, but are you saying that you are submitting a cartoon?
posted by tickingclock at 8:36 AM on July 12, 2013


You go in on Tuesday, drop off a file folder of cartoons, some may be taken for consideration, the rest are returned to you. Go back next week to pick up your toons.
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a cog in the motorcycle industry, I've always been partial to The Vesparados.
posted by workerant at 8:38 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, Infinity_8, that one felt like a punch to the gut. :-(
posted by tickingclock at 8:38 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wish me luck?

Good Luck! (you may need it now that you've dissed the cartoon editor)
posted by TedW at 8:39 AM on July 12, 2013


The only one that made me laugh out loud was the Che/Bart one which, ironically, I want as a t-shirt. The others didn't even elicit a smile. What a terrible list.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:39 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This takedown is great, and really shows why many people hate the cartoons, but also I laughed pretty hard at this old cartoon. It's satire but with a side of love, like many of the "worst". I think whether or not you like the New Yorker style has to do with whether you are comfortable with making fond fun of upper class foibles rather than always having to want to eat the rich at all times.

I would recommend everyone watch Metropolitan a few times before enjoying anything in the New Yorker. Actually I would recommend just watching that movie every day.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:39 AM on July 12, 2013


Eh.
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 AM on July 12, 2013


Not half as funny as the shit they refuse to print.
posted by Renoroc at 8:40 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The obituaries one is spot on.

My First Boat is great because when the guy inevitably overturns his boat, everyone will know why.
posted by maryr at 8:42 AM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Almost every New Yorker cartoon that people have linked to in comments has been funnier to me than the ones in the FPP link.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:44 AM on July 12, 2013


Oh and James Thurber may not be the best cartoonist, or even a cartoonist at all, but his shit makes me laugh harder than anything ever rendered in one panel.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:46 AM on July 12, 2013


I get the impression that the cartoonists are very much afraid of biting the demographic that feeds them. The cartoons feel overwhelmingly faint and safe, like shadow copies of real cartoons that are out there somewhere making people gut-laugh, or feel uncomfortable, or learn something new about themselves and the world they live in.

Even the absurd, surreal attempts at humor deliberately miss all the magic and danger of surrealism and somehow make the unpossible world on display in the panel a banal, craven thing empty of life. Like they were drawn by David Lynch after a stroke that killed off the part of his brain that dealt with nightmare imagery and the seduction of innocense, leaving someone who just liked to do wacky things because wacky.
posted by jsturgill at 8:47 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting that he doesn't seem to get any mileage at all out of the old-style New Yorker cartoons where an independently fantastic drawing was part of the appeal. Kind of a shame that those have disappeared so completely in favor of cartoons where the drawing is just a utilitarian setup for the gag.
posted by ostro at 8:48 AM on July 12, 2013


The only one that made me laugh out loud was the Che/Bart one which, ironically, I want as a t-shirt.

Well you can always settle for Che Guevara wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt. (For several years I have tried to figure out how to make myself look like Che so I could go out on Halloween as Che Guevara wearing a Che Guevara wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt t-shirt. I don't know why but I just find Che Guevara shirts inherently humorous.)
posted by TedW at 8:48 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Che should have been wearing a Zach De La Rocha t-shirt.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:49 AM on July 12, 2013


Also, with the exception of .....3 people I can think of off the top of my head, the majority of the cartoonists in the pages are well over retirement age.
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


old-style New Yorker cartoons where an independently fantastic drawing was part of the appeal.

Word Of God says the policy is not to let the toon art overshadow the text.
posted by The Whelk at 8:54 AM on July 12, 2013


This one makes me chuckle.
posted by slmorri at 8:56 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Word Of God says the policy is not to let the toon art overshadow the text.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:58 AM on July 12, 2013


I really love me some NYer cartoons, but the caption contest is a horrible use of the back page. Ugh.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:59 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I made a copy of that Fusilli one back when it ran, I liked it so much.

First, they do an online search is another favorite.
posted by y2karl at 9:01 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dear New Yorker cartoon haters, how many of your cartoon captions have made the final three? (Personally, I'm 0-21.) (Humor is hard.)
posted by wensink at 9:01 AM on July 12, 2013


What a misunderstanding! Still works.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:02 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


In an ideal world that policy would just mean that the art and the caption have to combine to create something bigger than the sum of their parts. In this world, though, it seems to mean that if your cartoons are going to have mediocre gags, they damn well better have mediocre drawings too.
posted by ostro at 9:04 AM on July 12, 2013


I really love me some NYer cartoons, but the caption contest is a horrible use of the back page. Ugh.

I love the captionless cartoons themselves but reading the submissions really really hurts. The occasional bright spark of wit is overwhelmed by the otherwise unrelenting stream of soul-killing not-funny.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:04 AM on July 12, 2013


Also, with the exception of .....3 people I can think of off the top of my head, the majority of the cartoonists in the pages are well over retirement age.

According to the article they get ~1000 submissions every week. However, you look at the issues for the past ten years and see the same 10 or 15 rotating cartoonists (the editor among them). So unless these guys are drawing 100 cartoons every week, where are the hundreds of other cartoonists throwing their hat in the ring? Does Mankoff just prefer going with people who are established (read: 'name brand' cartoonists who have sold cartoons in the past on their online store)? The whole practice reeks of the blind snobbishness that people stereotype with New Yorkers. I see no love of cartooning on the pages of the New Yorker.
posted by bittermensch at 9:06 AM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also quite a lot of cartoons come from the rotating Cartoon Dept assistant, which I'm not sure is a paid position or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was an internship.
posted by The Whelk at 9:08 AM on July 12, 2013


Every one of those alleged best comics fills me with ennui and despair. Plus, their inherent terribility is outshined by the fact that they were chosen specifically for their merit, such that I find myself hoping rather fervently that this is all an elaborate joke. They seem like the kind of humor that is grimly and forcibly extracted from the souls of those who, on a cellular level, abhor humor.
posted by elizardbits at 9:10 AM on July 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


is that the joke though

plz advise
posted by elizardbits at 9:10 AM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I get the impression that the cartoonists are very much afraid of biting the demographic that feeds them.

I don't get that impression at all, but then again I think Ted Rall is a fucking idiot. Sorry about that.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:11 AM on July 12, 2013


We definitely had this one framed in the office of my Public Defender clinic.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:12 AM on July 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


His explanations—for cartoons that basically don't require any—are surprisingly terrible.

It's like a bad actor improvising that he's a humor expert: And . . . ACTION: “This is how humor works, by bringing together two different things that usually don’t go together,”


That's good, that's good, but could you be a little more obvious and smug on the next take? Thanks.
-------

That said, this one made me laugh, because it hits close to home for me: "Of course I care about how you imagined I thought you perceived I wanted you to feel."

---

Oh, and while I agree that the caption contest feels out of place in the New Yorker, I entered for this first time this week. I don't know why, I just did.
posted by MoxieProxy at 9:22 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


is that the joke though

plz advise


I think you might be onto something.

What if that entire webpage was surrounded by a faint line and is in its banal entirety itself a New Yorker cartoon, perhaps of a New Yorker cartoon editor on a psychiatrist's couch?

What would its caption be?

"In my head, I'm hilarious."

or "It hurts when I do this."

or "On the Internet, no one can tell you're a New Yorker cartoon caption?"
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:25 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a New Yorker comic that I used to have* and loved, for personal reasons, and I have no idea how to find it: a man and a woman in a car, but all around them are stars/planets/galaxies. The caption is something to the effect of: "sweetie, what gear are we in?" Help?

* one of the English profs where I went to college clipped New Yorkers and pinned them to the wall outside his office, with a note to take any that you liked. So I would guess that it was from the early/mid 1990s, altho not necessarily.
posted by epersonae at 9:25 AM on July 12, 2013


Also, that "takedown" is right that the New Yorker cartoons aren't as biting, disturbing, etc., as they could be. But that's the fault of the editors who produce the mix, not the individual cartoonists. Criticizing Roz Chast and Charles Addams for lacking trenchant social criticism is like criticizing Aesop's Fables for not being Animal Farm.

Anyhow, I think he's actually missing some genuinely anarchic cartoons by confusing domesticity of interest with aesthetic timidity. Pure silliness can be pretty thought-provoking.

This Barsotti cartoon is a great example of the New Yorker engaging with the real world. Also, as New Yorker pasta cartoons go, this is my favorite.
posted by ostro at 9:26 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like Ebert's New Yorker cartoon that never was.

Roger Ebert sure did love him a good erection joke.
posted by Naberius at 9:27 AM on July 12, 2013


I'm going to the New Yorker for a cartoon drop off on Tuesday .... Wish me luck?

@TheWhelk Courage!

From a 2011 interview with Mankoff: "Yeah, I submitted a couple of thousand cartoons to The New Yorker before I ever got published."
posted by wensink at 9:31 AM on July 12, 2013


This was one of the first New Yoker cartoons to really make a splash, and I say it's still funny, and I say to hell with the others.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:32 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some of these are ok. I'm a big fan of Alex Gregory myself (that second one I scanned and made into a wipe-off shopping list thingy for my folks); hate those grotesque things Gahan draws.
This one though may be my favourite of all; it's funny, and a life lesson.
Also, I love the Caption Contest. Some of the submissions are sublime (I found most of Ebert's efforts a little flat tho).
posted by Flashman at 9:36 AM on July 12, 2013


I will never cease to be amazed at how proud some people can be about not enjoying something. Seriously, folks, it's not an achievement.
posted by yoink at 9:37 AM on July 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


The hell it isn't. I was unable to not enjoy things until university age. My non-enjoyment of many topics required intense study under professors who themselves had taken eight or more years to remove joy from their subjects!
posted by gilrain at 9:39 AM on July 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I dont get these. What ever happened to ziggy? What a sad sack!
posted by Ad hominem at 9:42 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love New Yorker cartoons, always have, but jesus god, mankoff can suck the humor out of them like a Shop-Vac.
posted by KathrynT at 9:44 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


yoink: the "Fusilli" one which relies on you knowing that fusilli are the corkscrew shaped pasta (hence "you crazy bastard"), about which Mankoff seems sublimely unaware.
Yeah, that's when I realized either Mankoff was the greatest absurdist comedian since Andy Kaufmann, or (my 99% guess) an idiot.


And, really, let's be honest: this is the best New Yorker cartoon ever, but it doesn't show up on people's lists because it's a cover (and constantly referred to as their best cover ever). March 29, 1976, by the great Saul Steinberg.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:47 AM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


But why does Leroy Lockhorn always look drunk?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:58 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


People who work for the New Yorker don't know that there may be people in the world that don't know the traditional names for various types of pasta.

Dude doesn't buy the "corkscrew in three cheese sauce" stouffer's like the rest of us do, His mac and cheese comes from Citarella.

Fucking elites and their fancy pasta.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:02 AM on July 12, 2013


Cartoon idea: a map of the US in which all but NYC is labeled "Cartoons About Enormous Dogs". A label pointing at NYC that says "Cartoons Not About Enormous Dogs".
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:02 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fucking elites and their fancy pasta.
But if you've ever traveled in Italy, especially in and around Puglia, you'd know that fusilli isn't fancy.
posted by wensink at 10:20 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh my god. This is KILLING ME:

Cartoons are either in the realm of reality or fantasy. Everything about this can’t possibly happen; it defies logic and reality and yet it leads to hilarity,” says Mankoff. “‘Fusilli’ sounds like an Italian piece of pasta, but they’re both crazy, because they’re pieces of pasta. Is that ‘Rigatoni’ calling? I don’t know, but it’s one of my all-time favorite cartoons.”

KILLING ME.
posted by Kimberly at 10:27 AM on July 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Sorry, this is the best New Yorker cartoon ever.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:30 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fucking elites and their fancy pasta.
But if you've ever traveled in Italy, especially in and around Puglia, you'd know that fusilli isn't fancy.


Which is the fancy pasta?

Thanks for giving me the ammo to one up these bastards when I see them stocking up on fusilli at Fairway.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:35 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fusilli is the opposite of fancy pasta, it's the shit you get at the school cafeteria covered in overly sweet and watery red sauce.
posted by lydhre at 10:40 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't all pasta a bit suspect cause of the majority of it eaten by Poors?
posted by The Whelk at 10:40 AM on July 12, 2013


"You see, it's a map. But it's drawn from a New Yorker's perspective, so everything but New York looks small. That's the amusing part."
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:50 AM on July 12, 2013 [16 favorites]


Fusilli is the opposite of fancy pasta, it's the shit you get at the school cafeteria covered in overly sweet and watery red sauce.

Yeah, but its called corkscrew in that context right?

I never got fusilli in school.

Thats the joke I was making. That they have a fancy name for it.

That would make a great New Yorker cartoon. Imma mock it up in memegenerator and submit it.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:56 AM on July 12, 2013


Yeah, I'm loving the ones pointed out in the comments the best; IAmBroom's cover one made me actually chortle a bit, and I did *literraallly* laugh out loud at OHenryPacey's fave. Also Infinity_8's kind of killed me. In a sweet way.

I also like the fusilli one from the original list, but am bemused and amused (beamused?) that it seems clear the editor didn't really get it? Anyway, I very much like seeing what everyone here finds particularly funny and/or memorable. S'nice.
posted by taz at 10:58 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's so hard to judge the best when the mag goes back so many years, but for me this is the best recent one.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:02 AM on July 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes, the mefi-selected favourites are far superior to this madman of an editor's picks. I assume he is cosplaying as the painfully unfunny lieutenant from Good Morning Vietnam.
posted by elizardbits at 11:12 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Two audience members at a TED talk entitled "How The New Yorker Selects Its Cartoons". One is whispering to the other. Caption: "To be honest I preferred learning how sausage is made."
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:22 AM on July 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Interesting to see how much people hate New Yorker cartoons. I (often) love them, but apparently I'm some kind of anything-that-moves humor slut who finds everything hilarious because I thought that SNL trainwreck skit was funny.

Here are some of my favorites:

The best self-help book ever, aka an excellent visual representation of Ask Metafilter.

How to prepare for a trip.

Life as a professor. (Hilariously, one of my professor colleagues gave me a "Well, Actually..." when he saw this one. You can probably imagine.)

Folksy wisdom from a snake.

How evolution really works.

People on cell phones.

What it's like to have children.

Let's just keep going with the snake cartoons.

Passive-aggressive communication.

Yes I am a huge sucker for snake cartoons.
posted by medusa at 11:23 AM on July 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Perhaps it was because I was bartending (and in grad school) at the time, but this one from Barsotti has long been among my favorites. Want to hear it?
posted by wensink at 11:23 AM on July 12, 2013


BlahLaLa, the product description for that cartoon is practically Mankoffian in its own right:

A men works on the sky scraper beams as the foreman calls down for more workers.

"It's just a delightful cartoon. The foreman is calling down for some guy called Escher. This is amusing because we don't usually expect to see foremen and workers in the same picture. Escher sounds like a type of pasta, which is crazy, because you wouldn't want a piece of pasta building a skyscraper! You have to be clever at the New Yorker."
posted by forgetful snow at 11:24 AM on July 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


Interesting to see how much people hate New Yorker cartoons.

I think the hate is direct to Bob Mankoff's picks and analysis.

Your last link made me guffaw!!
posted by MoxieProxy at 11:29 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, Ad Hominen, it's called fusilli. Like penne is called penne. And spaghetti is called spaghetti. And so on and so forth.

It's not a fancy name it's... just its name.
posted by lydhre at 11:29 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love New Yorker cartoons (LOVE), but these picks were not so great.

Interesting to see how much people hate New Yorker cartoons.

That has been a meme since long before Seinfeld and Ziggy.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:35 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


and yeah, most people like the covers, which are really mostly cartoons. the citibike-gym one recently was quite good.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:37 AM on July 12, 2013


medusa Folksy wisdom from a snake.

If you read The New Yorker, you must know a little about something, so you know that snakes can't talk. That's what makes this cartoon so funny.
posted by space_cookie at 11:37 AM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's from a caption contest, so maybe it doesn't quite count, but this one is my all-time favorite.
posted by Flamingo at 11:46 AM on July 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


But wouldn't the fusilli one work better if the caption was "Fusilli, you twisted bastard! How are you?" But I'm neither a catroonist, cartoon editor, nor a New Yorker.
posted by achrise at 12:24 PM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Alleged killer whale" reminds me of jokes I'd read in the more popular parts of Weird Twitter, though there the joke would be what a silly joke it was.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:37 PM on July 12, 2013


Mankoff's habit of putting his own work in the magazine really annoys me.

I always meant to submit a cartoon of someone reading the New Yorker and saying to their spouse "God, that Mankoff guy must be related to someone who works there."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:40 PM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Alleged killer whale"

If you read The New Yorker, you must know a little about something, so you know that killer whales are actually members of the Dolphin Family, a 70s-era popular music group.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:46 PM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think to understand New Yorker cartoons you have to understand the aesthetic of the New Yorker. And to understand that all you have to do is read around twenty Talk of the Town articles in a row: educated self-conscious viewer eyes interesting or important issue from an examined distance.

If you want that in picture form see Eustace Tilley.

The goal of the cartoons isn't to be funny, it's to supplement the aesthetic by being freshly familiar. Kind of like most cartoons for adults really.
posted by tychotesla at 1:21 PM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


But I'm neither a cartoonist, cartoon editor, nor a New Yorker.

If you read the New Yorker, you must know a little about something, so you know that the magazine you are reading could never write and post a comment on Metafilter.
posted by ambrosen at 1:23 PM on July 12, 2013


I don't love most of Mankoff's choices but I still love the New Yorker cartoons. Recent laugh out loud iterations include this one and, like the next link which was published right after Snowden's disclosures, I appreciate the frequent way they cut right to the bone.

Also, speaking of New Yorker humor, this is still one of the funniest videos ever.
posted by bearwife at 1:31 PM on July 12, 2013


I adore New Yorker cartoons. Here are some of my favorites.

I have been known to send emails with just the Saul Steinberg NO cartoon attached.

Because it's THAT good.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:48 PM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's horribly dated in its mock-sexism, now, but Ip Gissa Gul was a family favorite that hung on the fridge door forever -- and we still use "huppy dod" with our current dog.

I have another favorite that really resonated when I found out that my non-New-York residing family didn't get it, while even my short sojourn there made it instantly recognizable. I think a certain fraction of their cartoons have this somewhat poignant solipsism baked into them.

I didn't think as a whole that the Mankoff listed cartoons were bad, just maybe more typical than they were great. But the explanations were abysmal. Still, I don't know that that would make me judge his editorial selection more than the selection itself.

the old-style New Yorker cartoons where an independently fantastic drawing was part of the appeal

Well, the original cartoons weren't all that fantastic drawing-wise. And minimalist style has been there from the start, e.g. Arno. Yes, there are some great visual cartoonists in the magazine's history, but I don't think they were ever the actual typical cartoon.
posted by dhartung at 1:56 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's horribly dated in its mock-sexism, now, but Ip Gissa Gul was a

Um...anyone else getting a redirect to some Viagra webpage thing?
posted by phunniemee at 1:58 PM on July 12, 2013


I can't not like the cartoons. My parents usually got The New Yorker, and, of course, I loved the cartoons. I still do.

I do, however, hate the ads, if that helps.

Good luck, the whelk!
posted by theora55 at 2:12 PM on July 12, 2013


phunniemee, sorry about that, it continues to work fine for me. I only went there because that one hasn't always been on Cartoon Bank, but it seems to be now.

Ip Gissa Gul
posted by dhartung at 2:51 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bob has done really interesting work looking into the neuroscience of humor. Here's a 2005 video and a 2008 video from a conference I run, showing some cartoons while describing the research.
posted by mark7570 at 3:01 PM on July 12, 2013


I'm not sure why cartoons have to have social criticism. I think the problem with the people who don't enjoy New Yorker cartoons is that they don't have a sense of humour. They have a sense of vengeance instead.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:01 PM on July 12, 2013


That'd be a pretty scathing critique if the cartoons were really imaginative.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:06 PM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just find it funny that with Francoise Mouly as their art director, they have this schmuck as the cartoon editor. I hope it's just a case of her not having enough time. Because it seems that she'd be overly qualified for both jobs.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:23 PM on July 12, 2013


No Charles Addams. No Gahan Wilson.
George Booth

I'm kind of sad that only one person so far has mentioned Thurber.
posted by JHarris at 8:21 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


“This is a great cartoon, really, because the tortoise is laying on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, and even though it's beating its legs, it can't turn over.” says Mankoff, who adds musingly, "Not without the reader's help. And the reader is not helping."

In curating the submitting cartoons, he's very good at maintaining a consistent tone that never exceeds a particular emotional threshold in any direction. And never overpowers the text on the page or a facing page.

It's an extraordinarily small range to work in.

But I suppose he knows what he's doing.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:44 PM on July 12, 2013


Orpheus and Eurydice in Connecticut
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:31 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


As soon as one problem is solved...
posted by Paris Elk at 1:32 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have this one presently festooning one of my cubical's walls: Damn it Flopsy Ah ha ha!
posted by but no cigar at 3:38 PM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bruce Eric Kaplan is arguably my favorite cartoonist, and the one that Mankoff chose is nowhere near his best. This one, for starters.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:50 PM on July 13, 2013


Thurber, you heathens.
posted by Hogshead at 3:30 PM on July 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ha. I sold a cartoon to the New Yorker today.
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 AM on July 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ha. I sold a cartoon to the New Yorker today.


Admit it. You designed it from the outset to work with the "Christ, what an asshole." caption.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:46 AM on July 23, 2013


Hey, congratulations... that's awesome.
posted by COBRA! at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2013


No but it does work with it.

And it wasn't the one I totally cribbed from this thread.
posted by The Whelk at 9:51 AM on July 23, 2013


If it's an unsubtle jibe against Mankoff, I will sue!

Also, supercongrats!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:38 PM on July 23, 2013


And it wasn't the one I totally cribbed from this thread.

Though that one's in the works...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:38 AM on July 25, 2013


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