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Pssst...Got A Good Caption For A New Yorker Cartoon?
February 11, 2002 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Pssst...Got A Good Caption For A New Yorker Cartoon? Because the winning entry in this year's caption jamboree isn't very funny. Neither are the other shortlisted suggestions. It may be up to The New Yorker's standards, but it's certainly not up to MetaFilter's...
posted by MiguelCardoso (25 comments total)

 
Here are the other entries, though I'd advise against reading them as they sidetrack the comic instinct something awful.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:12 AM on February 11, 2002


Boy, you would think sending an incorrectly punctuated caption to the New Yorker would earn you a ticket to to the roundfile. ("At what point does this become our problem.") NYer obligingly adds the question mark on the page Miguel links.

I vote, bah. But then, leaving out the funny has not kept all that many cartoons out of the magazine.
posted by luser at 7:17 AM on February 11, 2002


While I can't say I have a better caption, I rather liked this entry: "Then I got this strange compulsion - to secretly replace the power steering fluid we ordinarily use with Folgers Crystals."... What was funnier to me was the number of people who double-clicked the "Submit" button when they did their caption. There's no escaping the double-post.

For those whose appetites have been whetted for silly diversions like this, may I recommend a pretty good caption game from Australia that has consumed my time for the past year -- Funnypics by Jeb.
posted by bcwinters at 7:20 AM on February 11, 2002


Au contraire....it's hilarious.

Maybe it loses something in translation....the New Yorker specializes in subtlety in its humor.
posted by bunnyfire at 7:22 AM on February 11, 2002


My two cents:

"Augghhh. Enough with the NASCAR fans already!"
posted by MAYORBOB at 7:36 AM on February 11, 2002


"Matt says it's a circle jerk."
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:41 AM on February 11, 2002


Maybe it loses something in translation....

Miguel was reading it in english, bunny. No translation necessary. He speaks it better than most of us monolingual brutes.

As for the caption? I've seen better. I'm still in pre-coffee mode, so I won't even attempt it myself. Maybe later.
posted by jpoulos at 7:44 AM on February 11, 2002


I like (and subscribe to) the New Yorker, but their cartoon quality has been flagging lately. One notable exception: Gahan Wilson. I remember his cartoons when he did them (and spot illustration) for Twilight Zone magazine. Some fantastic stuff.
posted by UncleFes at 7:46 AM on February 11, 2002


Well the point is still english is not his mother tongue.
So what if this isnt rotfl funny. Sometimes a subtle witticism can be just what the doctor ordered....like a fine wine instead of boone's farm strawberry......
posted by bunnyfire at 7:52 AM on February 11, 2002


I go with Boone's every time, don't knock it. Carlo Rossi is yummy too.
posted by rocketman at 8:05 AM on February 11, 2002


I don't drink myself-unless you count a little sip of scuppernong wine at my parents' house...yum....but I digress....

point, anyway, is there are different levels of humor-surely we can agree we don't have to judge them by the same yardstick.
(Oh how it pains me to disagree with my portuguese evil twin-but I must....)
posted by bunnyfire at 8:21 AM on February 11, 2002


"Did I miss anything?"
posted by dydecker at 8:35 AM on February 11, 2002


And who doesn't delight in the gentle caress of a good scuppernong occasionally? Many's the night I've woken up upside down in the bathtub after one too many trips round the dance floor with Madame scuppernong. Hoo!
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:42 AM on February 11, 2002


I remember his cartoons when he did them (and spot illustration) for Twilight Zone magazine.

He had a cartoon in each issue of F&SF for years back in the 80s. Were the first thing I flipped to every month.
posted by rushmc at 9:10 AM on February 11, 2002


Boy, you would think sending an incorrectly punctuated caption to the New Yorker would earn you a ticket to to the roundfile

Actually, it looks like this is a New Yorker error by whoever tacked the caption to the cartoon. They have it correct in one place and incorrect in the other. The entries page carries all entries verbatim (including some from folks who put their name, e-mail address and phone number in the wrong field). If you search for the winner, it comes up as having been submitted as: "At what point does this become *our* problem?" Alas, even the NYer is getting sloppy.
posted by beagle at 10:07 AM on February 11, 2002


I like this submission the best: "Of course, in the southern hemisphere, he'd be going the other way around."
posted by kindall at 10:30 AM on February 11, 2002


actually, i think earl wang should have won...
posted by boogah at 10:31 AM on February 11, 2002


I agree with kindall -- much funnier.
posted by briank at 12:05 PM on February 11, 2002


Maybe it's just my crass nature, but I've never understood the humor of New Yorker cartoons (beyond the "Everyone's a Dog" one). I guess I need my humor to more hit me over the head like Mad magazine than a genteel New Yorker style.
posted by owillis at 12:13 PM on February 11, 2002


Actually, owsills, after hearing the joke about a billion times, I believe the line is, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." But your reading is just about as funny and insightful.
posted by macrone at 12:39 PM on February 11, 2002


"Maybe you should give up trying to steer with your dick, Bendy Pete."

or something along these lines, put more smoothly
posted by EngineBeak at 12:52 PM on February 11, 2002


Wasn't there a Seinfeld episode that involved Cartoon Captions in the New Yorker???
posted by da5id at 1:25 PM on February 11, 2002


da5id: Yes. Elaine upbraids a New Yorker editor for publishing a cartoon whose caption makes no sense, and in the process talks her way into submitting some cartoons of her own on spec. (Kramer and Jerry hold their own "caption contest" on her first effort.) She winds up plagiarizing Ziggy.
posted by macrone at 2:02 PM on February 11, 2002


My teacher sent one in and was mad it didn't make it:

"Hey Ted, you didn't tell me we had a circle drive"
posted by geoff. at 5:16 PM on February 11, 2002


Well, the NYer always did go for droll rather than LOL funny. I do suspect in the Shawn years they might have gone with the more subtle one that kindall liked. You may not realize it, but the cartoonist doesn't always submit a caption -- or if he does, it isn't necessarily used.

I have a favorite cartoon they published years ago, shortly after I'd been living there. It was a chic woman in capri pants reading on her chaise, her Ben-Stiller-esque husband annoyedly perusing a sheet of paper. Behind him you could see his gadgeted-up home office. The caption was I was afraid of this -- a Chinese menu just came in on our fax.

Swipe the text here for the explanation:
See, in New York, the Chinese restaurants relentlessly advertise by slipping one-sheet menus underneath doorways, sneaking and even bribing their way into secure buildings. You'll hear a quick swoosh as it comes in, or step on it as you enter. And 5 to 1 it's Chinese, despite the preponderance of other cuisines.

I actually simply chuckled on first reading it. Of course! Then my Dad confessed that he didn't get it at all. This astounded me, and then, I began to guffaw. It was funnier because it was such an exclusive type of joke. Ten years on, I still love it.

The truth is, a lot of them are -- or used to be -- like that, dependent on stereotypes and prejudices of Upper West Side degreed professionals who all attend the same cocktail parties and seminars at the 92nd Street Y (which is actually a YMHA, not a YMCA -- a good bar bet).

By the way, I think Roz Chast continues to be spot-on.
posted by dhartung at 11:08 PM on February 11, 2002


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