A Life in New Yorker Cartoons

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bob Mankoff, New Yorker Magazine cartoon editor, discusses his new book, How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons.


Bob Mankoff

Comments [32]


We have six New Yorker cartoons on the fridge, all by Roz Chast. I cannot upload images. Here's one: "Introducing MRS. DUMPTY Did it surprise me?no. His whole life, he took chances. The guy was an adrenaline junkie."

It's just hilarious.

Aug. 29 2014 05:53 PM
Ed from Manhattan

CARTOON CONTEST, maybe even a winner:
Two Godzillas devouring the city (what MUST BE Brooklyn); one says to the other, "Remember that time you made me laugh and people came out of my nose?"

May. 26 2014 11:04 AM

I had a New Yorker cartoon for years, until it got lost in a move. No caption, just a sad unicorn looking wistfully at Noah's Ark, off in the distance.

Mar. 25 2014 02:05 PM
Melissa from Hoboken

Two favorites: The Glen Baxter cartoon of two pith-helmeted explorers in a thick jungle staring at a sign that reads "Hoboken" - and the caption says, "On the third day out our morale was dealt a crushing blow." (that's how all our New York friends feel about crossing the Hudson). The other is for my colleagues in the PR field. Naked sinners lined up outside the mouth of Hell, and the sign over the entrance says "Abandon all hype, ye who enter here," with the caption, "PR hell" That one's actually a Mankoff! Love your work, Bob. You're a genius, with one of the best jobs in the world, and I love that you seem to appreciate that.

Mar. 25 2014 12:05 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I remember a long-ago Charles Addams cartoon of a boy walking down a city sidewalk w/his father past a garage-like opening w/a big vertical sign that says "PARK" & ends in an arrow pointing into the opening. The boy is staring in that direction, because he can see grass & tree trunks through there--the other kind of park.

Mar. 25 2014 12:00 PM

I have this cartoon on my fridge since 2003 .
Knights on horses overlooking olive grove:
"It's all about olive oil!"

Mar. 25 2014 11:58 AM
Nancy from CT

Two matronly women having tea while a determined cat on its haunches is drilling a hole in the leg of a table between them. The caption: "We had her de-clawed but she's still impossible." I love it especially because it was a birthday card that my husband and children gave me 20 years ago.

Mar. 25 2014 11:58 AM

"Ask not for whom the refrigerator hums.... it hums for thee."

two guys in heaven:
"So much for antioxidents"

Mar. 25 2014 11:58 AM
Karen from Chelsea

A dog looks up at his owner who is taking a photo of him saying,

"When you Instagram me, I feel cheap".

Mar. 25 2014 11:55 AM
Liz Reddick from Manhattan

On my fridge are two. "All the really good jobs are going to the good actresses" and "Texas dashboard holder" with a slot for pie.

Mar. 25 2014 11:54 AM
Andrea from NYC

"Looking good, feeling great and soon to be famous" (Koren)and of course, the fabulous " Fusilli, you crazy bastard! How are you?"

Mar. 25 2014 11:54 AM
Nora Rocket from Queens

Two favorites, one at work and one at home:

From Sipress, man sitting up in bed, wife stirring reluctantly: "I can't sleep. I think I'll get up and solve all my problems."

And my fave of all time: Two snails talking, looking at a tape dispenser: "I don't care, I love her!"

Mar. 25 2014 11:53 AM

Cartoon by Maslin

Therapist on chair with pad, on the couch is a turtle sticking his head out.

The therapist says, "That's a start!".

Helped me when I returned to work post-baby.

Mar. 25 2014 11:53 AM

Two satyrs at the mouth of a cave looking at the pouring rain.

caption: Ain't a fit night out for man and/or beast

Mar. 25 2014 11:53 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I like the one with the Obama's on the cover, he dressed in traditional Muslim garb and Michelle as a "Black Power" guerrilla with a fro...the left wing reaction was the first indication the POTUS not only doesn't have a sense of humor but didn't even understand the concept of "satire" and that he wasn't being satirized.

Mar. 25 2014 11:53 AM
C from Brooklyn

On my frig I have a cartoon signed by Sipress cartoon in which a few people are standing on a subway platform and an announcement is coming over the loudspeaker. The caption says, "Due to an incident at the Bergen Street station, everything has changed and nothing will ever be the same." Hilarious!

Mar. 25 2014 11:51 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

The NYer cartoon on my fridge is of a yarmulke-clad Jewish man saying to God, "I love your early work."

Mar. 25 2014 11:50 AM

It's a Roz Chast cartoon of a train engine saying "Get lost" and the caption says:

The little engine that could but just didn't feel like it.

And Danielle from Seattle: I remember that one too! Very funny!

Mar. 25 2014 11:49 AM

On my fridge: Mets player as Sisyphus.

Never get them: Bruce Kaplan.

Mar. 25 2014 11:49 AM
Mike J from Hell's Kitchen

Every month my wife and I submit "I like your tie" to the caption contest, regardless of the cartoon's content. Scoff if you want, but ONE DAY WE WILL WIN!

Mar. 25 2014 11:48 AM

On my computer at work: some oblivious person going about his day as usual, God with his finger poised over the Smite button.

Mar. 25 2014 11:48 AM
Larry from NYC-Manhattan

Regarding New Yorker cartoons -- I'm a professional church musician. My absolute favorite is "Excellent. Now the altos." That one has been passed around among my circle of musician friends many, many times!

Mar. 25 2014 11:47 AM
beth from princeton

On my fridge: dog and cat playing Scrabble. Caption: "Grrr is not a word". Love this! I play with my 13 year old niece and she is always trying to convince me that made-up words are words! Plus the second meaning of the frustration of playing the game sometimes!!

Mar. 25 2014 11:47 AM
Susan from Manhattan

Neither my boyfriend nor I got one in this last week's issue. It's a Gahan Wilson - two people standing behind a guy who seems to be near a closet. One of them is saying "Say something pompous". I have no idea what this is about and why the guy is near a closet.

Are there different editors? Sometimes, there will be an issue where I just don't get like 4 or 5 cartoons.

Mar. 25 2014 11:45 AM

On my fridge: "And just what are you planning to do with your stupid trans-dimensional one-way escape pod?".

Mar. 25 2014 11:45 AM
Danielle from Seattle

My favorite New Yorker cartoon shows two snails looking at a tape dispenser. The caption reads: "I don't care if she's a tape dispenser. I love her." I still laugh every time I see it. I even put it on a T-shirt.


Mar. 25 2014 11:44 AM

On my fridge: "And just what are you planning to do with your stupid trans-dimensional one-way escape pod?".

Mar. 25 2014 11:43 AM
Rudi from Queens

One of my favorite guides for developing or evaluating humor is one cited by Walt Disney: the "plausible impossible." His example was Mickey Mouse winding up a baseball pitch into such a spin that he rose into the air. Whatever the subject, if the cartoon isn't hitting on both adjectives, it's probably not as funny as it could be.

Mar. 25 2014 11:31 AM

It is hard for me to express how much I dislike the cartoons in the New Yorker (with the exception of Roz Chast, whose work I adore). Nobody I know finds them funny because the perspectives they present are exclusively those of 60+ year old, straight, white, sexist men. Ninety percent of these cartoons are like looking through a window into a 'Mad Men' pre-1970s past. Only white men work in offices. White women only discuss two topics: men and shopping. Non-white people do not exist. It must reassure Mr. Mankoff of his position in the world every time he approves another frame drawn by another old white man who looks and thinks just like he does. I wonder how many non-white cartoonists the New Yorker employs. I bet the number is zero. Beyond the walls of Mr. Mankoff's studio, there is a city where old school white guys aren't the only people who exist.

Mar. 25 2014 11:15 AM
carolita johnson from nyc

Hey, Bob! I have a great idea for a cartoon! A talking dog!

Mar. 25 2014 11:04 AM
Rudi from Queens

Who judges the back-page Cartoon Caption Contest? I once read that originally the thousands of submissions were screened by a 20-something hailing from Texas. Hardly the life experience to best assess a typical New Yorker's view. Sometimes the slate is great, sometimes the choices are unfathomable.

Bad enough that the winner is chosen by people from anywhere.

Every time a water main break hits the news, I'm reminded of contest #5, where a bank-president type carrying a surfboard is rushing past his secretary. One of the options was "Gotta reschedule. Water-main break on Seventh!"

It lost to an Oregoner's caption, "Tell my one-thirty things got way gnarly." Predictable out-of-character funniness, and hardly New Yorker.

Mar. 25 2014 10:44 AM
oona stern

New Yorker cartoon on my fridge:

A guy is walking with a stick on his head. In front dangles a carrot, behind dangles broccoli.

Mar. 25 2014 10:30 AM

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