cartoons made here

A couple years ago, I won The New Yorker cartoon caption contest (#273). I got a signed copy of the cartoon and everything. It's pretty much my favorite piece of randomness to drop whenever I meet anyone and they say, Tell me something interesting about you! (I know. Sort of pathetic. Whatever.)

Anyway, last week, I (along with several other contest winners) got an email from Robert Mankoff, the cartoon editor for The New Yorker:

Hi, Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor here. First, congratulations on winning the contest. It's not easy. Just ask the late Roger Ebert. And, if he answers please tell me, because I'll quickly renounce my atheism. The reason I'm emailing you all is that I would like to create a crowdsourcing group that can help me with research I do into the psychology of humor as a member of the International Society of Humor Studies ( . It will mainly involve surveys looking at cartoons and sometimes rating them and sometimes providing your own captions to them. It has nothing to do with anything editorial that goes on at The New Yorker. 

If you would like to help me out with this just reply with the subject line "Yes", to this email and I'll put you on the list. If you decide yes and then want off just email me and I'll take you off. If you're wondering if this is actually from me just ask me to send you your winning caption and that will prove it. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for entering the caption contest. 

All the best, 

Bob Mankoff, Cartoon Editor.


I replied in the affirmative, because how fun, right? And a few days ago, he sent another email, containing a massive list of captions to be reverse-engineered into cartoons. I just did a few right now and sent them back over to him to make sure it's what he has in mind before I spend too much more time on it. But it's really fun, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites. The captions he sent are italicized; my envisioned cartoons are beneath:

Did you ever hear back with an estimate from the plumber? 

A couple and their three small children are in the bathroom of their home. The husband stands in the shower, soaping himself, while the three children spray him with water guns. Meanwhile, his wife sits at a vanity applying makeup.

I have the strangest feeling I left the tub running. 

A couple (seen from behind) sits in a movie theater. The scene on the screen depicts a reenactment of the flood of Genesis, with Noah herding animals into the ark.

You never take me anywhere!

A couple sits in a gondola at the bottom of a Ferris Wheel; a group of attendants is poring over some mechanical problem, and one is putting up a "Closed For Repair" sign while turning approaching would-be riders away.

No, Martha, I don't have a plan for retirement. Why do you ask? 

An elderly man in an old-fashioned pinstriped suit and paper hat stands beside a small, vintage-looking ice cream cart. He looks down at a little girl to whom he's handing a cone. Behind him, a pair of workers is mounting a massive "COMING SOON: 38 FLAVORS GOURMET GELATO" banner on the front of a large shop.

Do you suppose the Johnsons will mind if we drop by this afternoon?

A pair of rabbits stands next to a hole beside a crude wooden sign reading "The Johnsons"; behind them, gun-toting hunters and a pack of dogs bear down.

It sure feels good to be able to relax after a busy day at work!

A pair of beavers sits relaxing at the side of their new dam; just upstream, the devastation from their woodchopping efforts is wreaking havoc for all the other animals.

Do you suppose there's enough change in the cushions to get a cab ride home?

A pair of young men lounge on a sectional in a furniture store, in front of a TV showing the final score of a basketball game. The store owner stands to the side, with his arms crossed and glaring.


Now if I could just get paid to sit around and do this all day.