This being the end of the traditionally news-less week (for New Yorker cartoons and cartoonists) leading up to the new year, I thought why not dedicate today’s post to the New Yorker‘s Caption Contest. Last time I checked, the contest had reached its 644th offering (with a windmill drawing by Bob Eckstein).
Background: every time I’ve been involved in a New Yorker event (usually a panel discussion) the contest comes up in the Q&A. The most frequently asked multi-part question is: How does it work? Did the cartoon originally have a caption? Do you (the cartoonists) get to judge?
Here’s how it works (from the cartoonists perspective). The cartoons used in the contest are taken out of the weekly batches submitted by the magazine’s cartoonists. Sometimes the selected cartoon has a caption that is (obviously) stripped from the cartoon. Sometimes the submitted cartoon has no caption (I sometimes submit captionless cartoons just for the hell of it to see what caption entrants might come up with. Here’s one example.). The cartoonists have no say in the process of selecting the winning captions.
There’s a new celebrity video posted by The New Yorker featuring the actors John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell trying their hands/minds at captioning a bunch of cartoons:
For the record, the cartoons are (in order of appearance) by P.C. Vey, Kaamran Hafeez, Tom Toro, Tom Cheney, a second by P.C. Vey, and the final two are by Liam Walsh. I again encourage the folks in charge of these videos to have the celebs identify the cartoonists, or at least identify the cartoonists names in full somewhere on the screen.
Here’s a story about a fellow who won a recent contest (the drawing at issue is by yours truly…and ouch, the drawing takes a few hits). From the Wickedlocal.com, “‘It is I, Manbunzal’: Melrose Resident Alan Leo Wins The New Yorker Caption Contest”
Here’s a Facebook group dedicated to the contest: New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Rejects (and Enthusiasts). Enter all those bolded words in the search box and presto: you have an instant caption contest community.
Very Old News: everyone interested in the contest probably already has or decided not to have this book that came out in 2008.