Mankoff did not disappoint. How often do you get to sit through a PowerPoint slide show that doesn’t put you to sleep? Not often.
He had some interesting things to say about a lot of stuff, including the New Yorker’s post-9/11 cartooning. The editors decided to publish cartoons again in the second edition after the tragedy, believing that if you choose to rejoin the human parade, then you have to buy into the jokes, too. One of the first: A man and a woman at a bar. The woman says, “I thought I’d never laugh again, and then I saw your jacket.”
But this one’s my favorite.
He also revealed a couple of anecdotes about famous people, not cartoonists, trying to sell cartoons to the magazine, for what reason I’m not sure although I guess if you’re Norman Mailer, it’s another scalp for your bag. (His cartoons were rejected; they were not “what we call, ‘good.'”) And he said some interesting things about the creative process, and showed the evolution of several artists’ work over the decades. The most interesting? Charles Addams’. He went through a naked-lady phase, it seems.
I asked him about a cartoon from a couple years ago: A man is getting dressed after a physical exam, and his doctor is pulling off the latex gloves. The man asks, “Does this make me your bitch?” He said if he had it to do over again, he wouldn’t have run that one. And it made Alan laugh out loud!
Bonus: As things were breaking up, I was interviewed by a reporter for the Michigan Daily, who, helped by his notes, will probably do a better job telling the story than I just did.