Sunday, June 03, 2007
Fun times with Bob Mankoff
Bob Mankoff gave a very interesting talk today at the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of their Steinberg exhibit. The talk was held in the lovely new auditorium apparently buried under the former courtyard. Mr. Mankoff talked about Steinberg's early cartoons for the New Yorker (which can be seen on the Complete New Yorker Cartoons cd), Steinberg's influence on his early work, and the nature of gag cartoons and humor. Mankoff said that the Caption Contest gets about 10,000 entries per week and showed a slide of how he and his assistants break up the entries to make sense of them. He had a lot of interesting points to make, and the working cartoonists I was sitting with, AAEC head Rob Rogers, Matt Wuerker, Nick Galifianakis and Richard Thompson all seemed engaged. I certainly was, but I'm not a professional cartoonist.
Crawford cartoon to illustrate the nature of humor.
Some of the 10,000 entries to the New Yorker Cartoon Contest sorted into categories.
Sample page of Cartoon Bank database.
Afterwards Mr. Mankoff signed books including the New Yorker Book of Art Cartoons. In the accompanying pictures (below), Warren Bernard gets confirmation that four books is the complete set of Mankoff books, and gets them all signed at one fell swoop. Mankoff said that he didn't even have copies of them all anymore.
The rain started in earnest so Rob Rogers invited Mr. Mankoff to the museum's cafe with us and we had a fun hour hearing stories of the New Yorker, and talking shop. Matt stood us all to drinks, and Rob picked up the chips - thanks guys! One point Mankoff did make was that by animating cartoons, the Cartoon Bank could pick up new sponsors like Lexus - here's an example that Richard found.
Rob Rogers, Matt Wuerker, Bob Mankoff, Richard Thompson and Nick Galifianakis talking in the museum lobby after the booksigning.
Rob Rogers forcibly suggests that Bob Mankoff might not want to go out in that rain.
The last two photos are everyone in the cafe. Richard's in the blue denim shirt, Nick's in blue shirt with long hair, Matt's in the brown jacket, Rob's in the dark blue jacket and Bob Mankoff's in the suit. This was a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday. Matt wrote down the best epigraphs from the talk, and hopefully one of the others will flesh out this entry a bit.