Splitsider

 
4

The New Yorker's Young Gun Cartoonists

Its parameters are tight: black and white. One square. One caption. It’s bare, and it’s simple. It doesn’t have dialogue or physicality or access to the infinite euphonic range of fart tones. It is the New Yorker cartoon, and despite its naked form in a culture of boundless multi-sense-stimulation, it remains a venue of high comedy.

If your impulse is to say that New Yorker cartoons are universally stuffy and unfunny, I understand. It’s okay. I was just like you once: dismissive, thought I knew everything about comedy, cursed a lot.

Then one day I got in a cab right after a man who resembled Jeff Goldblum—but richer—had exited. On the seat, he had left an issue of the New Yorker. I leafed through it. My eyes fell on a cartoon: a father in a swimming pool is talking to his kids who are standing on the edge. A shark is holding a gun to the man’s back. The caption: “Come on in kids, the water’s fine— just fine.” READ MORE