Bob Mankoff is the long-time cartoon editor of the New Yorker magazine, notorious for the quirky and sometime inscrutable nature of its humor. In this TED talk, he tries to explain what kind of cartoon he thinks fits within the framework of that magazine. Analyzing humor and what makes people laugh is a decidedly difficult proposition but it is a little easier to do with cartoons and Mankoff gives a highly entertaining effort.
At the 6:55 mark, Mankoff discusses a cartoon involving three fish. I think that cartoon captures our current society perfectly but it is a very old one. I recall remembering it about thirty years ago but did not know where I had seen it, so I drew it again on a computer and stuck it on my wall. I was glad to finally discover the source.
At the 7:20 mark, Mankoff discusses his own view about religion and says that “all the fights between religion is about who has the best imaginary friend.” So true.
The TV show Seinfeld had a funny bit about the inscrutability of some New Yorker cartoons.
Cartoonist Ted Rall thinks that the cult of the New Yorker cartoons as being some kind of humor pinnacle is actually harmful to the genre.