Bob Mankoff

In his new memoir, Bob Mankoff recalls being an indifferent student who frequently cut class during college. Once, when he showed up in sociology class for the final exam, his professor asked “Who the hell are you?” Mankoff replied: “You know, I could very well ask you that same question.” Despite his slacking, Mankoff’s sense of humor served him well. He became a successful cartoonist, fulfilled his dream of getting published in the New Yorker and eventually became the cartoon editor at the magazine. Mankoff joins us to discuss his new memoir, “How About Never — Is Never Good for You? My Life in Cartoons.”

New Yorker Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff 1 May,2014forum

Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor for The New Yorker and author of "How About Never -- Is Never Good for You? My Life in Cartoons"

  • Guest

    @Bob Mankoff:
    What truths can you not speak in cartoons? I am reminded of the quote from George Orwell. “The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” Do you ever feel that you are at risk, as some cartoonists are as well as many other people in the media, of becoming a yes man? If Galileo were alive today, would you feel obliged to tell him the sun revolves around the Earth?

  • Jessica

    My father (Jewish, for what it’s worth!) always kept a file marked “humor.” Now I have one too, as well as a big notebook of cartoons I’ve snipped over the years, including lots from the New Yorker. Some of my favorites are by “BEK.” The very first cartoon in my book is his. It’s a man and a woman walking into their apartment, number 2B. The man is carrying a briefcase, and the woman is carrying a baby, who is facing out and frowning furiously. The baby’s thought bubble says, “Oh, great. Humble beginnings.”

  • Kathy Wright

    How did the Cartoon Caption Contest come to be?

  • Ben Rawner

    I always loved the New Yorker cartoons. My favorite was the Cover Cartoon of a map of the U.S. where basically all Of the US is just NY with a sliver of CA. My favorite cartoons are in playboy, similar to the New Yorker but more crass.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    The Seinfeld episode about Elaine not understanding a New Yorker cartoon deserves mention:

  • David Piff

    How about non-Jews telling jokes that Jews tell each other? Is that racist? For example, I found a great one in the Jerusalem Post years ago about three rabbis on a golf course

    comparing how liberal they were… Each one topping the other. All of this, of course, in the context of the “who is a Jew?” debate in Israel (I, a non-Jew, lived there at the time). When I told this joke to my family members, I was told it “might be” racist…

    • MiltonDValler

      Why racist? Religion is conflated with race as a device to shut down free expression. In the UK it’s so common it’s now part of the culture.

  • Pete

    A couple of tourists standing at a “scenic overlook” gazing down at an endless sea of tract houses. A large sign reads, “From this spot, as late as 1961, could be seen amber waves of grain.”

  • Janice

    Evidence points to the Mamet bit being a joke, not a cartoon. It may have first appeared in 1989 as dialogue in the film The Toxic Avenger Part II ( ).

  • Maria Smith

    I appreciate language learning experiences. The fact that i read so much, and so
    profoundly, demonstrates the high level of your English.

    english conjunction

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