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Gaming the New Yorker's Cartoon Caption Contest

by Jake Mohan 


Tags: New Yorker, Slate, Patrick House, cartoons,

nyersPatrick House, a recent winner of the New Yorker’s cartoon captioning contest, shares the secrets of his success in Slate. His approaches range from the academic (employing the “theory of mind”) to the pragmatic (lobbying friends and colleagues to vote for his entry online). But it’s most important, House argues, to always keep in mind the urbane brand of (non-)humor the magazine’s cartoons specialize in—a comic sensibility that always elicits a light chuckle, never a hearty guffaw. “You are not trying to submit the funniest caption,” he reminds us, “you are trying to win The New Yorker's caption contest.” As for me, I’ve always preferred this all-purpose caption.

Image courtesy of swanksalot, licensed under Creative Commons.