Every issue, we publish a cartoon (drawn by New Yorker cartoonist Ben Schwartz) and ask our readers to caption it.
Over the years, our caption contest has grown into its own community. Some participants spend many hours in the comments section, swapping tips and offering feedback on each other’s entries. Others are quieter in public, but use our contest as fodder for friendly family rivalries.
We wanted to learn more about our most prolific participants—so we asked them about their love of contests, their approach to humor and the secret to the perfect caption.
“My brother and I ‘compete’ for the most wins and honorable mentions. We each submit separately and without input from the other. I show my brother my submissions—after the fact—and, when he spontaneously laughs in reaction, it makes my day. I can’t always wow the judges, but the instant feedback from my sibling is reward enough.”
“In general, you should try to keep the punchline at the end of the joke, try to keep it short and succinct and try to think of something that’s maybe not the most obvious caption to come up with. A little zing and zip helps.”
“I have to confess I don’t actually put actual work or much thinking in this enterprise, but instead rely on sudden spurts of inspiration. When the muse is kind and decides to smile or, better, laugh out loud. For the July/August 2017 cartoon, the first five entries in the contest were mine, all devised at a fast pace.”
A lifelong cartoon enthusiast, Nadler devotes a solid portion of his free time to entering cartoon caption contests and blogging about them. Attempted Bloggery details, among other personal notes and cartooning curiosities, every contest he has entered from The New Yorker to Moment.
5 thoughts on “Meet Our Caption Contest Contributors!”
They’re all solid competitors, very wise and very funny. Stephen is a bit conservative and waits until he has the perfect phrase. Adrian is a bit more daring, a wonderful strategist. Dale is a master of wordplay. It’s obvious that Dinah brings a rich, scholarly background to the table. It’s an honor to finish behind any of them.”
Bravo, Marvin! You embody all the wonderful traits you extol. Your humor is incisive without being cutting, compassionate without being cloying. You are a wonderful competitor, and you set the bar higher for everyone. Your ability to tell stories rivals your ability to caption creatively. One day I won’t be surprised to see a book of your writings. In a nutshell, you are what you preach, and that is the highest compliment one could pay to another!
NOW, you can CALL … NOW you can WRITE!!!
We are Puritan-e Hassidim and our Rebbe still holds that turkey is pareve.
Dear Gerald Lebowitz,
With great respect, thanks for the complement.
While TS Elliot is great, I am not even on the map . I am most influenced by Jewish liturgy and related musical endeavors since retiring from medicine.
Also, Stone’s caption was most witty and relevant.