The New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest
If there's one thing we've learned from The New Yorker cartoon caption contest it's that it's really hard to write a funny cartoon caption. Each week we see something like this, or this, or this, or this and we think, if these won, how awful could the losing captions have been?
That's why we've decided to create a new, parallel contest that plays to people's strengths. Introducing the unauthorized New Yorker cartoon anti-caption contest. Every Monday at radosh.net, you'll be invited to submit the worst possible caption for the new uncaptioned cartoon in that week's New Yorker. The fun begins now. [Update: Click here for contest index with current contest at the top.]
Submit your terrible captions in the comments section. The winner (chosen by me) gets a round of applause and a link in next week's post. Here are some of my own suggestions to get you in the mood:
"Would the owner of the giant truck please get it the fuck off my stage."
"Hey, there's a big fucking truck on the stage."
"Nice parking job, asshole."
"Flames on a monster truck? Could you be more trite?"
"Are you not entertained?"
"Well apparently someone out there finds the juxtaposition of classical music and monster trucks inherently hilarious, perhaps due to the class differences between aficionados of each form of entertainment, or perhaps simply because they think it's funny to see snooty musicians crushed under five-foot tires."
Update: Results after the jump.
"There is a man pinned under this truck who requires immediate medical assistance. Someone please call for an ambulance. Please, before it's too late." Pareene
"In order to ensure continued NEA funding, compromises had to be made... What? Oh, no, I don't mean to say that had anything to do with the monster truck showing up stage. That wasn't the 'compromise' I was referring to. I have no idea at all what the monster truck is doing here. The 'compromise' I was referring to was sucking off several members of the Congressional appropriations committee in a dirty truck stop bathroom." C-Murder
"It's serendipitous that my B.M. is medium-to-dark grey, so you can't really tell that I totally shit myself when that truck drove onto the stage." Corey Anderson
I knew this was going to be fun. I didn't know it was going to be so hard. How do you choose a winner (or is that loser?) when so many people have so many great ideas for terrible captions? All of the submissions below were in the running. I've categorized them as a way of explaining my decision-making process.
Pareene's winning entry was my favorite example of my favorite type of caption: the pure anti-joke. Like his, the entries below were all so carefully not funny that they became hilarious. Pareene got the edge for taking it a step further, making it not just not funny, but tragic, and therefore especially hilarious. Here in no particular order are the other anti-jokes I liked a lot.
"Ladies and gentlemen, a large 'monster'-type SUV has somehow driven over the chairs and music sheet stands of our quartet yet they have escaped harm. The driver is not present. Additionally, apparently I am a conductor of a quartet. Do quartets have conductors? I am not sure." Timmy CoughDrops
"I'm going to play music on a violin for you. I like to play violin and have been trained for years to play it in public, which I have done many times before. Forgive my lengthy introduction; Dr. Schoenstein says I am a narcissist. I agree. But I also say 'F-ck you Dr. Judy Schoenstein.' At any rate, up first, excerpts from 'Concierto de Estio' by Rodrigo." TG Gibbon
"Ladies and gentlemen, if you'll just hold on a minute, I need a moment alone with my gay partner." anno-nymous
"What is this, some kind of joke?" anno-nymous
"Oh shit, a truck has crushed our chairs! I guess we will play standing up." Pat Broderick
"Wow, did you guys see that? Wow!" Pat Broderick
"I asked someone to drive that truck onstage to get your attention so I could make an announcement. I have terminal brain cancer." wendy
"Blah blah blah, I'm a fancy fiddle player." Jim Treacher
"My, my, that was definitely fucked-up. I'm gay, by the way." tim ferguson
"NOW how are we supposed to play our classical music concert?" copyranter
A few readers opted to create a bad caption by apparently thinking about what the New Yorker would actually use, and then creating worse variations of snooty highbrow allusions and irrelevant topical references. Finalist C-Murder starts out with this approach, and then drops a lovely misdirection to put it over the top. Similarly:
"Judy Miller warned us about this." The Confidence Man
Thank you for attending tonight's performance of "Threnody for the victims of the Red States." michael
"... and Loge seats E12 and E13, you have won two T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan, 'A monster truck demolished the New York Philharmonic, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.' I am sorry to inform you, however, that, due to NEA cutbacks, the T-shirts are a poly-cotton blend, rather than all cotton. They are also saturated with avian flu germs." The Confidence Man
"Hi, I am barrister Peter Obi (Esq) from Lagos, Nigeria and I am here to deliver your $35 million inheritance from your late uncle Engr.Steve Moore a national of Isle of Man in UK, who used to work with Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) in Nigeria. It's in the back of my truck." mr. pickycapellit
Another approach was to make this a cartoon about New Yorker cartoons. I enjoyed all of these, but given that almost any of them could be used for almost any cartoon, none of them made the final cut.
"Fusilli, you crazy bastard! How the heck are you?" M
"Truckzilla, you crazy bastard! How the hell are you?" TMFTML
"This would make a really funny New Yorker cartoon." Pareene
"Would you laugh harder if we were cats or dogs?" michael
"All right, have it your wayyou heard a seal bark!" implied otter
"It was supposed to be a clown car. Yes, I understand that still wouldn't have made any sense." C-Murder
Some people interpreted "bad captions" to mean "bad jokes," and came up with these dreadful groaners. I have to say, this is my least favorite type of entry, but I'm sure some folks enjoy them, so don't let that stop you:
"Let the 'Monster Mash-up' begin!" Matty Matt
"And now we present Beethoven's Fourth -- or, Beethoven in Fourth Gear." jason
"Hey, we asked for a conductor, not a conTRUCKtor!" molly
"Dude! Where's my...Carnegie Hall!" Zebra
"Oh, Wreckhmaninov is NEXT week? Sorry." clint
"Rectum? Hell, it nearly killed him." nagel
Finally, we have a handful of entries that made me laugh but that I couldn't in good conscience award a prize because they are too authentically funny. I fully expect lamer versions of some of these jokes to be finalists in the actual New Yorker contest. That said, please continue to submit funny jokes if you think of them. Man does not live on irony alone, you know.
"And now, AFTERNOON! AFTERNOON! AFTERNOON! Of a FAUN! FAUN! FAUN!" Francis
Similarly: "Sunday! Sunday!! Sunday!!! At Lincoln Center." jim
"Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize. Apparently Philip Glass is going through a bit of a midlife crisis." Francis
"Well, we practiced driving this monster truck through the wall of Carnegie Hall for many years, and it finally worked." Francis
"Fucking Kronos Quartet had it coming." cinetrix
"You monsters! Hasn't Itzhak Perlman suffered enough?" cinetrix
"You know Yo-Yo Ma, he just has to make a grand entrance." 773