“I hereby sentence you to six months at the Culinary Arts Academy.”
(by Rich Wolf)
My original caption: “Phooey! Guilty as charged! Lock him up and throw away the quiche!”
Hearty congratulations once again, Rich Wolf — this is your eleventh victory and, since you won in Contest No. 187, that makes two victories in a row. Will you be trying for three in a row? Very few people have done that. Come what may, right now you are indubitably one of the funniest people around.
I was mighty proud of my original caption, by the way. I drew the cartoon many decades ago. After it was rejected by Bob Mankoff at The New Yorker, I was sure it would be gobbled up by any one of the many “law” publications that I was selling to at the time. But the prestigious National Law Journal turned it down, and so did every one of the other “law” markets that I offered it to. That was when I finally came to the conclusion that Cartoon Editors don’t really appreciate puns, especially “groaners” like this one.
As a matter of fact, to put it into historical perspective, this is the cartoon on which I actually challenged Bob Mankoff’s snap rejection. This is how I remember it transpiring. There I was, in Mankoff’s New Yorker office, sitting across the desk from him as he reviewed my weekly batch of ten cartoon roughs. He was putting them into two obvious piles, those he was flatly rejecting and those he would “hold” to show to Editor-in-Chief David Remnick when they had their art conference. He picked up this cartoon, looked at it for a few seconds and flipped it over to put it right into the rejected pile. At that moment, I couldn’t restrain myself, and I blurted out something like, “I guess The New Yorker doesn’t like to publish such obvious puns, huh?” Mankoff was already inspecting my next cartoon, but my comment stopped him in his tracks. He jerked his head up, as if he didn’t understand what I meant, and flipped over the rejected cartoon to read the caption more carefully. He then put it right back into the rejected pile and said something like, “Well, not that one, anyway.” So that was it. I had challenged his snap decision and had lost. Case dismissed.
Here are the other captions submitted for this Contest that I was seriously considering for top honors:
“I find you guilty of impersonating a chef.” (by Michael Lomazow)
“It did not please the court.” (by Mark)
“You call yourself a chef? This food is a crime. LOCK HIM UP.” (by Diane)
“I find in favor of the plaintiffs; this food is indeed cruel and unusual punishment.” (by Sagie)
“The proof is in the pudding . . . Guilty as charged!” (by Kay Ralph)
Contest No. 189 will be up in due course, Captioneers. Thanks for keeping those funny captions coming.