Recaptioning New Yorker cartoons with "Christ, what an asshole!"

Charles Lavoie presents compelling evidence that practically every New Yorker cartoon can be captioned with "Christ, what an asshole!" without reducing its comedy value.

How "Christ, What an Asshole!" is the Answer to the New Yorker Magazine Caption Contest (via Making Light)


  1. This also works with nearly every Garfield cartoon. Ignore all dialogue and thought bubbles. In the last frame, someone or something is saying, “Christ, what an asshole.”

    1. It’s called ‘retooning’. Grab the funny pages, hit them with the pencil eraser and then rewrite the caption. Highly amusing.

      Re: Garfield – this is also amusing.

      “Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.”

      1. I’ve seen that. I can’t read those, because I don’t find them funny – they actually depress me…

  2. Another good punch line that works with some of the contest items is “Now where’s that Eskimo woman I gotta wrestle?” (you can google that phrase to find the original joke)

  3. A friend of mine kept submitting a simple “Marmaduke!” as the caption. Never got accepted to my knowledge, but then again I rarely look at the magazine, much less the comics.

  4. This would be a lot funnier if it was original – but this idea sprouted among readers of The Comics Curmudgeon about two years ago. Not sure which one of those very funny people came up with it, though.

  5. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with the New Yorker. Harold Ross was a racist asshole, and I feel the writing is still very snobbish and condescending, especially to Italian Americans. Some of the reporting is first rate, and I enjoy some of the fiction, but overall I feel like I’m not the person they’re writing for.

    1. “the writing is still very snobbish and condescending, especially to Italian Americans”

      Can you give an example or two?

  6. “…without reducing its comedy value.”

    Only because they had so little in the first place.

  7. I have been working on a similar idea–taking a bunch of my cartoons and recaptioning all of them with “Honey, you shouldn’t have.” Seems to work for the New Yorker pieces too.

  8. Try captioning them all with “Death begins in the colon.” Then Google “Mark Newgarden.”

  9. I suggest my favourite:

    “You obviously haven’t traveled much.” works for any situation!

  10. mundens #4 … its not that they are calling christ a asshole just sounds like they are calling him an asshole …. kinda like, christ , your a dumbass …. wich is funny .. because christ isnt the dumbass you are … does it click now …. i love the comedy of the new yorker

  11. My only objection is that Gahan Wilson’s particularly macabre brand of humor needs no accentuation.

  12. Besides being anti-Italian and not being funny, and besides the fact that some of the sensitive Italians in my peripheral vision are given to reading magazines not written fr them, I love the NYer, loved it more when Mr. Shawn ran it, and wish to hell that Peter DeVries was here to vett the cartoons instead of the frigging committee currently in charge. But some of them are still pretty darned good. As to Gahan Wilson, he is the master whose cartoon of the kid sliding up the slide was the cover piece of a cartoon collection in paperback in the fifties. Sometimes I think he s cartooning from a grave next to Charles Adams’s.

  13. Taking the claim literally, I do agree. Re-captioning these “New Yorker” cartoons doesn’t reduce their value. But that’s only because it’s so difficult to generate negative humor from such bland drawings.

  14. A genuinely useful thread! Here’s the list so far:

    Anon @2: “Can I go now?”
    phelps @5: “Now where’s that Eskimo woman I gotta wrestle?”
    Anon @6: “Marmaduke!”
    Anon @11: “Save it for your blog.”
    Eric Knisley @13: “Honey, you shouldn’t have.”
    princeminski @14: “Death begins in the colon.”
    Anon @16: “You obviously haven’t traveled much.”
    grikdog @19 “What have you done with Dr. Asshole?”
    cleek @21/ShimmyCat: “It’s the only way I could get my health insurance to pay for it.”
    citykids @27: “My wife is a slut!”

  15. Dean Booth provides a valuable service by mirroring the NYCC and letting readers submit their captions. Not only do we get to see every submission (and not just the three that the New Yorker finds worthy), but one of Dean’s commenters just won the actual NYCC. If I recall correctly, they wouldn’t have entered but for the encouragement they got there.

    Dean tags his caption contests, so it’s possible to go back and read the last few. I’m in there (and at the Comics Curmudgeon) as “Muffaroo.” Actually, I’m “[Old Man] Muffaroo” at the CC now, because some misguided souls there think Muffaroo is a chick’s name, sadly ignorant of the name’s honored history.

  16. I thought of two more, and can still remember one:
    “I was not always as you see me now.”

  17. You could pick out cartoons from any image licensing database (not just from the New Yorker), and this same premise would apply. Sites like offer similar cartoon humor, and that same gagline would apply….so I am not convinced this concept is anything new or unusual.

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