Thank you all who participated in this last week’s caption contest. Unfortunately, our humor flashmob failed to produce a winning cartoon.

But this is good. Those participating in this caption contest are getting a taste of what it’s like to be a New Yorker magazine contributor. Most of the time, the answer is ‘no’. But, actually that’s a good thing. It raises the bar and forces you to dig deeper, which produces better results. And results matter.

In his memoir, How About Never, New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff relates a story about staff cartoonist Jack Ziegler, who was having a dry spell. He hadn’t sold a cartoon for months and asked the cartoon editor at the time, Lee Lorenz, why this was so. Lee’s reply: “It’s hard to sell to The New Yorker.”

And so by extension, it’s hard to write for The New Yorker. Even harder than selling because you have to write 10 for every 1 you sell. And that’s if you sell every week. If you sell every couple of months, it’s more like 80 to 1.

Here was the original caption for the cartoon:


And a final thought from Mort Gerberg: