Thursday, December 29, 2005

Guess the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Winner (#31)

Marginally clever, but largely toothless describes the bulk of the finalists and nearly all of the winners of the The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest. Part of the problem is that you can't work blue. The New Yorker isn't going to print anything that has, say, the word "dickbag" in it, so you're hamstrung right out of the gate. Sure, some people can be funny without resorting to words like "dickbag," but those people are a)extremely rare and b)don't submit to the Caption Contest anyway.

The sad result of all this is that a typical submission reads like something your 60-year-old Aunt Bernice would find funny. You know, the same Aunt Bernice that still delivers a full belly laugh when she reads an Ogden Nash epigram.

I originally planned to do something along the lines of Daniel Radosh's Anti-Caption Contest to bring this to light, but was, alas, beaten to the punch.

A similarly poignant send-up can be found in this McSweeney's List.

I thought it would be fun and possibly entertaining to attempt to guess the winner. Now, by chance alone I should score 33% over time, as there are three finalists presented each week. To better gauge my performance I will also throw in a guess from a random number generator.

Surely I should be able to outperform a virtual dart-throwing monkey, right?

Ok, off to the races! Here are this week's submissions along with my deliberations (in red) and final guess. Feel free to keep score at home.

1. "If I'm not back at the maze by eight, my wife reels in the damn string."
Submitted by Lou Primus
Horsham, Pa.

In the land of the Caption Contest, brevity is king. Or something like that. What I'm trying to say is that if your caption is more than 10 words long, it better be really fucking funny. And this is not. It's a long-winded way of saying that you stayed awake at least one day in your freshman Greek mythology seminar.

2. "Don't tell me it's halftime already."
Submitted by Mark Swartz
Forest Hills, N.Y.

Concise, accessible, and resoundingly lame. I think we have a contender.

3. "If they ask for Ted's Stud Service, I'll take it."
Submitted by Lane Fike
Philadelphia, Pa.

The oblique reference to intercourse gives this one some valuable "edge." Don't rule it out.

Ok, here's the verdict,

Muk: #2
Random Number Generator: #3

Stay tuned for the winner, which I will announce sometime on or after 1/9/06 when The New Yorker posts the results.


At 2:55 PM, Blogger katy said...

Out of all the people who are desperate enough to play captions games ( these were the best three? No other good ones? At all? Halftime...really?

Is it just really cold at the New Yorker offices?

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Muk said...

Katy - all the captions suck. I'm just trying to get into the heads of the voters to see if I can predict the outcome. It's kind of a "which one sucks the least" thing.

It's actually kind of warm up here.


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