While the tagline for this blog is “One blogger’s appreciation of beauty in all its guises”, most of my posts have addressed pieces of music and art and I’ve contributed only one entry to the “Beauty in Laughter” category; today, I’ll add a second.
It occurred to me recently that it will be ten years (!!) ago this week that I flew to Los Angeles to be a contestant on Jeopardy!, fulfilling a dream that dated back to the days of a Brylcreemed Art Fleming. So it was a bit of a karmic moment when this cartoon by the inimitable Roz Chast popped up in my Instagram feed yesterday.
The cartoon originally appeared in The New Yorker‘s December 8, 2008 issue, just over two months after the Dow’s late September nosedive ushered in the Great Recession. It was a time of national angst and uncertainty, feelings that are, perhaps, even more apt today, what with the coronavirus pandemic, a floundering economy, racial strife, and an increasingly unhinged, orange-skinned individual in the Oval Office. I myself have had several nights of insomnia over the last several months, though my Insomnia Jeopardy categories are different (“I’ll take ‘Will Trump Win Wisconsin Again?!?’ for $600, Alex!”).
I’ve been a regular reader of The New Yorker for about 30 years now, and the cartoons are always a source of amusement. That several strokes of a pen coupled with some well-chosen words can be such a genuine source of delight is a wonderful thing. With the hope that they’ll elicit a smile or maybe even a guffaw or two, here are some favorites from over the years.
I’ve opened with Chast and I’ll close with Chast. Her 2014 graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? won a National Book Critics Circle Award and was shortlisted for the National Book Award. It’s her account of caring for her aging parents and she manages to immerse the reader in both hilarity and heartbreak on nearly every page.