Roger Ebert wins New Yorker caption contest
April 27th, 2011
03:52 PM ET

Roger Ebert wins New Yorker caption contest

A big thumbs up to Roger Ebert—the film critic has finally won the cartoon-caption contest in the New Yorker.

"I have entered the New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest almost weekly virtually since it began and have never even been a finalist," Ebert noted on his Chicago Sun-Times blog two years ago.

"It's not that I think my cartoon captions are better than anyone else's, although some weeks, understandably, I do," the film critic said. "It's that just once I want to see one of my damn captions in the magazine that publishes the best cartoons in the world. Is that too much to ask?"

No, it's not.

"To the delight of film fans, film criticism fans, caption contest fans, and Roger Ebert fans—and count me among all of the above—Mr. Ebert has finally fulfilled his quest to win the New Yorker caption contest," editor Robert Mankoff wrote in this week's issue.

The cartoon depicts a man and a woman who have been trekking through the desert with shopping bags, trying to find where they parked their car. The woman appears to be speaking to the man as they stand under a sign with a letter "F" on top.

"I'm not going to say the word I'm thinking of," Ebert wrote as her caption.

After congratulating Ebert, Mankoff clarified that he actually entered the contest 107 times before finally winning for cartoon No. 281. But, Mankoff added, "I see he has entered contest No. 282, so stay tuned."

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. New Yorker fan

    Another New Yorker comic showed a man cutting down every tree on every hillside with a chainsaw for miles, with a few more to go, and Ebert's entry caption was (paraphrasing) "I just hate you." HAHAHAHAHAHA! I thought he won for that one! I hope he does, You do have to have a wry sense of humor to understand their comics.

    April 28, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. Weasel

    Eat it Vincent Gallo!!!!

    April 28, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Low brow

    I give that lame attempt 2 thumbs WAY down. The other entries must have really sucked.

    April 28, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Fbomb

    "I know...I just farted too."

    April 28, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob DiPasquale

    Hi. Bob DiPasquale, self proclaimed caption contest expert here. While I've won Dave Lettermen's online Top 10 contest three times, my continued cracks at the New Yorker always seem to fall short too. I'm an application developer by day, and I approached the New Yorker years ago on how to run a better caption contest. I think it may have been Mr Mankoff himself that agreed my idea had some merit Alas, he passed though, so I built a web site where members both judge and submit. Every caption gets ranked, and you truly learn how funny you are. I don't have the resources yet to reach the quality found at the New Yorker's contest, but I could at least tell Roger what his HumorQ is. You'll have to be clever to find the site I guess. No spamming here in the comments section.

    April 28, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • anon

      A disaster of a website.

      April 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob DiPasquale

      It would be a disaster if lots of rude people joined, but while it's true our coding could use some tweaking, our mission is on target, and we have the beginnings of something great.

      April 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. R Prior

    That is 1% creative,1% witty and 98% not funny. No way that was the best submission. Wait..are they supposed to be funny?

    April 28, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lanny

    Really? That's funny? Lame.

    April 28, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. Evelina Knivel

    Honey,can you get off the marquee blog & help our dear baby!!Please get off that computer so I can take you to the crazy docter!!CNN does replace your family!!

    April 28, 2011 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. zoundsman

    "Best cartoons in the world?" I'll have to agree. I never picked an issue off the rack without chuckling at
    a killer toon. They're in a class by themselves. Congrats Rog, funny (witty) caption.

    April 28, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. tara saunders

    his wife's name is Chaz and she is a Judge in Illinois. I think that she has her own money, and more importantly, she loves him. She took "for better or worse" literally...more of us should do that. Congrats Roger!

    April 28, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Thank you, but you didn't need to answer the idiot who thought that money is the only thing a woman wants.

      April 28, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. jj

    He has a blog, too. It's generally great, and at times incredible. Even the comments are worth reading! HIGHLY recommended.

    April 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. teresa whisnant

    please let producers know the last book of the Bible is Revelation not Revelations it would be nice if they would educate themselves on bibilical history also

    April 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. teresa whisnant

    plz let supernatural producers know the last book of the Bible is REvelation notRevelations thank you

    April 27, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Betsy Connie Cross of Manhasset Hills

    I have been a fan of his for many years now.

    April 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sidney Luckman

    Roger is a Great Great Movie Critic.

    April 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Jeff A.Marmon

    Long overdue in comming, we are big fans.

    April 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Myrna Band Sarasota

    A wonderful man and talent, we are proud of this honor.

    April 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  18. David Larry Peris

    he is most deserving of this accolade.

    April 27, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Evel Knievel

    Who's the black chick? Is that who married him for his money?

    April 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Nancy M. B.

    Sorry, but I don't think the caption is funny. Maybe the judges were just being kind because Ebert is so sick.

    April 27, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • sockpuppet

      I have to agree-I like Ebert as a film critic, but that line is completely hacky and I am sure there had to be many other hacks who submitted something similar. This had to be a pity vote.

      April 28, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  21. GozieBoy

    I'll bet at least 100 people sent in that painfully obvious, and not terribly funny, caption. He was either selected from a draw or by a sympathetic editor who wanted to get some good publicity...

    April 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  22. bite me

    the New Yorker is for stuffy, snobby people who want to look down their noses at us and pretend they are better because they're "sophisticated".

    April 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Species Stratification

      Let's see: most New Yorker readers know more than you or I, do more to improve society than you or I, dress better, look better (cancer notwithstanding), are less likely to attend weekly mass hysteria and brainwashing sessions in tax-dodging churches, are less likely to be birthers, racists, or resort to physical violence and guns to settle arguments with strangers or exert control over a spouse.... uhh, yeah..., with equal parts admiration and envy, I think that qualifies as "better".

      April 27, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evel Knievel

      No, most readers "think" they know more than the rest of us. Typical d0uchebag intelligentsia. Obviously, you're one.

      April 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Fromaggio

      Yeah, just like those high & mighty People & Us & TV Guide readers - they think they're so smart 'cause they're fillin' their heads with all thet pointy-head innelleckshual stuff. Huh. I'll just take my Economist and ol' fashioned ol' counry dark beer a comfy chair an' you kin keep all that other, heah?

      April 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Give 'em a break. The cartoons are the most important part of the New Yorker. Better than others? No, but how many people get to read cartoons anymore? You don't get the funnies on T.V., whether you watch news or soaps... right, those are disappearing too. All we'll have left is "reality" shows: and those people truly do pretend to be "better" than everybody else. Sure the ads are irritating, but the rest of the New Yorker pokes fun at wealth and privilege.

      April 28, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Species S.

      "Bite Me" and "Knievel" are two sad, angry losers who recognize their, ahem, shortcomings but will never admit them. Instead they lash out at their "betters" in education, achievement, and contributions to society at every opportunity and yet adoringly worship the right wing gazillionaires like Bush, Cheney, and Trump who manipulate and exploit them. BM, Evel, and the teabaggers deride "LBRLS" for advocating and drfending the freedoms of speech and from state religion that were the Founders' Gift and warning to America. Sucker born every minute and it would be funny if they were all not so dangerous. They hve the same mob mentality that burned innocent young schoolgirls as witches in the 1690s and 250 years later destroyed and exiled innocent screenwriters and porofessors... what Evel, Joe McCarthy, Hitler and Mussolini called "the intelligentsia... ironically always the first massacred in communist takeovers as well.

      April 28, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  23. Evel Knievel

    It looks like someone did some movie special effects on his face.

    April 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • rafael

      You sound like a dufus.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • endeavor43

      @E-K: You are either incredibly ignorant or outrageously hateful.

      April 28, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • hecep

      Better to be part of the "d0uchebag intelligentsia" than be a d0uchebag ignoramous like you.

      April 28, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • OhioBrian

      I read recently that someone made him a prosthesis for his chin for TV appearances, which he may be wearing in this photo. (He still can't speak while using the prosthesis; he still uses the computerized-voice tool.) So by calling this "movie special effects," Evel may not be making such a leap here.

      April 28, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • OhioBrian

      Here is Ebert's own blog entry about his prosthetic chin:

      April 28, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Super Joe Einhorn

      Evel, too bad special effects werent around during your lousy motorbike jumping escapades.

      April 28, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  24. Rose

    Hey, when I won that contest, it didn't make national news!! Anyway, welcome to the club, Roger!

    April 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Stoo

    It should have been "uck."

    April 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Sunshine Girl *

    Just goes to show you the old saying 'If at first you dont succeed, try, try again' can come true. His perserverance finally paid off. He has more courage/self respect/dignaty and determination, than anyone Ive seen in quite a long time. It took him 281 times to get it right, and hes already entered again. Good for him! And to all of you who have something nasty to say about the man...he has more redeeming qualities than any of you could ever dream of.

    April 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Mattmchugh

    But his caption isn't particularly funny. It's just a fairly obvious mild witticism paired with an incongruous image - oh, wait. It's for the "New Yorker." Makes perfect sense now.

    April 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Woodmouse

    Good for him, I suppose. But, that was the winning entry? Really. What did the losing entries look like.

    April 27, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  29. JL

    Congrats, Mr. Ebert! I'm damned jealous!!

    April 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  30. laura clarke

    I don't get it.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Mike Land

    Look at the free publicity New Yorker magazine gets and the boost to circulation. I mean this is like a 30 million dollar ad campaign for totally free. They should pick a celebrity entry every few months or so because this is pure icing on the cake, and its totally and completely free.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  32. LOL that's funny

    Good for him!

    April 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Shannon Nutt

    Roger finally won because he stopped sending in clever entries and just sent in the obvious one. Regardless, congrats.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Michael

    Its funny to see that a man who thinks no video game could ever be art somehow sees the cartoons in the New Yorker to be some kind of Americana. All irony aside – good for him. Tenacity is to be applauded.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shannon Nutt

      That's because every time Roger's looked at a video game, it's always been someone absurd like RESIDENT EVIL or GRAND THEFT AUTO. If he'd take the time to look at something cinematic, like HARD RAIN, he'd see just what a video game can do.

      April 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • rafaelrobyns

      Irony is not defined as when someones taste is different from yours.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  35. Pete

    He stole that from Ziggy. Just ask J. Peterman.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Correction Police

    This is a male. "Ebert wrote as her caption"

    April 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Correct the Correction

      Her caption, as in, the lady in the cartoon's caption.

      April 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duketg

      I think we've all learned a valuable lesson today about ambiguous antecedents.

      April 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      I had no difficulty understanding it, but Duke you are funny.

      April 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Wally Balloo

    I never would have recognized him from that photo.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • CaEd

      He can't speak due to his cancer but that hasn't kept him down.

      Google any or par of this Roger Ebert: Remaking my voice and/or TED.
      A truly amazing man.

      April 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      He had to have jaw reconstruction after salivary gland cancer.

      April 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • well

      Wally was just saying he didn't recognize him. Guess what neither did I. I don't live under any rock I just don't really watch pointless celebrities and listen to their idiotic gossip like you do.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Michae l J.


    April 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  39. LEE

    Good news. Happy for you.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hollyworld


      This is your typical Donald Trump supporter!

      April 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |

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