The Best of the Rejection Collection Book Review

“293 Cartoons That Were Too Dumb, Too Dark, or Too Naughty for The New Yorker.”

Rescued by Matthew Diffee.

This book came through work lately and sounded like something that appeals to many of my interests. Two of those being comics and offensive humor. There are a couple of New Yorker collections on my own shelves and I was looking forward to this one featuring jokes that went too far. Unfortunately I felt the book fell into too much repetition and there were only a few cartoons that had me rolling and wanting to share.

Maybe the problem came from the interviews. Each cartoonist who provided rejected work for this book also filled out a little questionnaire for their section. There are only so many ways to answer “where do you get your ideas” or “want to hear my idea for a cartoon” before I felt that I had seen it all. Also, one joke where an artist fills in the pie chart with actual pie is enough.

Although it’s not really a book to be read in one sitting, which is what I did. This is a flip through a couple drawings and laugh then set it down. Or maybe leave it out and let friends flip through the cartoons too. There are some artists I’ve never liked either because their drawing style doesn’t do it for me, or we have different senses of humor, or some other reason. Some of which are in this book and I read all their jokes as well. Most of the book had me feeling ‘meh’ or giving a little chuckle. From the whole book of “293” there were 3 I wanted to save and show to other people. Three that are offensive and wrong as hell. Which might say more about me than it does about the quality of work for any artist inside.

(I want to include some here for example, but I have to imagine The New Yorker has people monitoring things like that online. If you type in “New Yorker rejection collection” in a Google image search though, my favorite ones come up on the first page.)

Add in about 70 more and make this a daily desk calendar instead. This was far too much average content with too few big laughs to be worth $13 for an hour or two. But one a day could have amused me for the year and felt like a better use of money.

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