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Make Data Work
Oct 15–17, 2014 • New York, NY

Crowdsourcing Humor: The New Yorker Caption Contest

Bob Mankoff (The New Yorker Magazine)
10:05am–10:20am Thursday, 10/16/2014
Keynotes
Location: 1D
Average rating: ***..
(3.80, 51 ratings)

Humor is traditionally at the hands of its author. What happens when the audience picks the punchline?

Each week, on the last page of the magazine, The New Yorker provides a cartoon in need of a caption. Readers submit captions, the magazine chooses three finalists, readers vote for their favorites. It’s humor—crowdsourced—and with more than 2 million submissions provided by 500,000 participants, it provides tremendous insight as to what makes us laugh.

Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker’s cartoon editor, will analyze the lessons we learn from crowdsourced humor. Along the way, he’ll explore how cartoons work (and sometimes don’t); how he makes decisions about what cartoons to include; and what crowds can tell us about a good joke.

Photo of Bob Mankoff

Bob Mankoff

The New Yorker Magazine

A cartoonist and the cartoon editor of The New Yorker, Bob Mankoff is one of the nation’s leading commentators on the role of humor in American business, politics, and life.

He speaks on the appreciation of humor, the creative processes required to produce it, and how humor works. Bob is about to publish a memoir titled How About Never — Is Never Good For You?: My Life In Cartoons (March 2014). He is the author of The Naked Cartoonist, the first book to use cartooning as a means of exploring the creative process. Like his presentations, this entertaining journey through the art, craft and Zen of cartooning offers a unique perspective on how to be funnier and more creative.

Bob also conducts customized workshop seminars on creativity.

A successful entrepreneur, he created The Cartoon Bank (now a New Yorker Magazine company), the world’s largest and most influential cartoon licensing business.

Bob edited The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker, the best-selling coffee table book for holiday 2004, featuring all 68,647 cartoons ever published in The New Yorker since its debut in 1925. Bob has edited dozens of other cartoon books and published four of his own. He appears frequently on network talk shows, cable TV networks, and syndicated radio programs.

Cartooning and Creativity: In his hilarious presentations, Bob Mankoff uses cartoons to explore the audience members’ potential for greater creativity:

  • How to develop your creativity and your natural talents.
  • How to find your own particular voice and message

Plus an insider’s look at the craft of cartooning itself — what a cartoon is (and what it is not) and what makes a good cartoon work.

Bob also explores how humor as a form of creativity is related to other fields like science that deal with issues, how the cognitive techniques used in creating humor can be directly applied to other fields, and research on the ways that humor reduces stress and generates optimism by altering mood.