Saturday, August 27, 2016

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #533

Here is my latest entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #533 for August 22, 2016. The drawing is by Joe Dator.

"I call this Fred's of Paris because Subway is already taken."

August 29, 2016 Update: The Finalists

August 30, 2016 Update: The Rankings
Here are this week's top 52 captions as ranked by the online voting, now sorted by number rather than alphabetically. This week the three finalists have been chosen by the editors from the top four captions by rank. (Last week they went as high as 79 to get the three finalists.) You have to feel bad for whoever submitted the overlooked second-ranked caption. Note also that bus-boy has been edited to busboy. View all the rankings here. 

My caption ranked 805 out of 5005, placing it in the top 17%. It seems unlikely that a caption would be chosen by the editors that was not crowdsourced in the top 2%.

Here are the bottom 52, if you dare:

September 5, 2016 Update: I forgot to vote again. I like the second caption best.

September 12, 2016 Update: Winning Caption

Note:  Last week, cartoonist Danny Shanahan reminded us that no man is an island. I decided to prove John Donne wrong and not submit a caption. Break out of your self-imposed solitude and check out the results of Contest #532.

Cartoonist Joe Dator has been spotted about town as well as on this blog. In other words, he isn't always underground.

Why can't we bungle in the jungle with Joe? Songs You're Sick Of, Joe Dator's indispensable classic rock podcast, has yet to feature any Jethro Tull, my number one band from back in the day.



  1. My caption placed somewhere around 1,500. I'm not crazy about them depending so much on the online voting because I'm not convinced it fairly evaluates all entries.

    1. No, I don't think it's fair to every individual caption entry, though it clearly works well in stratifying the top 50 captions from the bottom 50. The more people vote in the rankings, the more accurate they should be, but I doubt the system could ever guarantee a 99th caption that's funnier than the 100th, or that people could ever agree on it. The rankings will be even less reliable if people start gaming the vote. For example, if you want to improve the odds of your own caption being ranked highly, you need to vote down other entrants' funny captions. If enough people do this, the funniest captions will migrate to a deeper tier in the rankings and the editors will have to expend more effort to notice them. The crowdsourced ranking system was designed in part to reduce the work of the editors and I doubt how willing they would be to find a caption gem ranked 500th and make it a finalist.

    2. I agree, I think it's the opportunity to game the vote that makes it unreliable. And I just think there aren't enough people rating them.

    3. You probably know this, but the car in this week's cartoon is the Google self-driving car.

    4. Thank you. In a recent episode of The Cartoon Lounge, New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff is seen getting around town in a self-driving Tesla.

    5. I just realized it actually says Google on the car.