Lawrence Wood, 5-time New Yorker Caption Contest winner and reigning champion, took me to task recently for my comments on the nature of cartoon caption contests (“Cartoon Caption Contest February 16, 2014 – July 26, 2014“).
In my last blog post, while referring to the New Yorker caption contest, I blithely stated: “The results rarely, if ever, rise to the level of actual New Yorker cartoons. The winners of caption contests come off as very clever responses to the drawing – nothing more.” This based on having seen only a handful of winners. To be honest, I had never paid much attention to the caption contest, my focus being on my competition in the interior of the magazine. Lawrence Wood, on the other hand, has had a great deal of experience with The New Yorker’s caption contest, including what seems to be an encyclopedic knowledge of past winners.
In Mr. Wood’s good-natured rebuttal, he included a list of 50 or so of the best caption contest winners going all the way back to contest #10 from the August 8, 2005 issue. Here’s how Mr. Wood put it:
I have to disagree with your comment about The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest. You wrote, “The results rarely, if ever, rise to the level of actual New Yorker cartoons. The winners of caption contests come off as very clever responses to the drawing – nothing more.” That’s certainly true of some—and of most of the ones I submit (including the ones that have been selected as finalists)—but I think many of the winning captions “rise to the level of actual New Yorker cartoons,” and some, I would argue, are among the best The New Yorker has ever published. Here’s my evidence …
And here he lists his top ten caption contest winners, followed by a list of about 40 other great winners all from various issues over the past 9 years or so. Without further ado, here is 5-time New Yorker Caption Contest winner Lawrence Wood’s top ten winners of the New Yorker Caption Contest:
August 8, 2005:
September 19, 2005:
October 10, 2005:
February 6, 2006:
March 26, 2007:
May 12, 2008:
May 26, 2008:
February 2, 2009:
April 20, 2009:
And last, but not least, November 15, 2010: