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A Talk with Esquire Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff
September 6, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
“Take Two Cartoons and Call Me in the Morning:
The Fact and Fiction of Funny and Health”
A talk about the intersection of illness and humor by Bob Mankoff
For our September Narrative Medicine Rounds, we welcome Bob Mankoff, the former cartoon editor of The New Yorker and the current humor and cartoon editor of Esquire. He will speak about the intersection of the illness experience and humor and the ways each of these life-changing forces can transform the experience of health and healthcare. Bob Mankoff will be introduced by Ben Schwartz, MD, a faculty member at Columbia University Medical Center who works with both the Departments of Surgery and Medicine.
Mankoff has had an accomplished career in the funny business. In 2015, he was profiled in a “60 Minutes,” in which Morley Safer dubbed him the “Cartoon Doctor.” In 2013, he gave a TED talk, entitled “Anatomy of a New Yorker cartoon.” He edited national 2006 bestseller The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker, which featured all 68,647 cartoons published in The New Yorker since its debut in 1925. He describes this as the “golden age of humor,” where humor helped build personal connections in business and personal relationships.
An accomplished cartoonist, Mankoff has edited dozens of cartoon books and published four of his own. Over 950 of his cartoons have been published in The New Yorker over the past 20 years, including the best-selling New Yorker cartoon of all time (the harried businessman at his desk with a phone to his ear, reviewing his calendar and saying: “No, Thursday’s out, how about never. Is never good for you?”) He is the author of The Naked Cartoonist, a book published in 2003 on the creative process behind developing magazine-style cartoons. His most recent book is the memoir How About Never–Is Never Good For You?: My Life in Cartoons (Henry Holt, 2015)
Mankoff, who graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1966, entered the doctoral program at City University of New York to pursue a degree in experimental psychology. At age 30, just short of completing his dissertation, he decided to use his know-how in a new way: as a cartoonist. In 1977, Mankoff spent four months creating hundreds of original cartoons; it took more than a year to break into The New Yorker–and within three years became a regular contributor.
On April 30, 2017, Mankoff retired from The New Yorker and two days later un-retired himself to become humor and cartoon editor of Esquire.
Benjamin Schwartz, BA, MD, Columbia University, who will introduce Bob Mankoff, is a faculty member at Columbia University Medical Center, working with both the Departments of Surgery and Medicine. His work focuses on using visual storytelling techniques and the principles of Narrative Medicine to train expressive and empathetic physicians. He also focuses on developing engaging educational content for the web and social media to improve health literacy amongst the general population. Dr. Schwartz is also a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker, where he sneaks his daughter’s name into each of his cartoons.