It’s been several months since I posted a bad cartoon idea, so how about another one?
Yesterday I came up with an idea while hopped up on coffee. I sketched it out and it seemed funny at the time. But when the caffeine wore off, I wasn’t so sure about it. It suddenly seemed cheesy and, well, lame. So I left the sketchpad on the desk and figured I’d look at it a few hours later with a fresh eye.
At one point, my wife came upon the sketch (we share a desk in the office) and told me she didn’t like it.
“It’s kind of obvious humor,” she said. “Also, it seems like that joke’s been done before.”
Crap. That's not what I wanted to hear.
I went and looked at the sketch again. I didn't laugh. (Well, I kind of chuckled at Cookie Monster's line.) The bottom line was my wife was right: the idea just wasn't very good.
Here’s the sketch. Even though I'm scrapping this idea, I might use Cookie Monster’s line in another cartoon.
Out of curiosity, I Googled “Elmo’s Thong." Plenty of people have used this joke, including another cartoonist.
For me, bad cartoon ideas fall into three categories:
1. The Obviously Bad Idea – when I immediately realize how awful it is, seconds after sketching it out.
2. The Bad Idea Disguised as a Good Idea – when I sketch something and like it a lot, but then later realize (usually after the caffeine wears off) that it’s totally lame.
3. The Bad Idea That I Still Kind of Like – puns, offensive material and obvious, clichéd jokes fall into this category. These are the ideas that are essentially bad but there’s something about them that I can’t help but like.
The other day I sketched something that fell squarely into Category 3. Initially I thought it was funny but later I had this nagging feeling that it wasn’t all that good. I was on the fence about it, so I did what I usually do when I’m in doubt about a sketch: I showed it to my wife Katrina. (Here it is, in all its crappy glory)
After reading it, Katrina looked up and locked her eyes on mine. She was silent but her eyes said “Hell no.”
“So…you don’t like it.” I said.
“I hate jokes about women’s periods. HATE them.”
“But see, they’re robots and she’s asking—”
“I get it, but it's dumb. Sorry.”
A few seconds of silence.
“You shouldn’t do jokes about women’s periods,” she said. “Not a good idea.”
I agree that, generally speaking, it’s a bad idea for guys to make jokes about women’s periods. But I see this more as relationship humor. You know, even robot husbands sometimes have to buy feminine products for their wives. They’re just like us!
Is it funny now? No?
Want to see a sketch of a cartoon idea that was induced by a mind-altering substance? Read on!
One day a few weeks back, I was really tired. I was so exhausted that I resorted to drinking some 5-Hour Energy. (I try to use that stuff sparingly because it kind of scares me. It’s rocket fuel. I’m pretty sure one of the ingredients is paint thinner.)
As usual, after about three sips of 5-Hour Energy I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to run around the block five times. And a few seconds later, a cartoon idea popped in my head. It seemed pretty funny, so I immediately I grabbed a piece of paper and sketched it out.
I drew this sketch in roughly 14 seconds. Even though it’s shaky and rough, I like the look of the cat. In the final version, he didn’t change much.
I should note this cat is based on my 21-pound cat, Simon. I’m pretty sure he drinks 5-Hour Lethargy.