Rarely do I read an obituary and laugh out loud…

by Karen Topakian

Until today when I read New Yorker cartoonist Leo Cullum’s obit in the Times. Then I couldn’t stop laughing.

This man has entertained New Yorker readers for decades with his lampooning of lawyers, salary men and doctors. And with his depiction of animals suffering from human neuroses.

The line in the Times that caused my laughter was his cartoon, the first one to appear in the New Yorker after September 11, 2001. A woman sitting at a bar next to a man says, “I thought I’d never laugh again. Then I saw your jacket.”

See what I mean. Funny.

Cullum’s work not only appears in a series of books of his published cartoons but also in fellow New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee’s edited collection of rejected cartoons aptly titled, “The Rejection Collection.”

In “The Rejection Collection,” Cullum completes the fill in the blank question, I am afraid of…(a) abandonment, (b) commitment, (c) rejection or (d) bears. “D. That was easy.”

When responding to the request to Draw Something In This Space That Will Help Us Understand Your Childhood, he drew a very angry nun.

Five of Collum’s rejected pieces appear in the collection. My favorite shows a man sitting behind a desk on the phone listening to a voice that says, “To return to the original menu say, “Goddam son of a bitch!’”

A truly gifted cartoonist whom I will miss weekly.

Thanks Leo for all of the laughs.

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