Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Very Semi-Serious 2015

Directed by Leah Wolchok

New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff introduces his stable of oddball artists and guides us through the processes and philosophies that have kept publication in the magazine so highly prized for decades.

USA In English
83 minutes DCP



Leah Wolchok
Davina Pardo


Kirsten Johnson


Nels Bangerter
Scott Stevenson


Max Avery Lichtenstein


Bob Mankoff
Andy Friedman
Gahan Wilson
Marc Bilgrey
Mort Gerberg
Robert Leighton
Paul Noth
Bob Eckstein
Sam Gross
Liza Donnelly
David Borchart


Tribeca 2015

This behind-the-scenes look at The New Yorker’s cartoons and cartoonists is just as smart and funny and filled with great cartoons as you’d hope. Bob Mankoff, the magazine’s cartoon editor, is the ideal insider guide. (Filmmaker Leah Wolchok, an obsessive participant in the magazine’s caption contests, waited for years to secure his participation.) A self-described ‘humorologist’ and creator of one of The New Yorker’s most popular cartoons of all time (‘Thursday’s out. How about never – is never good for you?’), Mankoff provides insight into the centrality of single-panel humour in the magazine’s past and present. We see his weekly pitch meetings with cartoonists where established names and aspiring young artists alike front up with their work – in the hope that he’ll laugh, in a good way. Featuring lively interviews with cartoonists, published and yet to be, the film delves into their processes, their creative habitats and the mythos of the magazine they line up to be published in.

“A warm and frequently hilarious portrait of the unique men and women who live for that rare moment when their drawings are printed in their business’ holiest book.” — David Ehrlich, Time Out NY