Ever wonder how cartoons REALLY get into the New Yorker? Tonight Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists debuts on HBO after a brief theatrical run. Directed by Leah Wolchok, it’s a full length documentary that follow the New Yorker’s Bob Mankoff and staff on the cartoon rounds. If you enjoy seeing Sam Gross, Roz Chast, George Booth and other cartoon masters up on screen, this is the film for you. It also follows newcomers including Emily Flake and, in the films most gently amusing scenes, Liana Finck, who is deemed to be very funny by Mankoff but just can’t get a gag through the notorious Tuesday trials. The film also introduces Ed Steed, a wunderkind of Thurber like whimsy, who came from a diary farm in Britain.
If there’s one message from the movie, it’s that the old timers are an oddball, eccentric lot…and so are the newcomers! This is a real ode to he cartooning art and I can’t imagine anyone who is even remotely interested in the history of cartooning won’t enjoy Very Semi Serious.
Appearing: Bob Mankoff, Andy Friedman, Gahan Wilson, Marc Bilgrey, Mort Gerberg, Robert Leighton, Paul Noth, Bob Eckstein, Sam Gross, Liza Donnelly, David Borchart, Farley Katz, George Booth, Zach Kanin, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Colin Stokes, Liam Walsh, David Sipress, Cory Scott Whittier, David Remnick, Lee Lorenz, Roz Chast, Carolita Johnson, Marc Philippe Eskenazi, Emily Flake, Ben Schwartz, Corey Pandolph, Felipe Galindo, Larry Trepel, Liana Finck, Eli Yudin, Alexandra Rushfield, Gillian Blake, Silvia Killingsworth, Kelly Stout, Ed Steed, Augustine “Tug” Flake, Nick Traverse, Deanna Donegan, Chloe McConnell, Jackson Krule, Mina Kaneko, Sarah Mankoff, Christopher Cater, Julian Rowe.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.