We’re Becoming More Like Comedians

7 Oct

One of the biggest changes that has happened over the course of the last decade or so with regards to cartooning is the way that it’s delivered. Yes, there is still your local paper, but even the cartoons in the paper typically appear online as well. And with being online, comes one thing that cartoonist rarely used to have the pleasure – or pain – of enjoying: comments.

Back before the online universe took hold (way before my time of being a cartoonist) the cartoonist and its audience were separated. You never heard from the cartoonist – you rarely heard from the audience (besides the occasional fan/hate mail or feedback from an editor). Unlike comedians on stage – who know instantly if their joke ‘kills’ – cartoonist (again, a few years ago) didn’t. They would just send it out on its merry way and try to imagine that the reader was ‘getting it’.

Nowadays, it’s obviously different. If a cartoon or gag doesn’t resonate with the reader – you’ll know pretty quick.

“I don’t get it.”


“What the…..”

And the opposite is true.



“That’s funny!”

I’ve had a few hits and misses in my time.

It’s always interesting to me on what IS going to be a ‘hit’. I think all the stuff I put out there now is good. Yes, I have my favorites, but I try not to put out anything that isn’t remotely even passable. I have pretty high standards, yet still, it will occasionally happen. There will be a particular comic that just doesn’t connect with the audience.

I used to judge a lot on comments, but I’ve learned not to do that. Comments don’t always mean a lot. I used to think that the more comments I received – the more popular it is. It’s weird though. Some cartoons draw in TONS of comments – others hardly any. A lot of my favorite cartoons that I’ve done – and the editors favorites of mine as well – haven’t really had too many comments involved with them sometimes. So, I’m starting to think that fewer comments don’t mean much, right? Maybe. But then I go over to my neighbor ‘Calvin and Hobbes‘ or ‘Pearls Before Swine‘ and see upwards of a hundred comments and then I question MY work again. However, that being said, I’ve always ventured to other popular strips on the same day and have seen zero comments. I dunno.

What a change over the decades of not knowing an audiences reaction to suddenly having an instant reaction.

Overall, I like being able to correspond with readers and hearing feedback. It’s helped – if anything. I learn what I’ll probably be hearing a few, “boos” from – and what will definitely work with everyone. So, like a comedian, I can fine-tune my set list and jokes. I try to mix it up again. I think it’s important to know your audience.

Comics being delivered right on the stage now is definitely a change from the ‘old times’. It will be interesting to see how they’ll be delivered in another decade or so. As long as it’s not in person and I don’t have tomatoes thrown at me – I’m content.



2 Responses to “We’re Becoming More Like Comedians”

  1. bearman October 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    I thought about doing an improv night at a comedy club and just posting cartoons and talking about them.

    • Nate Fakes October 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

      You should! That might be a good gig

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