Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cliche Discussion

(If you, like me, would like to see this picture bigger, click on the cartoon man's right eyelid.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Mysterious Explanations.

My favorite cartoons have always been single-panel magazine cartoons, the likes of which could once be found in National Lampoon and just about every other magazine in America, and which can now be found in The New Yorker and almost nowhere else. Within that genre is a canon of cartoon cliches that have been done millions of times in millions of ways: the psychiatrist's couch, the fish crawling out of the water and growing legs, the ascent of man, the guy stuck on a desert island, the cat and the mousehole, the guy crawling through a desert. This Sunday cartoon is particularly fun for me because I combined two of the oeuvre in one panel.

I love coming up with new versions of those standards, and especially doing satires of the standards themselves. Here is an example of one such satire from 1995, taken from my book, Life is Strange and So Are You – A Bizarro Sunday Treasury. The character in the water is mine, all the rest are borrowed from some of my favorite cartoonists (and one that I'm not a fan of at all but is highly recognizable.) See if you can figure out who is who. If you want to jump ahead, here is a diagram of which characters belong to which famous cartoonists. Most of you can guess which one I included not because I'm a fan but because of his recognizability alone.

Thanks for dropping by today, I've enjoyed pretending to talk to you.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Breakdown

Bizarro is brought to you today by Favorite Holiday Memories.

If you're reading this post then you, like me, survived yesterday's holiday here in the U.S. We call it Thanksgiving Day and it's a mixed bag in my book. There are things I both enjoy and despise about TGiving, which I have listed below for your future use and quick reference.

a. Not a religious holiday. This keeps it low-key and guilt-free with no official services to attend to keep your mom from getting upset, no melodramatic speeches by TV pundits about how "our make-believe is being eroded by some other culture's make-believe".

b. Mostly just about food and who doesn't like to eat? (other than super models) Lift food to mouth, open, insert, close, chew. Any moron can do it.

c. Mindless activities like watching football on TV and taking a nap are actually an integral part of the tradition.

d. Somehow, merchants have not commandeered this holiday as they have Xmas, so gifts are not mandatory. What a money saver!

e. Miraculously, TGiving has escaped the hideous novelty songs with which Xmas is plagued for weeks. Ah, the sound of silence!

a. People use it to get sappy about what they're thankful for. I dislike this because I think one should be aware of these things daily. Those of us who are, don't need a national holiday to remind us of what is a fundamental part of our consciousness, and those who do need to be reminded are probably not moved in any substantive manner anyway. To me, it's like having a national holiday to remind us to brush our teeth. If you have to be reminded, it's probably too late anyway.

b. People make it religious by thanking "god" for what they have. Okay, fine, thanking the gods for food, shelter, good weather, a successful massacre of your enemy, etc. is a common human behavior that predates language and any of our modern gods, but I'd like to see us grow out of this superstition eventually. You can be thankful without being thankful to invisible magic people. This country could use a lot more rational thought and a lot less superstitious fear and persecution, God knows.

c. Americans celebrate warm and fuzzy thankfulness by wreaking a grisly holocaust on 45 million innocent birds (in a single day). I get it, it's tradition, it will never change, blah blah. But those of us who have come to see members of other species as someone instead of something lament the needless and cruel slaughter. It goes on 365 days a year, of course (300 million turkeys annually), but on TGiving the slaughter itself is celebrated as part of the experience, complete with goofy, cartoon images of the victims in pilgrim hats.

I'm sure I've missed something, but I'm still reeling from my food hangover. I ate waaaaay too much last night and won't eat again soon. In the final tally, looks like I have 5 likes and 3 dislikes, so all in all, the holiday gets a thumbs up.

Here now, from the cartoon dungeon's archives, is an old Sunday comic I did years ago. (click it to see it bigger) I went through a period around the turn of the century during which I was writing oddball children's poems for an unspecified reason. Eventually, I turned some of them into cartoons.

More later, have a black, black Black Friday.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catching Up

Bizarro is brought to you today by Before and After.

Gosh dern, it's good to be getting caught up with the blog posts. Much to discuss, let's get started.

Our first cartoon today is another collaboration between my friend and colleague, Wayno. We kicked this one around quite a bit before deciding on this approach. Here's Wayno's account of the whole story. I remain mystified by people's obsessions with virtual lives as opposed to their own. I've never done any of these kinds of things and am, frankly, afraid of them. They tap into some natural tendency of humans or they wouldn't be so popular. I stay away from them because I'm pretty sure I'd be hooked and not get anything done in the real world. It's the same reason I've never owned any video gaming system. Too tempting. Surfing the web is addictive enough.

Next stop, weight loss. Almost all of us could maintain a healthy weight if we ate natural foods and exercised, but it's just too tempting to eat delicious, readily-accessible, inexpensive junk food and watch TV instead of exercise. I fall prey to this, too, in my vegan way. It's the world we live in, waddyagonnado?

The early hands-free phone is an idea from my friend Michael Capozzola. It's an opportunity for a fun pic. Check out some of Capo's stand-up comedy. His routine on "cougars" is terrific.

These last two gags are about females who eat their mates and a male that probably should have been eaten long ago. Hope you get a smile.

As soon as I get some pics and video of my shows in Tulsa, I'll share them here. They both went really well and were more-or-less sold out. Always fun to do comedy in the hometown. One show included a Piraro impersonator.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not Really Back

Sorry I've been away from my blog for so long, I've been performing in Tulsa and visiting family. I'm catching up on deadlines today but will back tomorrow blogging like a mofo. Come back and have an ogle!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Many Cartoons

Today's whopper-sized Bizarro post is brought to you by Children As Food.

Lots to take care of today, I've fallen behind on posting cartoons. As I've mentioned within these electronic walls enough times to cause you to cough up your spleen, I have some shows in Tulsa later this week. This means I must get five days ahead on deadlines which takes 15 days of working double time. I have no idea why it works out that way, but that's cartoon math for you. Just when you think you've solved the equation, a safe falls on your head.

If you are in the Tulsa area, come to one or both of my shows this week, please. You won't regret it. I won't let you. If I see you shuffling off after the show with a look of regret on your face, I'll hit you with my dad's car.

Two to choose from:
Thursday, Nov 18, Philbrook Museum, 6pm-7:30, I'll be discussing my cartoon career, fine art, comedy shows, and playing a few original songs. Q & A to follow. Free with admission to museum.

Friday, Nov 19, Tulsa Elks Lodge, 8pm, a full-on comedy show with cartoons, stand-up, audience participation, onstage drawing, six original songs with backup musicians. $10, goes to charity.

Not sure if I'll be able to post again this week, but I'll try to do it once before I leave. I'd love to be do a post about the Great Garfield Veteran's Day Scandal of 2010, for instance, and talk about how that same thing has happened to me on a couple of occasions. I'll do it if I have time, for sure.

Back to the humor dungeon. Hope to see you in Tulsa.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Punnies # 10

(For a larger view of this comic, click on the ostrich's beak)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Unexpected Crime Waves.

If you are reading today's blog, there is a decent chance you read the fine print in my Sunday Punnies #10 cartoon that published today. Welcome! If you can hear the sound of my voice, adjust your computer and examine your meds. I'm not talking.

Here are three puns that were generously contributed by three different readers, whose names appear in microscopic print at the bottom of each panel of the triptych. Of course, they didn't do all the work. I figured out brilliant ways to portray them graphically or tweak them with additional dialogue, and I auditioned the thousands of actors it took to find the cast that would best represent the hilarity intended by M. Kaskel, Bill G. and Witte.

If you've got an idea for a pun, leave it in the comments section of any post on my blog. I don't publish the pun suggestions, so you'll never see it appear here, but rest assured that I am reading and considering each one. Don't forget to leave me an email address if you'd like to be notified of the date your pun will appear in Bizarro (should I choose it) and what name you'd like to appear on the panel. First or last and an initial is the most I can use, no full names allowed.

IMPORTANT: You'll receive no payment or compensation for participating. All you get is the glory and giggles of seeing your submission in print.
WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR: Original, unexpected puns. Please don't send things you've heard or read elsewhere.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: If you incur an injury while typing a pun to submit to Bizarro, it isn't my fault and I'm not even going to dignify your lawyer's accusations with a response. You must be 18 to vote, but you can submit a pun to me at any age. I really don't care. You need not be present to win, because you're not really winning anything and, after all, who among us is truly "present"? I mean besides Oprah.

Thanks so much! Hey, as long as you're here, click around on some of the other posts and see if you like what I'm doing. Don't miss the blue links, they're funny pictures!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

See This Show

My good friend and comedy genius from another dimension, Will Franken, is doing another one-man show at The Purple Onion again soon. See it if you can, he is a rare performer without equal. Below are Will's own words:

Will Franken in “I’ll Be Your Neck”
The Purple Onion
140 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
Saturday, November 20th
(2 shows; 8pm and 10pm)

Get your tickets now!

“I’ll Be Your Neck” is the story of one’s man pursuit to hold a woman’s head because she’s too beautiful to use her own neck.

It’s also the story of many other things as well. There’s an 8-year old black girl narrating Spike Lee’s remake of “Silence of the Lambs” (momma talk about the bad man sometimes. He wanted momma to put lotion on her skin. But momma didn’t want to. . .)

It’s the story of a jealous husband who sulks alone in his bedroom while Will laughs it up downstairs with the wife. Based on true events, Will plays the parts of the husband, the wife, and himself. “Honey, can I talk to you in the bedroom real quick? I can’t find my shoehorn! Will, how is the comedy going? Well, it certainly sounds like my wife is a huge fan! I can hear her laughing all the way upstairs in the bedroom where her and I sleep as husband and wife! Honey, can you please help me find the shoehorn?”

It’s the story of an inverse world where the white trash guys from Fresno are running tech support for Indians who don’t know anything about computers.

It’s the story of the big screen adaptation of “Handbags With Mary Beth On QVC” featuring Christopher Walken as Mary Beth, Crispin Glover as Joyce (his co-host), and Stephen Hawking as Caller #7.

It’s the story of how a man mistook a cowlick for a brain tumor and how the doctor still expects him to pay for an over-the-counter hair gel.

It’s the story, all right.

Come see this story and you’ll have plenty of stories to tell.

I’m Will Franken. And this is my story.



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homeward and Bound

Bizarro is brought to you today by Ageless Heroism.

I'm busy as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs this week as I try to get ahead on deadlines for my big trip next week to the land of milk and honey, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Next week, on Thursday and Friday, I'm doing a couple of events in my hometown as well as speaking to a few classes of art students at my old high school, visiting family and old friends, and breaking into pharmacies in the middle of the night. I've found it's even cheaper than ordering drugs from Canada.

It's a fun visit, but can be emotionally taxing. My family is great, no problems there (except for my brother's wife who drinks constantly and inevitably pulls me into a closet at my parent's house and tries to make out with me) but seeing how the old stomping grounds and its inhabitants have changed is a challenge.

"Oh look, that's where the Pagoda Palace used to be, where I took my prom date for an exotic Chinese dinner. Now it's 1/85 of a parking lot for Walmart."

"Oh, look, there is a girl I dated in high school, now she's a greeter at Walmart, a born-again Christian and has 16 children and counting."

"And who's that guy sitting in the front row of my talk at the museum? He looks a little like the father of Kurt, a kid I rode bikes with in junior high school. Oh, that's actually himdo I look that much like my dad did in 1971? I remember Kurt cheating off my paper in math class because he wasn't very smart. Right after college, he came up with some Internet thing, sold it for millions and hasn't worked in 29 years. Will you help me kill him?"

But the good outweighs the bad and I'm really looking forward to it. The breaking news this week is that my Dad, Fred Piraro, is going to be opening for me at the Elk's Lodge show. He'll be warming up the crowd with a few of his comedy stylings, then introducing me. He's done this kind of thing for me before and he's very good at it. He doesn't have any formal experience as a stand-up comic, but if you get a couple drinks into most old Sicilian guys, they pretty much become the life of any party. Or strangle someone with a piano wire. (We're keeping him away from the piano that night.)

Hope to see you there.


Monday, November 8, 2010

My Marathon

Here are a couple of pictures of me running the NYC Marathon yesterday. It passes by about a block from my house and every year I see all those people jogging past hour after hour and listen to the bumper-to-bumper detoured traffic on my street honking and wonder, "what's the big deal with that thing, huh?"

So this year I decided to compete. I didn't win, but as anyone who runs in this kind of event can tell you, it's not about winning, it's about the personal challenge. And it was very challenging to get out of bed that early on a Sunday.
I hope these pictures will help you to admire me and maybe inspire yourself to get out of bed, too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sexy Children Dogs

Bizarro is brought to you today by
Contraceptive Fashion.

People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue comes out on November 17th and if they don't pick me this year, I say SCREW THEM. I have all of the qualifications they list: I'm alive and I'm sexy. (Says CHNW) So what is the holdup?

If they pick some damn vampire actor again, I'm going to the deli across the street from my apartment and turning over the magazine rack. Seriously.

On to more pleasant topics, here is a cartoon about witches who eat children. So she's heading out to pick up lunch with an empty stroller. Get it? What's funnier than eating children?
(Note to children reading this blog: Ask your parents if they have updated the anti-witch security devices in your home. Firefighters recommend changing the batteries on January 1st each year.)

Finally, from the archival vault (trash bags in my basement) comes this ancient Sunday comic from October of 1998. This was before I started coloring on computer, hence the colour de crapola, as they say in French. You can click on it to achieve biggerness, which will enable you to read it more good.

Dogs are so cute. By the way, where can I get one of these for my very own?


The Hole Thing

A fine website answering to the name "The Comics Journal," has published a three-part interview of myself. Against my innate sense of modesty and with great shame, I provide you here below with links to the whole shebang. WARNING: This interview is NOT appropriate for people not able to read.
Part 1 of 3

Part 2

Part 3


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bird Parts

Bizarro is brought to you today by Talent!

America's Got Talons is one of my favorite gags in a long time. Like my great aunt Wynona, it isn't deep, but it makes me laugh. And once again, I didn't write it, though I wish I had. This one comes from my good friend and fellow cartoonist/stand-up comic, Michael Capozzola. He's as big a fan of these competition reality shows as I am. That is to say, he'd rather die than have to watch one. That has nothing to do with this cartoon, but I just wanted to hammer another nail into that post. (strange metaphor, probably won't every use it again)

The next item on today's menu is the duck gag. I've spent some time on a shrink's couch (only figuratively, I've never seen an actual psychiatrist, just psychologists, and I've never had one that wanted me to lie down, somewhat to my disappointment) and none of them have been ducks. But if they were, I imagine they might say something like this and I would be surprised and maybe giggle a bit. Hence, a cartoon. I hope you like it and if you didn't, please don't leave a mean comment on this post because my therapist says I'm fragile right now.

Speaking of hammering more nails in an already victimized post, (I broke my own promise not to use that metaphor again, must mention this to my therapist) if you live in Oklahoma or know anyone who does, please come to (or have them go to) one or both of my performances in Tulsa in a couple of weeks. Boy, it's going to be fun. If you don't know what I'm talking about see these two posts: Thursday, Nov 18, and Friday, Nov 19. The shows are different, so see them both!


Great Book Recommendation

Another friend of mine has published the absolutely quintessential book about Looney Toons. It's called (look at picture above and read title) and it's a big, hardback book with an unbelievable amount of pull-out stuff inside. It's like every other page is a gift pack of some sort. There are envelopes with stickers or posters or old scripts inside. There are tear-out valentines cards, a catalog of ACME products, a pop-up graphic dealy bobber, postcards, a wearable mask, all kinds of stuff. No kidding, look at these action shots...

Here is an old comic book reproduction within the book. You can leave it there or rip it out and run around the house with it:

Here are some script pages reproductions inside an envelope that's stuck in the book:

The whole book is very much an insider's look at the process and legend of all those decades of great cartoons with never-before-published production sketches and all kinds of stuff that makes the nerd in you get all twitchy. If you or someone on your gift list is a cartoon fan, he/she/you/they/it will love this dang thing.

I'm not kidding. If I was, I would be honest about it.

Here's a place to buy it. (I get no kickback, I just like the book and the author)


Book Suggestion

Here's another bit of business I've been meaning to get to: A good buddy of mine has released his first book of cartoons and I'd like all of you to buy 100 copies and convince a 100 of your friends to do the same. If he doesn't sell enough books, his wife will make him quit cartooning and go back to being a small child working in an illegal shoe factory in the 3rd world.

So click this link and get to it! We've got a little boy to save!




Here's a link to a month-long blogosphere event called VeganMoFo. Thought some of my herbivore buddies might like it.



I recently did an interview with The Comics Journal and they have posted the first of three parts here:

Good lord, I talk a lot. They say that in Part 2 I talk about "why comic strips have gotten so bad." I hope I didn't name names.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


(Click the poster above for more bigness!)

Folks, it's finally happened! My performing career has reached such a fever pitch that I will be headlining at the Tulsa Elks Lodge! Can anything stop me now?

I'll be in Tulsa for two different types of show, on two subsequent nights, this is the second one, as closer inspection of this blog will show. The show the night before will be at Philbrook Art Museum, and different than this one. Click here.

This Elks show is different in these ways:
1. MORE and different stand-up comedy and cartoons. And some slightly more adult humor.
2. A special V.I.P party beforehand, for people with a few extra bucks (to charity) and a misguided desire to meet me in person in a smaller room.
3. MORE songs than on the previous night, with talented backup musicians. NONE have EVER been performed in public.*
4. ALL the money goes to charity. You can spend a few bucks, have a great time, then pretend you went out of your way to do something nice for someone!
5. You will want to attend BOTH shows, compare and contrast.

Come and see me, laugh, meet me, get some signed cartoon books for holiday gifts, take pictures, create a memory that will last for an undetermined amount of time. This year, I'm looking forward to spending the week before Thanksgiving with YOU!

Ticket info here.

*Except one



As you can see from the poster above (click it to see it huge and legibly) I'll be appearing at Philbrook Museum of Art in my hometown of Tulsa soon! I'll be doing a bit of a hybrid sort of presentation with some stand-up comedy, lots of my favorite cartoons on the big screen, a discussion of my fine art, and an overview of my 25-year career as a cartoonist. And, most exciting and terrifying of all, I'll be performing a few of my original songs with talented musicians. Not comedy songs – songs about death and depression and hard drinking and sin. It will be FUN!

The next night I'll be doing a different kind of show, also in Tulsa, see the next post for that info. You'll want to be at BOTH of them! Trust me.

I'll be answering questions and signing books and whatever afterward, so this is your big chance to rub elbows with me and pretend I'm a celebrity. I'll help by dressing funny, like celebrities usually do. We can take a picture together and you can use it on your Christmas card. (No Hanukkah cards, please.*)

For more info, go to the Philbrook web site.

*Kidding, of course. You can put me on whatever card you want.**

**Just a small sampling of some of the sort of politically incorrect humor I am likely to employ!

Halloween, Idiots, Teeth

Bizarro is brought to you today by Teeth.

I hope everyone had a dandy Halloween weekend. CHNW and I stayed home and watched scary movies. If you ever want to see a movie that will absolutely make your blood run cold and afraid to be alone after dark for the rest of your life, find one other than 1959's House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price. If, on the other hand, you want to get stoned and laugh your buttocks off, this might be just the right choice.

I love old movies (and new movies, too, I'm not some weird gay guy still living with his mother, after all) and it always amazes me what passed for scary in olden times. Part of my problem is probably that I don't believe in anything supernatural – ghosts, demons, magic, spirits, etc. – so I never fall for those kinds of stories. The only movies I find "scary" are films about murderers or whatever. Things that could actually happen to me. I can't bear slasher or torture movies at all.

When I was a teenager, however, it was different. During my brief few years as a fundamentalist "teen for Jesus" type, I firmly believed in the devil and demons, so movies like The Exorcist scared the crap out of me. Almost as much as the prospect of President Sarah Palin does now, for instance. Oh yeah, it's election day, I have to go vote. You should go vote, too, unless you're superstitious and think that gays, Mexicans and socialists are trying to take over America. Then maybe you should skip it.

Let the angry comments begin!

By the way, the "idiot" joke above was a collaboration between me and my good friend, Wayno. Here's his post on how it morphed as we discussed it.