Remembering Roger Ebert, Aspiring “New Yorker” Humorist and One-Time Caption Contest Winner

Film critics, while occasionally witty, are not a uniformly humorous bunch. Bad reviews are certainly more fun to read, in a schadenfreude kind of way, if the reviewer has a command over comedic hyperbole, but it’s not a job requirement necessarily. Perhaps that explains part of what made Roger Ebert such a joy to read.

As he demonstrated in reviews, perhaps most notoriously in his “Your movie sucks” takedown of Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo, Ebert was a funny guy. Rather than attempt a late-career foray into stand-up comedy like the ill-advised Larry King, Ebert channeled his comedy instincts into a hobby: the New Yorker cartoon caption contest.

Roger Ebert in 1970

Nearly every week of the seven years the contest has been in play, Ebert would submit an entry and share it with his vast legion of Twitter followers. He was only surprisingly skilled at this endeavor if you’d never read his reviews. Everyone else already knew he was funny, and likely expected he would win one day–which he finally did in 2011.

Have a look through some of the best entries of the dearly departed reviewer, amateur humorist, and author in the slide show above, as we continue to mourn a unique talent.

[Image: Wikimedia]JB