David Remnick Thinks The New Yorker’s Comics Are Hand Grenades of Humor

-Your magazine has done so much great reporting
in the last few years. Reporting that maybe you weren’t
quite as known for, as far as breaking stories now. -We don’t pretend
to be a newspaper. -Mm-hmm. -But we do
do investigative reporting, so, you know, you’ve seen,
for example, today, we learned
that Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General,
state of New York, is not gonna be
criminally indicted, but he fessed up
to his very serious sins about his sexual behavior. That story was written
by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow. So on the #MeToo issue,
for example, “The New Yorker”
has been very strong. And Jane Mayer and many others
have been writing about the presidency and all the drama that goes with it
with great depth. I’m very proud of that. Look, I think it’s a civic duty. It’s a civic duty
for journalists who have this thing
called the First Amendment to use it and not be intimidated
by name-calling, and it’s very serious. To be called
enemies of the people, which is what Stalin
used to call his enemies, is no fun.
-Yeah. And you’re always one indictment
away from trouble. And that behavior, you know, toward the CNN reporter, Acosta,
Jim Acosta, the other day in the press
conference, was disgusting. That’s the kind of behavior you expect from autocrats
somewhere else. -Mm-hmm.
-Now that’s — that’s here. -In this very turbulent time,
I do find — I take solace in the fact
that “The New Yorker” still finds space for cartoons. -Look how much space.
-Yeah, look how many. -This is no
small amount of cartoons. Are you —
[ Cheers and applause ] -Try to lift it up in the air.
-It’s not — It’s the heaviest hold-up
I’ve ever had on the show. -Can you do a curl with it? -The new Attorney General
can curl it. -Yeah.
-So — -He can bench-press it.
-He can bench-press, yeah. So, tell me,
why do you think it’s endured as a part of “The New Yorker,” and are you surprised that over
a century it’s endured, is a thing that still lives
in this magazine that has —
obviously is so highbrow? -Well, you know, that’s — that’s the weird chemistry
of what this is. You know, you’re reading
a long piece about politics or about science
or about medicine, something may be serious, and then, weirdly,
all throughout it are these little jokes, these hand grenades of humor
that go off. I think
if it got invented today, this idea, people would be —
would take offense. There would be, like,
a Twitterstorm, like, “Oh, my God. There’s a piece
about the war in Yemen, and there are gag cartoons
about two talking dogs.” -[ Laughing ] Yeah.
-Or all the other cartoons we’re about to see
in a few minutes here. -And we are gonna see
them again, and thanks so much. This is your seventh time
on the show and the seventh time that we’ll be doing
“Live New Yorker” cartoons. We will be right back
with David Remnick, everybody.