VIDEO: Robert Ariail pitches a cartoon

Robert Ariail, the many-time national-award-winning editorial cartoonist for The State, likes to run his cartoon ideas by somebody — usually several times before he’s done. Usually, I’m that somebody, although he’ll go down the hall to Mike Fitts or someone else if I’m on the phone and wave him off or something.

That’s what happened this morning. I was listening to the phone message and waved him away, so he made his pitch to others. This video shows what happened after I yelled at the door, "Robert! Did you want to talk to me?"

I’ve always said that working with Robert was sort of like being part of the comedy-writing team on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." You know, Morey Amsterdam gets up and starts walking through an idea, while saying something like, "OK, so Alan walks into a room…" And Sally and Rob hoot and call out ideas to make it better, or not, and the script evolves.

Well I did NOT capture that flavor on video today. I’m not sure it’s possible, with me holding the camera. First, Robert looked a little like he thought it was a gun or something. Then, I’m concentrating on the camera while trying to be natural, and that causes me not to react spontaneously to what Robert’s saying. He sees my unnaturally subdued reaction, and it puts him off-stride, and he gets awkward.

But at least it’s a toned-down, constrained approximation of the process. So I share it.

15 thoughts on “VIDEO: Robert Ariail pitches a cartoon

  1. Randy E

    That was hilarious in two ways. First, his humor is very sharp and both ideas were great. Second, after he told you the Pelosi joke, you responded like he asked you for the time.
    How does his freakin brain work? He pulls together disjoint issues and blends them like a pina colada.
    BTW, wouldn’t the parrot be ——– on Cheney?

  2. Brad Warthen

    It didn’t occur to me until after I had posted this how lucky I was in terms of the way this worked out for video. Usually, Robert will hand me a bunch of sketches, and we’ll be flipping through them, our heads down toward the sketches, pointing to various things that would be hard for someone participating in the discussion to get on video in a way that would be helpful to the viewer.
    His breaking with the pattern to just come in and act out the ideas worked better. Good thing I had the camera on.

  3. Doug Ross

    I actually thought the Pelosi joke was better… but it would require a more informed reader.
    Hope Ariail gets paid very well for his services. I read a lot of local papers in my travels around the country and he is one of the best. [I grew up on a cartoonist for the Boston Globe named Paul Szep who was excellent]
    Anyone else notice the similarity between Brad’s POV and the Seinfeld episodes when George would go in to talk to Steinbrenner?

  4. Ready to Hurl

    The cartoon sounded a lot better than it came off in the newspaper.
    Why does Incurious George (and his administration) get a pass on actively pressuring the CIA analysts? What, no mention of Rummie’s in-house disinformation bureau of cherry-picked intel?
    Have you or Arial deigned to read any of the numerous books from insiders (other than Tenet) who confirm Tenet’s allegation that the Bush Administration was looking for a reason to invade Iraq and seized on 9/11 as a pretext? Does the “Downing Street Memo” ring even tiny bell between either one of you?
    Don’t you two ever get tired of being unpaid apologists for an incompetent and corrupt administration?

  5. Trajan

    Sounds like somebody’s daddy didn’t hug them enough.
    How much energy does it take for one to remain so bitter, cynical, unhappy and full of hate all of the time?

  6. Ready to Hurl

    Just tired of Bush and his cronies getting a pass for committing us to an endless meat grinder that’s claimed 3300 American lives so far.
    How much energy does it take for somebody to remain blissfully ignorant?

  7. Brad Warthen

    Who is an apologist for an administration? I have certainly never been.
    Here’s where we talk past each other — for you, it’s all about Bush. For me, it’s not.
    See, to you, the war is another thing to hate Bush for. I’m worried that our nation won’t hold out in Iraq long enough for another president to take over and run the war right. These wildly differing perspectives make it hard for you to understand where I’m coming from. Maybe I misunderstand you, too. But I KNOW you’re off-base in the way you try to characterize MY position.

  8. Randy E

    Brad, is Carol the same dude who posed as Mary R? Can we reduce his font size to 5?
    Also, how did this thread go from a funny video clip to the Iraq “War”?
    How does Arial come up with his stuff? How does that brain work? I’ll echo Doug’s compliment, Arial is top shelf!
    Doug, you grew up in Boston? How long ago did you live there? I’m headed to a game in July!!

  9. Brad Warthen

    Yes, it’s the same person. He/she/it jumps around and uses different IP addresses and the like, but it’s the same person.
    I didn’t do anything about it because as long as he was hiding his Roshness, it means he was adhering more closely to the standards of the blog.
    But of course, once it becomes obvious, that means he’s getting back to the sort of behavior that led to the ban.
    So no more Carol Hathaway. It’s a shame, really, because it was sort of working for awhile. And if it was working for HIM, that means it was working for the rest of us. But now it isn’t.

  10. Ready to Hurl

    Sure, Brad, write-off my position as some kind of personal issue with Bush.
    That way you can dodge your responsibility for putting this gang who couldn’t shoot straight (but could subvert the U.S. Constitution) back into office. You remember? The editorial board’s second endorsement of the administration in 2004– years after the administration had proven at minimum incompetent.
    Here’s a cartoon for Arial: portray Bush and Cheney as vultures on a dead tree limb dumping on the troops below that they CHOSE to send to Iraq without proper equipment, supplies or adequate forces.
    Here’s another: draw Bush as a manic parrot whose head spins around while repeating in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 that we’re “making progress.” He can be crapping on Mr. and Mrs. American Taxpayer.
    How about this: Incurious George as a vulture, again. This time he’s sitting on a crossbar, tight view. First frame he says that we’ve got to invade Iraq because Saddam worked with Osama on 9/11. Second frame, he says we’ve got to invade because Saddam has WMD and might attack us. Third frame, we’ve got to depose Saddam because he’s a brutal tyrant who tortures and murders Iraqis. Fourth frame, we’ve got free Iraq and make it a democracy to transform the Mid-East…
    Final frame, draw back and show Cheney on a tractor pulling the goal post with Bush perched on the crossbar and a trail of American bodies following them.
    Ok, there was no toilet humor in the final one. Maybe Arial’s “fabulous mind” can come up with some.
    Meanwhile you and Arial should try to explain why your continued support for the sacrifice of more American lives under an incompetent CnC in an intractable Iraqi civil war isn’t the definition of obscene.

  11. Herb Brasher

    Randy, I don’t think it’s the same person, but he took the name off of that website and used it. Personally, I’m convinced that Mike Toreno is the same person, and he/she got a well-deserved thrashing on Well, I’ve gotten reminders there, too, because if you stray off topic there (which is how religion is viewed in the press), they let you know about it. And if you use ad hominem arguments, they simply and unceremoniously delete your comment. Makes for a very civil discussion.


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