16 October 2007
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ZACHARY KANIN
ZACH KANIN: DAY TWO
RIFF MARKET PRESENTS: ZACHARY KANIN WEEK
TODAY: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR OF THE SHORT BOOK (AS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR)
Yesterday I kicked off Zachary Kanin Week at Riff Market, in support of the New Yorker cartoonist's debut release The Short Book, out now and purchasable. Today Zach provides exclusive answers for some of the more popular interview questions he's had to field over the last few weeks. Thanks for reading. --NBS
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ZACHARY KANIN
What is your favorite thing to do?
ZK: My favorite thing to do is to ride in my Dad’s 1986 Volvo Sedan from Providence to New Bedford with the windows down at night, wearing one of those blue bubble jackets with a fur or fleece interior, smoking cigarettes, and listening to shitty guitar rock from the 70s.
What kind of cigarettes?
Unimportant. I don’t know how to smoke cigarettes so I just try to keep them lit without smoking too much.
What do you do in New Bedford?
Nobody goes to New Bedford, they’re all just passin’ through.
Do you want to talk about the book?
Looking at your post from yesterday I noticed that that is probably the worst excerpt from the book.
I thought it was good.
It’s out of context. The context is that the whole book is about musicians and that chapter is just about short ones. Sort of misleading.
Now you’re being misleading.
I’m trying to sell myself here. Do you remember in late 2004 whenever you would go to a Loew’s movie theater and the movie screen would sing “Thank you for coming to Loews, sit back and relax, enjoy the show!” and everyone in the audience would respond “Thank you the pleasures all ours, we’re really relaxed, so start the show!”?
Of course. That happened at every movie playing at Loews throughout the whole country.
What a crazy phenomenon. Someday I’ll tell my kids about that.
How are your kids?
They’re not good. Hilsy’s got the mumps and Josh Rogan Josh has the hiccups goin’ on three year now. Thanks for asking though.
We’re running out of space, do you want to say anything else about the book?
Sure. If you feel short sometimes, this book deals with a lot of your issues, and is mainly just a really funny book with some funny illustrations. Christina did a lot of research for it also, and there are a lot of interesting facts and anecdotes in it. It’s also a good bathroom read, because it is broken into increments that correspond to various bathroom acts in terms of time.
Where can you buy it?
Any bookstore. It’s in the reference section of a lot of bookstores, which is confusing because that means it’s between LSAT books and dictionaries. But that speaks volumes about how well this book can help you on your LSATs.
What’s the worst part of being short?
Just livin’ man. It’s almost too much to take.
What’s the best part?
This sort of turned into a James Lipton interview at some point. I’m sorry about that.
When did you write this book?
I started writing it about four years ago for a Blue Mountain Books internship. Then I rewrote it from last October through June about. I did the illustrations June-July.
But you were working at the time?
I was working at The New Yorker as the Assistant Cartoon Editor. I read all of the captions for the caption contest at the back of the magazine and narrowed them down.
How many captions was that?
About 8000 a week on average. I started to have serious problems with my eyes by the time I left, which was worrisome to me, because I need my eyes.
And you were cartooning?
Right, I was and am submitting about 15 cartoons a week to The New Yorker.
What is your best cartoon?
My most popular cartoon is a tombstone with the inscription “Wouldn’t Stop Picking At It.” My least popular cartoon was two guys with scalpels operating on something on a table and saying “There’s gotta be an easier way to get candy from a baby.”
That seems a little out there for The New Yorker.
A lot of people wrote in. One guy wrote that injury to an infant is unacceptable to the species. People thought that I (and therefore The New Yorker) was advocating dissecting babies for their candy.
And you weren’t?
I submitted a follow-up cartoon that had two guys holding a vacuum cleaner to a baby’s mouth and saying “There’s gotta be an easier way to get an appendix out of a baby.” It didn’t fly.