I need to frequent more bars.

Happy Hour cartoon
Bar cartoon copyrighted 2008.

The Idea

This is from my self-syndicated series, Daily Special. It ran in the LA Times for almost 5 years, and I slowly expanded it to reach a dozen other major newspapers (like the award-winning Minneapolis Taste section!) and alternates, like Nashville Scene. Daily Special is all about restaurants. Don’cha love them? I still think it’s so special when I get to go out and be served a carefully considered menu with a smile. I subtly stroke the lovely tablecloth, or get out markers to draw on the placemats, whichever seems more appropriate. Hopefully they’ll give us bread that doesn’t taste like it’s from the supermarket, as we start drooling when we read the menus.

(Tip: ask for the dessert menu before you order. When you know you’re going to get dessert, is the entree that important? And if they don’t have any dessert you like, pout, and leave a small tip.)

The Drawing

I was so nervous – almost paralyzed! – by the idea that hundreds of thousands of people would read me every week in the Times – including people I knew, some of whom were critical (Marty Murphy) some who were better! (Marty Murphy)- that I gave myself a break every month. Out of the 4 or 5 cartoons I did a month, one would just be a funny sign – without any people in the drawing. (Even though a person or stray dog adds some perspective to the size of a building or window.)

That took some of the anxiety away, but I felt so guilty that sometimes I added someone in, anyway. Or I would fancy up the drawing by adding doodads such as all the bricks here, and the little plants outside the bar. (I don’t go to bars very much, so had to imagine that part. I’ve never seen flowers outside a bar, but maybe in West Hollywood?)

My favorite drawings have minimal lines, so these details make it a worse drawing, I think. I admire when some cartoonists have a lot of crosshatching, and build weight with all kinds of interesting crunchy lines, but it didn’t work for me this time. Gah.

Drawing failures aside, the idea is more important, and one of my friends says it’s his fave, and always makes him laugh! Thanks, you know who you are!


The great thing about doing cartoons for newspapers is that they pretty much leave you alone, although they do check on language. They trust you to know what’s funny, what’s appropriate, etc. They take what you hand them, because could they do it? No.

I did this one both with Damn and Darn on the window, in case any papers objected. The Times did, but the others, (including Salt Lake Tribune!) didn’t! Of course, damn is funnier. (The word damn is a little smeared because I used Photoshop Elements to change the word, and I don’t understand how it erases ALL THE PIXELS. Hell is learning new graphics programs over and over.)

No more re-use elsewhere. YET (a cartoonist’s favorite word.) Sometimes you just gotta use it one great time, DAMN it.

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