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Gary Larson's Far Side Cartoons
The Far Side, by Gary Larson
If there's anyone who can consistently make me laugh, it's Gary Larson and his Far Side cartoons.
Published in syndicated newspapers for 14 years until 1995, Larson's "The Far Side" can still be found on greeting cards, calendars, and in books. His wry and insightful sense of humor appeals to many. A great number of people were disappointed when Larson decided to retire from regular publishing, although his work lives on. Larson enjoys a huge fan base of people who love his jokes.
About Larson Growing Up
He was born in Tacoma, Washington, just south of Seattle, in 1950. Not surprisingly, he had a love for science growing up, which is reflected in many of his cartoons that poke fun at scientists and other educated people. He claims that his older brother "tormented" him, which in turn gave him a unique paranoia. Larson says that the paranoia creeps into his work -- especially his drawings of monsters.
A History of Gary Larson's The Far Side
It didn't take Larson long to get his funny cartoons published. After only a couple of submissions, he had a gig in The Seattle Times, starting in 1979. The original cartoon was published under the title "Nature's Way." Eventually, Larson pitched the cartoon to a San Francisco newspaper, which promoted it for syndication as The Far Side. And, the rest is history . . .
The usual butts of his jokes range from scientists, cows, dinosaurs, dogs, chickens, deer, devils, to, well, regular people. Larson's cartoons are never outwardly political or religious. The biggest controversy he ever stirred up was in relation to a cartoon that he published that referenced the "tramp" Jane Goodall, in a chimpanzee cartoon. Jane Goodall herself found the cartoon funny and was not offended, although her organization had originally demanded a retraction and apology from Larson.
Larson's observations are primarily aimed at the silliness and stupidity of the human race. And with regard to that topic, you can't help but laugh!
Larson is a Comedic Genius
The expressions of Larson's characters are priceless. He captures the annoyed look of a housewife, the terrified look of passengers on a plane, and the goofy look of a simpleton -- all with a few pen strokes. Larson's humorous observations of the mundane details of everyday life, from laundry to childcare, make you laugh out loud because they are so accurate. It's amazing to think that this guy never had art lessons.
Why is Gary Larson so Funny?
Larson has an uncanny ability to take a "what if," outlandish scenario and transform it into a straight-faced offering of life as it would be with talking dogs, walking cows, hunting deer, and aliens. He sometimes positions regular people in these unlikely contexts, and then tops it off with an off-hand observation in the caption.
Larson doesn't rely on puns or other tactics for his jokes. What makes his cartoons so effective is the idea that you are viewing a snapshot of these silly situations.
Why We Love Larson's The Far Side Cartoons
There's simply not enough room in a single Hub to showcase all of the best works of Gary Larson. Many of his cartoons are very well-known, such as the ones featuring what you say to a dog, what a dog hears, and the real reason dinosaurs became extinct. Others may be new treasures that you'll discover in his books or by searching on the internet. My personal favorite way to enjoy Larson's work is with a day-by-day calendar. I get one each year, which allows me the opportunity for a fresh joke each day.
There is much more Gary Larson available on the website below, or search through some of the books referenced on this site. Don't laugh too hard, now!