More O’Malley

March 30th, 2011

Continuing with the world according to O’Malley.  

Last time, O’Malley, a/k/a my brother Michael talked about getting started and a few of his themes.

Following along on those lines, here are some more thoughts themes, and also what kinds of taboos cartoonists face, especially when their work is featured in newspapers, which are obviously family-oriented.

Mike: For the first time in years I have had to review a body of my work.  I have found it surprisingly G-rated  In a world where words are routinely used that would have been unimaginable twenty years ago, I haven’t used one swear word.  Even that phrase seem outdated..

Maybe you don’t need shock value to make something funny.  A punch line has to be so concise that If a word is unnecessary it doesn’t go in.  That’s probably true of conversation too.  What is the old saying; “Wisdom comes too late in life to be of any real use.”   Anyway it was a revelation to me that I thought was worth sharing (that and  Im running out of things to say) .

Mike: So what did I know about when I started?  I had bartended through graduate school, and before my paintings started selling. Drunks were and are fair game.  Nothing too mean spirited; that would remain a basic tenet of my cartooning.  If I didn’t think a drunk would laugh at the caption then I wouldn’t do it.  I applied the same rule to whoever the subject was.  This is my first drunk cartoon:

I had actually witnessed that. Which brings me to the next tenet of cartooning–  there has to be a large element of truth in it to be funny.

So drunks, within  limits, are fair game.  Minorities by and large aren’t, although you can get away with it if things are funny without being mean-spirited.  Here’s a sort of Jewish joke that I think works on that level.

My burqa jokes are both funny and to some offensive.  I’m saved from a moral dilemma by the fact most people would never print them.

The exception to all my rules are, of course, the French.  They  are simply targets.

One more Grim Reaper joke to close out the day.

For the third and possibly final installment, I thought I’d ask Mike to share his ideas about the creative process, which I think are extremely insightful.

13 Responses to “More O’Malley”

  1. Tom Logan Says:

    Hooray, hooray. As they say at McDonalds, I’m lovin’ it.

  2. EverettK Says:

    Another fun group, Mike! Hard to pick my favorite from this group. I found it a little (non-intended) humorous that the “I think she likes” me cartoon has been signed by BOTH “O’Malley” and “Hallinan.”

    I understand what you’re saying about trying to avoid offensive cartoons, but I think most of the BEST humor always treads at least close to the line of offending someone (if not drifting clear across the line into oncoming traffic), whether it’s TSA workers, drunks, Jews, French or computer geek nerds like myself. 🙂

  3. munyin Says:

    Hi! I’ve been lovin’ Mikey’s cartoons, the narrative on his creative process–Mike communicates as a deeply thoughtful, very observant & quietly knock-out funny guy that he is. & I had to go back and look at what Everett noticed & sure enough, Mike signed O’Malley & Hallinan in the “I think she likes me” cartoon. I bet Everett would be a great coin or stamp collector with his eye for detail. I hope Mike’s cartoon’s become a regular feature to anticipate.

  4. micael hallinan Says:

    hi Everett, the initial cartoons were O’malley by Hallinan. But as I said yesterday I wanted to do them under an alias. Maybe Tim can print a finished cartoon with the heading that may seem familiar to some of you.

  5. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Everett notices everything, doesn’t he? I love installment two, and I have to admit I like the French one best today. There is so competitiveness between the euro nations, the French of course are the classiest. Please, can we have a little more?

  6. Jerry Shaw Says:

    Mike has been a friend of mine for 50 years he has always been funny. I think I remember the drunk girl at the bar!

  7. Phil Hanson Says:

    Yo, Mikey (or Micey, if you insist on the “c”-only spelling of your name), love your humor. Outrageous and brilliant! Your “grim reaper” cartoons reminded me of Dead Like Me,my favorite TV series of all time (I liked it even better than Weeds), which was also outrageous and brilliant and pure comic genius on every level. Did you ever publish any ‘toons in Playboy?

  8. micael hallinan Says:

    Tom, thanks for the two hoorays. We should give one to Everett he seems to be out of them. Munyin, I appreciate the support. Lil, I’m going to give you my French army knife with the little white flag next to the corkscrew. Good to hear from my OLD friend Jerry. No Phil I haven’t been in any magazines. This has been more or less a hobby. I dont have any idea how one gets published in a national magazine.

  9. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Well, lookit all this. Knocks me out.

    Mike’s work is just as funny to me as it is to you. The text I originally put together for this from a bunch of e-mails he sent me was pretty flat, so we talked this morning and he came up with the G-rated aspect, which works really well with his conviction that things can’t be mean-spirited. (I particularly love the flasher in the garment district.)

    Thanks to all of you for writing — I’ll let micael handle all the individual responses. The third installment is also going to be killer.

  10. EverettK Says:

    Hey! If you were choking on your spit, you’d be a little short on hoorays, too!
    [Mental picture: Micael as a little short guy flying high after snorting hoorays…]

    Sheesh. Me and Rodney Dangerfield.

  11. Annie Says:

    Please, submit to the New Yorker!
    Wonderful cartoons, Micael.

  12. Usman Says:

    And where was I when this started?

    Hello Tim. I’ve been away and am so glad to be back. This is outright hilarious.


  13. Laren Bright Says:

    I very much enjoyed Michael’s cartoons & his thoughts here on Tim’s blog. That’s a real gift, being able to capture & convey so much expression in a few lines in a cartoon. Always admired that a lot. Having been an animation writer for 7 years I was always blown away by what the artists could do.

Leave a Reply