When Steve Martin was a Ghost Gag Writer

It seems that before famed comedian Steve Martin teamed up with famed cartoonist Harry Bliss last year, Steve had earlier been writing gags for a cartoonist.

No, this is not about his 2007 collaboration with Roz Chast.

At Inkspill Michael Maslin pulls a line from today’s New York Times interview with Steve Martin (or read it here via the Orlando Sentinel) about his and Harry’s new book.

Martin has written comics before, in secret. Years ago, he used to ghostwrite punch lines and comic scenarios for a cartoonist, who published some of their creations, in The New Yorker. Martin never took credit for the cartoons, and he declined to name the cartoonist, who died five years ago.

Michael proceeds to suss out the unnamed cartoonist for whom Steve Martin ghost wrote gags.

Mr. Martin, by giving us a time-frame, has let the ID of his previous collaborating cartoonist out of the bag. No New Yorker cartoonist passed away in 2015, but seven (or possibly eight*) did in 2016: William Hamilton, Jerry Dumas, Peter Porges, Frank Modell, Anatol Kovarsky, Michael Crawford, and Robert Weber.

Michael gives another couple hints, and with the help of Michael’s The New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z index you to can figure out who the mysterious cartoonist was.