The Corner

Lay Off The Mimes

Few days ago I posted the following plea to The Corner: “It would be a

great relief if someone would please explain to me the point of the cartoon

on p. 68 of the current (Feb. 2) New Yorker. Or is this some new postmodern

style of cartooning, with no point at all?”

The most popular explanation of this mysterious cartoon is that the four

guys with flowers in their hats are mimes, being introduced into the

prisoner’s cell to torture him with their performances. I don’t feel sure

this is right. Do mimes have flowers in their hats? Why do we need four?

Wouldn’t one have made the point equally well? Etc., etc.

Be all that as it may, I am a bit fed up with all this snide stuff about

mimes. Listen: I LIKE MIMES. Like any other acquired skill, miming can be

done well or badly. When it’s done well, though, it is clever and funny.

Rosie and I went to Sea World in Orlando, Fla., round about 1987. There was

a show with some performing seals. Before the seals came on, a mime was

sent in to warm up the audience. I suppose it was just some amateur — a

vacationing student, perhaps — but his act was one of the best things I

have ever seen, and the whole audience were in stitches.

I realise I may be plowing a lonely furrow here, but is anyone else willing

to admit to enjoying mime?

Mime joke.


A–Marcel Marceau on his day off.


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