Horse Hat

(Make the smallerness disappear with one-click embiggenation.”)

Today’s Bizarro is brought to you by Creativity.

I’ve long been a person who likes hats. When drawing characters, accessories like hats and clothing add a lot to the information about the character. If you draw a naked person, the only thing that tips off the viewer as to what kind of character he/she might be is the hair. Without clothes, so much is hidden: the era the character is from, their social class, what kind of job they might have, whether they are introverted, extroverted, a dignified person of refined taste or a raving lunatic.

I started wearing hats back in the 90s when my grandfather passed away. When asked by the family if there was anything of Grandpa’s that I’d like to have, I asked for his fedora, which he often wore with the brim flipped up all the way around. I wear mine that way now, too. (The front edge flipped down is too Bing Crosby for my taste.)

The cowboy in this cartoon has found yet another use for a hat and he came by the idea the hard way; it can be quite a shock to the system to get up in the middle of the night to take a leak and walk straight into an invisible horse.

Everyone in their right mind is afraid of bears, as they well should be. We are natural enemies in that they are large, powerful carnivores and we are made almost entirely of meat. By saying that, I do not mean we should wage war on bears, of course. We should just stay out of their way.

In the spring of 2003, I was attending a party in Los Angeles and met a man who had spent more than a decade living among Grizzly bears in Alaska. I chatted with him for about half an hour and found out all about his unusual life and his strange comfort level around these wild animals and how he considered them to literally be personal friends. I thought his dedication to protecting them was admirable, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a catastrophe waiting to happen. A few months later, in October of that same year, he and his girlfriend were killed by a Grizzly at their camp. I didn’t know him very well, of course, but since I had spoken with him only a few months earlier I could not help but feel a kind of chill go up my spine. Werner Herzog later made a movie about it.

Moral of the story: It’s great to love animals and want to protect them from humans. It’s not always great to want to pet them.

Okay, I think I’ve done enough cartoons about the difficulties of couple’s counseling. I worry that people are going to think that Olive Oyl and I are not getting along, which, I’m thrilled to report, is far from true.

BUT…I’ve done a fair amount of couples counseling in the past with various wives and lady partners, and have had mixed experiences. Some of it was super helpful, other encounters were a painful waste of time and money. In retrospect, I have come to see the failed attempts as being the result of attending counseling with the wrong partner and the wrong therapist.

This cartoon sprang from the fact that so many people are selling hand-made stuff online these days. I’ve been trying to find ways to monetize Bizarro with products and such, too, but it is difficult because I don’t have regular characters that people fall in love with and will buy any piece of garbage I slap them onto. If you’re a big Bizarro fan, let me know what kind of products you might like to see. And be as specific as you can.  If you’d buy a T-shirt, would it be just one of my cartoons on a shirt, or would you like to see special art that just says Bizarro and has a cool picture or something? Like one of my title panels. (Here are four examples) Or something completely different? Bizarro dishtowels? Socks? Shivs?

The first part of this caption is from actual commercials about erectile dysfunction. I used to work in the advertising field and found it unappealing on many levels. I’m one of those guys who mutes TV commercials within one second of their appearance and I go quietly nuts when watching TV at someone’s house who doesn’t do that.

I admit that some commercials are authentically funny, but my favorites are the ones that are accidentally funny. Like the one for the online dating service that is only for farmers. (If you’ve not seen it, google it.)

One of the most prominent erectile dysfunction drug companies has one that has had me scratching my head (no pun intended) for years by ending each commercial with an older couple sitting in adjacent bathtubs, holding hands. What? I’ve thought about it for years and still can’t come up with a scenario in which advertising people pitch it to the executives from the boner company and they respond with a thumbs-up. (Except in the scenario where they’ve taken so much of their own product that their thumbs are permanently sticking up.)

I got one piece of hate mail from the cartoon above. A longtime reader said that I was being condescending and that I was better than that. I responded a bit brusquely about the vastly underestimated importance of the press in protecting us from politicians, and then I trashed Fox News and praised the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR. This didn’t sit well with the reader and he said I’d lost a fan.

Personally, I don’t trust TV news because they are slaves to ratings. As Fox News discovered that fear and terror sells and began to shoot up in the ratings, other networks followed suit and added an unacceptable amount of sensationalism to the news. These days I only trust NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other old, venerable institutions that care more about their reputations than their ratings. Yes, I know people will argue with that view. That’s fine. None of us actually knows what is real and true anymore, if we ever did.

I’ve long used the term “grammar nazi” to describe people (like me) who were good at grammar and spelling in school and were taught that those things are perhaps more important than they actually are, and so they correct others with the best of intentions but less than pleasant results.

But, now that there are Nazi sympathizers in the White House on a daily basis (Bannon at least, probably more) I’ve decided to give up the use of “Nazi” when describing things other than people who sympathize with the tenets of the Nazi party.  This seems to me to be a time when it is not wise to marginalize that moniker with humor. Instead, when referring to pests like myself, I’ve switched to “grammilitia,” which doesn’t have quite the same ring but works pretty well. I’ll conclude by saying though I still believe in the importance of grammar and spelling in many areas, I am embarrassed by the number of times I’ve corrected people and have given up the habit, so this cartoon is self-flagellating.

Thanks for reading this far, Jazz Pickles. I truly appreciate the positive responses and donations I’ve received from readers of late, so thanks for that. As my readership shifts to being primarily online where I don’t get paid for my efforts, I continue to depend more on those of you who enjoy supporting the art and ideas that you enjoy. Here are some easy ways to do that:

You can make a onetime donation or sign up for a monthly contribution through my Tip Jar.  Any amount is appreciated and used for food, shelter, and the causes of good against evil.

Thanks also to those of you who bought one or more copies of my new book! (only $6!)

You could also help support my efforts by purchasing a color print from King Features (from about $25 to $100 framed.) They make your house, trailer, or abandoned van down by the river look much more elegant.

Finally, a limited-edition, signed and numbered, archival fancy schmancy fine art print ($200) or original inked Bizarro panel (more $) from this online art gallery is the perfect gift for yourself or some other lucky fool. All of these things help me keep the gates of Rancho Bizarro open for fun-loving caballeros like you!

Until next week, be happy, be smart, be nice.

Topiary Rat

Strangely, this cartoon T-shirt of mine is back on sale until 8pm Pacific Time tonight. People kept ordering them, so they opened the campaign up again. So cool!

Bizarro 09-20-15 hdrWEB(To experience more largerness, click any bush on the cartoon below.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Terror.Bizarro 09-20-15 WEBHere’s a bit of surreal fun for your Sunday. Not quite as surreal as Donald Trump being a front runner for the Republican nomination, but strange nonetheless. By the way, if you’ve not see the recent New Yorker cover illustration about the election, click this to see it now. I think it is a brilliant concept that perfectly illustrates certain factions of the American electorate. If you don’t quite get the joke, you’re likely not familiar with this photo and what happened in 1948 with major party presidential nominees Harry S Truman and Thomas Dewey. Dewey was well ahead in the polls on election day and a Chicago newspaper had the next day’s headline locked in and printed. But then Truman won. The NYker cover isn’t about the entire story, I think it is simply about the fact that America has become a place where people will vote for blowhard celebrities for president, instead of people who might actually do a good job.

bz panel 09-14-15This cartoon is simply about what a drag “real” life can often be and how it takes heroic efforts on our parts just to wade through it. Yes, being a refugee escaping your war-torn country is infinitely more difficult, but dealing with decades of tedium can be rough, too.

bz panel 09-15-15I got some nice comments on this simple, surreal twist on elevators. It made me happy.

bz panel 09-16-15My good friend, Jon Kroll (one of the executive producers of that weird TV show I was on for a few months last year) really loved this Monopoly gag because he’s a big fan of board games. I wonder if there are jails anywhere that allow inmates to play Monopoly and if so, how many millions of times they’ve come across that card and laughed. Or cried, as the case may be.

bz panel 09-17-15I’ve gotta say I really love this newscaster cartoon. It’s an example of my favorite kind of single-panel gag; it looks like one thing but turns out to be something else when you look more closely. It just occurred to me that the news guy looks a bit like Principal Skinner from The Simpsons, but that was unintentional. The dude on the couch is drawn a bit in the style of the late, great B. Kliban. Consider it a tribute.

bz panel 09-18-15I’m proud to report that this zen/smartphone gag was the brainchild of my beloved Olive Oyl. I thought it was pretty great, hope you do, too. She and I are both fans of philosophy, so this kind of thing makes us giggle.

bz panel 09-19-15Once again I return to the rich comedy vein of footlong hot dogs. Here’s a favorite one of mine from 1997.

That’s the week that was, Jazz Pickles. I hope your week was stellar and next week will be even better. If you get a chance, check me out on Instagram @danpiraro. I post stuff there that I don’t put on my blog.

Prison Begs Execution Horse’s Ass

Bizarro 01-04-15 hdrWEb Bizarro 01-04-15 WEBbz panel 01-01-15bz strip 01-01-15bz panel 01-02-15bz strip 01-02-15bz panel 01-03-15bz strip 01-03-15(To unsmall any image in this post, click it with your mice device.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Too Late.

According to recent emails and comments, today’s humorous illustration about prison has proved to be pretty popular with people who thought it was funny. This makes me happy, too, so it’s a win/win. The idea for this one came from my good buddy, Cliff Harris The King Of Worldplay, who also makes me happy.

Late last week, the following cartoons were published worldwide on an as-needed basis. The street-corner beggar is a philosophical twist on an old cartoon motif, which isn’t as laugh-out-loud-funny as it is incredibly deep and thought provoking.

The next one, with the guy about to face a firing squad, is also a modern take on an old cartoon motif.I thought that would be clear, but one reader told me that the execution cartoon “goes too far” in light of the recent beheadings by terrorists. Sorry if anyone else thought that’s where I was going with this, it most certainly wasn’t. While I believe that one of the best ways to deal with fear and tragedy is humor, this gag is not funny enough (nor editorial enough) to justify publishing so soon after that kind of event so I wouldn’t have done that. Just for the record.

My last ‘toon in this batch is a funny situation between a centaur and his personal healthcare professional. Getting health insurance (in the U.S., the only “civilized” country that doesn’t offer free health care to all citizens) must be a real pain in the ass for this poor schmuck. My German penpal, Michael Roth, and I kicked around a dozen centaur cartoons before I finally settled on drawing this one. Thanks, Mr. R.

REZARRO: From 2009, I bring you this view of centaurs and other mythological beings. This one still gives me a chuckle, hope it works the same way for you.

bizarro 02-15-09 CentaurWEB


Java Jail Ovum Puke

bz panel 06-02-14bz strip 06-02-14bz panel 06-03-14bz strip 06-03-14bz panel 06-04-14bz strip 06-04-14



Bizarro is brought to you today by Products To Avoid.


There’s been a lot in the news lately about various companies looking into using small drones like the one in this cartoon for home delivery of products bought online. I can’t believe this idea will “fly,” considering it will mean that eventually there will be thousands of little robots flying around with boxes hooked to the bottom, getting shot down by everyone from mischievous kids to thieves who hope to get lucky and not end up with a pair of fluffy slippers some grandmother ordered. This idea came from the brilliant and handsome, if not hygienic, Dan McConnell, a good friend and cartoonist colleague. If you want to see more of his work, he hangs out here.









This jail cartoon doesn’t refer to any specific meme, it’s just one of those odd musings that came my way while writing cartoons. The glass separating inmates from visitors has always intrigued me. I hope to never find myself on the orange-jumpsuit side of one.











Have you ever seen a menu that offered “two eggs any style”?  Well, I don’t care much for stylish eggs and neither does this gentleman.










bz 10-29-02 PezBulemiaWEBPREZARROS: Another thing you can eat is Pez candy. Overly-cautious parents may want to avoid these harmful toy-candies, however.

Garbage and Crap

bz panel 10-14-13bz strip 10-14-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Wholesomeness.

As I’ve discussed on this blog before, no matter how long I’m in the syndicated cartoon business, I never cease to be amazed by the kinds of things that are and are not accepted for publication on newspaper funny pages. This cartoon is another example; the original version had “Crap” on the menu and the waiter was saying, “May I recommend the crap?” The childish crudeness of the term made this a funnier gag, in my opinion. But I was told that “crap” could not be used (because it is such a powerful, pernicious, society-corrupting word?) so I opted for the next best thing. The gag is the same, I guess, and America is still safe for women and children so it’s a happy ending. WHEW!






BIZARROVERS: bz 09-07-00 SolitaryWEB As proven above, smutty words are not allowed on the funny pages of newspapers but you can always get away with “cartoon cursing.” This cartoon from 2000 exhibits a prisoner in solitary confinement making lemons out of lemonade. Mmmm, delicious and refreshing.

Terror Cell

Bizarro was made possible today by Tough Customers.

Have you ever been to jail? I have not and confess that it is my greatest fear. Being incarcerated for even a few hours would drive me absolutely bat-shit crazy, which is likely why I can’t stand to see any animal of any kind in a cage of any kind unless it is only temporary transport to the vet or whatever.

This fear is entirely about loss of freedom and doesn’t begin to touch on the other difficulties of the process, like the rotten social life one is faced with in jail. I can’t say with absolute certainty because I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard that jails house some difficult personality types who can prove to be less than delightful to spend time with. Generally speaking, I don’t enjoy people of that type and strongly suspect they would make my stay even less tolerable.

So if I’m ever arrested, I would appreciate it if all of my Jazz Pickles would band together to overthrow the country, thus effecting my immediately release and the formation of a new constitution, one that does not include a law against whatever it was that I was arrested for. I know it is a lot to ask, but you’re my only hope.



Mao Dummy Alien Cat Pee God Santa Nixon Crook


(To see this cartoon as big as China, click on Mao’s third button.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Hover Cats.

I’ve been away for a while visiting my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was asked to deliver the commencement address at their midterm graduation and had a ball doing it. As many times as I have spoken and performed in public, I was pretty nervous. Big crowd, lots of big brains, funny outfits, a giant basketball scoreboard with a live video feed of me talking hanging over the center of the room right in front of me. To top it all off, I couldn’t see my notes so I had to mostly wing it. I guess it went okay.

I love this Mao joke, which was the idea of my colleague, Dan McConnell. Some folks won’t get it so here’s the quick summary explanation: Mao had a Little Red Book that everyone in China was “encouraged” to read. The punch line of this cartoon is the cover of the book, which says “LMAO,” which, if you’re over a certain age, you might not know is a common text abbreviation for “laughed my ass off.” Instead of just featuring Mao with the book, I decided to go hog-ass wild and create an entire propaganda poster. It was a daunting undertaking but I had a ton of fun creating it. I’ve always loved those posters; here is the one I mostly based this one on.

Lots of people wrote to me to say they liked this crash test dummy gag. Crash test dummies are a perpetually rich vein of humor. I’ve got another good one coming up on Sunday, January 13. Here’s one I did in ’07.






Up next is a Martian playing fetch with the Mars rover. That sucker is a pain to draw, I can tell you. The strangest thing about this cartoon is that apparently both the Martian and the rover speak English. Veteran Jazz Pickles will notice that the Martian looks a bit like the alien I drop into the background of my cartoons. (See the upper left corner of the crash test dummy cartoon above.)



And now a cat joke about the legendary nine lives of cats. Cute gag, but nothing much to say about it other than that I think I did a good job with the expressions and body language of the cats. I try to put a lot into this kind of detail with the blind faith that there are readers out there who notice and appreciate things like that.




This “Exit Poll” gag is a favorite of mine. I love the dry aspect of the humor and also the odd fact that if the man’s response had been “Number two,” it likely would have been refused by some of my client newspapers. People are funny. Incidentally, I’m not a big fan of “potty” humor but this one makes me chuckle.

My next gag, featuring James Cromwell as god, is from my good friend and known associate, Wayno of Pittsburgh. I love this gag because it cleverly lampoons the fact that so many people attribute their successes and aspirations to divine intervention. When I hear a football player or a Grammy winner thank god for their victory I always wonder if the losers in the same contest were not smart enough to pray for a win, or if god just didn’t like them as well as the one who won. The most absurd application of this phenomenon is politicians who claim god told them to run for office. Those candidates virtually never win (because most voters sense they are delusional) which means one of two things: there is no god, or god convinced them to run for office to give them a dose of much needed humility.

When I submitted this cartoon about Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, there was some question among the editors at King Features if any of my client newspapers would reject it because of the word “crap.” Yes, some Americans can be that childish sometimes. I am happy to report, however, that none did and we didn’t hear a peep of complaint. I love (idiotic) hate mail so I was a little disappointed but I did find it encouraging.

My penultimate gag of this Komedy Kartoon Kavalcade is this dandy little scene of two turkeys talking in heaven. If you’re not familiar with the U.S. tradition of our president pardoning a turkey each Thanksgiving (started by Abraham Lincoln), you will have been mystified by this gag. And if you don’t remember your U.S. history, Richard Nixon was very famously pardoned by incoming sock-puppet president, Gerald Ford, after he was forced to resign from office because of criminal activity. Richard Nixon is also famous for being one of the most easily caricatured persons in the history of the human race. Still, I’m proud of the caricature I created since it’s not something I’ve practiced much.

Lastly, another cartoon collaboration with Wayno. I thought this joke was fun because I have a striped shirt like this that I wear fairly often. I’m not a pirate, Frenchman, burglar, or mime, but it is a replica of a shirt that Pablo Picasso was fond of wearing, so I wear it when I want to pretend I’m him. Here is what Wayno has to say about it.

That’s it for now. I’ve enjoyed spending these few minutes with you. Also, I like what you’ve done with your hair.

Prisoner of Humor

Bizarro is brought to you today by Wayno.

Here is Day Two of Wayno’s week-long commandeering of Bizarro.If you missed the story behind my having a Guest Cartoonist this week, read this previous post.

I love the wordplay here and enjoy anything that skewers high fashion. The fact that a given fashion “designer” can cover an object with their own ugly logo and millions of robotic humans will mistake it for attractive has long been a mystery to me. I don’t carry a purse, but if I did, I’d go for something more like the one in this cartoon, or this one.

Which brings to my mind the subject of prison outfits. They used to be striped, presumably so that if they escaped, you could spot them easily. This system was devised at a time when everyone wore “normal” clothing. Nowadays, no matter what you put prisoners in, you could not immediately pick them out of a crowd.

And what of this road sign, seen on American highways near prisons? When I see these things I wonder what the proper course of action is if I should see a hitchhiker. Should I drive past the hitchhiker because he might be an escaping inmate? Swerve and hit him, thus helping out the local authorities? Or should I pick him up in case he is escaping inmates who are chasing him. What would you do?

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