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The SneakyArt (Insider) Podcast
Ep 67 - Stand up & Sit down with Jason Chatfield

Ep 67 - Stand up & Sit down with Jason Chatfield

the new episode of the sneaky art podcast!

Dear listener,

I am pleased to present the latest episode of the SneakyArt Podcast! New York-based cartoonist and comedian

speaks about taking over Australia’s iconic daily comic strip, Ginger Meggs, at the tender age of 23, and how he sees the path ahead for syndicated comic strips and the newspaper industry.

Other topics include - the evolution of humour over time, not doing political comedy, Derrida, and people-watching at the MoMA. Big stuff. Also, the difference between meme-ification and mummification.

This is the first episode of a two-part conversation.

📚 Buy Jason’s book, You’re not a Real Parent until…

📲 Check out Jason’s website to learn about all his work.

📪 Sign up to Jason’s Substack.

📣 You can also find this episode on your choice of streaming service - Spotify | Apple | PocketCasts | Google

Did you know I do all the work around this podcast myself?
That means everything from reaching out to potential guests, dreaming up questions, and actually having the conversation, to editing, mixing and producing the episode itself.
This is a lot of work but I love to do it. And the support of SneakyArt Insiders supports the time and effort I need to do it the way I love. If you love the show too, support my work by becoming a SneakyArt Insider!

“I am speaking with New York-based cartoonist and comedian, Jason Chatfield. If that sounds like MSN Messenger came to life and tried to be your friend, I can confirm that Jason has heard that joke already.

Until recently, Jason was the President of the National Cartooning Society in America. Before this, he was President of the Australian Cartoonists Association. They have a gavel in the shape of a pencil but otherwise, it’s very serious business. Before we started recording, he insisted that I stop calling him Mr. President. I can report that since the recording of this episode, Jason is no longer President. He left office in disgrace and is presently hiding in the woods in upstate New York. This week he sent me a drawing of a hen. He says he will be back in 4 years to make cartooning great again.

Jason only recently became an American citizen, and a lot of this episode is about growing up, or should I say growing down under in that strange land far, far away, known as Australia. Before the recording, Jason confided in me that he is extremely self-conscious about his ridiculous accent and unable to deal with further jokes about his dark past as an Australian. Portions of this conversation may be extremely difficult to understand, but I hope you find sympathy in your heart for Jason’s unfortunate circumstances. I would recommend listening at 0.5x. Maybe consider an AI transcription service.

As good people, it is incumbent upon us to accept Australians as they are, not how we want them to be.

Jason would apologize for himself because he’s a really nice guy, but he just does not have a clue. When he first came to the US, nobody told him about it because it would be awkward and they wanted to avoid a scene. And now it’s just been too long.

To break into the scene in New York, Jason did multiple sets of open-mic standup 6 nights a week for 3 years. Six nights a week, for 3 years. He is Australia’s most widely syndicated cartoonist, producing the iconic 102-year-old daily comic, Ginger Meggs. His cartoons have appeared in the New Yorker, he is the portrait illustrator of the Waking Up app, and he just made a book.

It seems like Jason does more things every week than I could do in half a year, but I suspect this is a ruse, a trick of some kind, and he is really 3 separate Australians inside a trench-coat. And maybe because that truth is so heartbreaking, I choose to perpetuate the illusion instead.

Jason is amazing, guys, you are going to love this conversation. Enjoy!”

🎭 Jason returns from his fifteenth time at San Diego ComicCon, but this time it was different without Hollywood stars (because of the Strike).

🖋️ Getting over perfectionism, and using ink and nib to do it

📚 Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

📚 Dr. Norman Rosenthal, The Gift of Adversity

🎙 [19:39] The episode begins, formally

🗞️ What is Ginger Meggs about? And what is Australian humour about?

🗞️ How comics syndication works across the world, and its links to migration and expat populations.

🤳🏼 Maintaining the continuity of a legacy strip while keeping step with social and cultural change.

[30:48] “Was it much easier or much harder to take on the responsibility?” - Nishant, on Jason becoming the sole cartoonist of Ginger Meggs at age 23

📺 The death of newspapers and the fracturing of the media landscape

When you’re writing comedy what you’re relying on is a common truth.” - Jason, on not doing political comedy anymore.

🎤 The amazing story of how Jason entered the NYC comedy scene. Check out his Substack!

When you’re writing jokes for people … you’re really keeping your audience in mind.” - Jason, on writing across different media to different audiences

✍🏼 Nishant, on Derrida and deconstructionism, and the meanings of words.

🗓️ Jason talks about how jokes and comic strips change over time because of how words evolve.

[62:00] “Words are so bad at meaning things and that’s like the one job they have.” - Nishant, on words.

🖼️ The importance of art in an age of text.

🎨 Going to the MoMA, art history, and why people like to see art.

How do [digital natives] relate to something and if it's memefied, then do they give it a second glance? What do they stop at and what makes them suddenly look again?” - Nishant, on Meme-fied vs mummified and people-watching at the MoMA.

🤳🏼 How does Jason deal with people taking his comedy out of context because of meme-ification and the content mill of social media? Has Jason changed his act at all with TikTok or Reels in mind?

✍🏼 Goodhart’s Law and how it applies to numbers on social media

🎙 Never Look at the Numbers

🌏 Going back to the start in Perth (Australia), home of Jason Chatfield and a famous cricket stadium.

📺 Obligatory Kath and Kim reference.

In the next episode, the final part of this conversation. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topics of this episode. Let’s discuss in the comments!

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The SneakyArt (Insider) Podcast
Best ideas from a journey of self-education. For Insider ears only.