The Comedian Ayo Edebiri Tries to Keep Up with a New Yorker Cartoonist

[light music]

We’re popping off. We’re making this all Fraggle Rock.

We’re making it craggly, put little rocks on the outside.

Oh! Okay.

[bouncy music]

Hello. My name is Zoe Si.

I’m a New Yorker cartoonist.

My work been featured in the New Yorker since 2020.

And with me today is Ayo Edebiri, comedian and writer.

She voices Missy on Big Mouth.

He’s been a really rude dude with a bad attitude.

[Zoe] And as a staff writer and actor on Dickinson.

I’m gonna be teaching Ayo how to draw a New Yorker cartoon

using verbal instructions only.

So she won’t be able to see what I’m doing.

I can’t see what she’s doing, but we’ll try our best.

And at the end we will reveal our creations to each other.

Creations is a good… is good… is a good word.

You will have a drawing. I will sort of have a thing.

[Zoe] There are four basic steps to making a cartoon.

First, we’re going to sketch it out.

Second, we’re going to go over that sketch with ink.

Then we’ll use what’s called an ink wash

to color it in and give it some shading and depth.

Lastly, at the end, we’ll each come up with a caption.

Okay. So the cartoon is two people in their apartment.

One person has dug a hole in the floor

and he is standing in the hole and his head’s poking out.

And the other person is

kneeling on the floor beside the hole,

kind of like looking at him in a concerned manner.

There’ll be like a couch in the background

just to signify that they’re in a house.

Easy peasy.

How comfortable are you with drawing?

When I close my eyes and imagine things,

it’s like, it’s black.

So you gotta walk me through some things. See, you know.

[page flipping]

Let’s start with the hole in the ground.

Love that.

It’s just going to be like a really long narrow ellipse.

Okay. And let’s put it in like the…

the bottom left kind of quadrant.

You’re not gonna believe my instincts.

Boom. Cause it was bottom left okay?

Okay amazing. There you go.

We’re on the same page.

Okay. Long ellipse.

Now we’re going to draw like a little semicircle

poking out of the hole and that’s his head.

Okay. I got you.

So kind of what’s happening for me is like

if there was like a potato out the ground maybe?

Not all the potato is out, but some of the potato is out.

[Zoe] Yeah, yes.

So he’s looking up

and so the eye will just be a dot

and it’s like kind of in the upper left corner

of that oval is the eyeball. Upper left?

Wait should I have drawn this in the right side?

Oh, did… did I say left?

Yes.

Jesus.

Okay. We’ll keep it on the left. Okay. Sorry.

So, okay. Let me, let me…

I’m going to throw up. Okay, okay.

[joyful music]

This guy is hot. I’m not gonna front.

This guy is looking good.

[joyful music continues]

Should I have draw the rest of his head or body?

[Zoe] His body is in the hole.

So like we only see his head poking out

Something went wrong.

Let me just, um, don’t worry.

I’ma get this together.

Okay. Here we go and I’m so nervous about this.

That my hand is shaking.

Oh.

Now we’re going to move on to the person

who was like kneeling next to him.

Sketch like a circle for the head.

So she has two eyes, which are two dots.

There’s a guy to my left on the floor.

Then there’s two eyes. But my head is like rotated.

Is that why it’s in the bottom?

[Zoe] Okay. Okay. You know what?

Um, just draw the first dot

in like the bottom left corner of that circle.

Corner, you know what I mean?

And then draw the second dot just like right next to that.

Just like next, just like on a straight line,

like next to it.

Uh-huh.

So she’s kneeling.

[Ayo] Yes. Starting from like,

the bottom right hand corner.

And just like draw like a curve line

Uh-huh.

So at the bottom of that curved line

you draw a straight line going from the right to the left.

[Ayo] Uh-huh.

That will just be like the hem of her shirt.

Something happened. Something happened with her back.

Don’t worry. Don’t worry.

Just know something happened with her back.

Now we have to drop her legs.

So you will draw a kind of C shape

with like the bottom of the C extending behind her butt.

Oh sure. Okay. Okay.

Her back was not doing that at all.

I’ma come back. I’ma come back with you.

I’ma come back.

Okay, oh boy.

Okay then…

Okay. Okay.

Then we get that curved…

C.

[Zoe] Are you seeing like,

you’re seeing like a leg.

Yeah but her body’s all…

[playful music]

Boom.

Ooh! Wait a minute.

Oh!

And now we just have to have the arms okay?

Arms are really easy.

They’re just like little noodles and she’s just like,

she’s just like sitting with her hands,

like folded in her lap. Okay?

[Ayo laughs]

[playful music continues]

So I like to just give people side bangs and ponytails

cause that seems to be like–

We just had the same idea. Pretty cool.

[Zoe] All right.

Pretty cool.

I popped off with the bangs.

And the ponytail is just coming out.

It’s just like a little…

Already finished the ponytail.

[Zoe] All right.

Yeah, no you’re pro. So, I’m gonna be honest

I already finished the ponytail.

Okay. The only thing left to add is

part of a couch in the background

so that we know that they’re inside a house and not outside.

[playful music continues]

And that’s like a rough couch.

[Ayo laughs]

Oh my god, my palms are so sweaty.

[page flipping]

So I think that it might be a good idea

for us to ink the couch first.

[funny music]

Yeah! Yes.

I like to just put like put little dots

kind of in like random groups

of like little dashes. Oh my god!

Y’all are about to hire me.

It’s the comedian to cartoonist pipeline.

I didn’t realize I had a gift.

I’m up in here like Jim Carey!

Does he do cartoons?

Uh… he does like fine art.

[laughs] I said, that’s so rudely.

Oh, he does like fine art, whatever.

So um, I’m gonna do the… like, like the hole next.

So this is kind of like a good example of where

it’s might be nice to like improvise a bit.

[Ayo] Okay. So for the hole,

it was like a smooth ellipse, right?

We’re popping off. We’re making this all Fraggle Rock.

We’re making is craggly, put little rocks on the outside.

Oh! Okay.

[funny music continues]

Okay so shovel time.

Are you doing a lot of standup anymore

now that this is, this whole thing is going on?

These days…

it has not been as much

but things are starting to open back up.

I think I was also like,

you telling me I could stay at my house for a year.

It’s not no.

I’m gonna add little boobs.

I do want drawing like little boobs sometimes.

They’re just kind of like pendulous like

just like little, like two little Us.

I’m not ready, you know, but you are.

I’ve drawn a lot of boobs in my life.

You got in your… your 10,000 hours of boob drawing.

Okay. This is my thing about this girl.

You know, she’s a little bit flat in the chest.

I just want to say like

for all my fellow sag sisters out there, you know,

I apologize for not representing us.

[funny music continues]

Randomly I should not have given her stripes.

That’s interesting, that’s interesting.

I actually can’t draw any line that looks the same at all.

Okay.

Okay. So I’m just,

I’m just erasing some of these couch lines now

and also on the guy.

[funny music ends]

[page flipping]

Great. So now the, the,

the next thing that we do is the wash

and that is just adding shading to the cartoon.

And we do that with diluted ink or…

so same ink and the paint brush.

For the couch let’s just paint it like the,

or wash it, the lighter shade.

So then just like go ahead and just like fill everything in.

[upbeat guitar music]

Even though I’m bad at this, I will say, very calming.

Kind of want to make him like tan.

[upbeat guitar music continues]

Oh, my dark ink had bled into his face.

No!

Okay. It’s fine.

It’s okay. We’re both sort of like struggling right now

which I think is a nice show of solidarity.

[upbeat guitar music continues]

Oh my god.

Okay. You kinda got this black guy. Blonde hair.

Well, mixed king.

Yeah. We’ve, we’ve got diversity in this cartoon.

Hell yeah. I came here to do the work.

I’ve also used the little shade to give her little cheeks

just like little cheek rosies.

Okay. She’s definitely got rosacea

the way that I have done it.

She’s got rosacea.

So we’re also bringing visibility to rosacea, which is a–

I’m doing a lot of activism with this drawing.

She’s not just sad about the hole, she’s got a lot going on.

She just like, you dug this hole in my house.

You know I got my scoliosis and my rosacea.

I got lumps for feet.

My thumbs are fused together.

And now I can’t even afford healthcare

because we’re going to have to pay

to get those hole filled in.

Leave him! Leave him.

It’s like, you know, Picasso.

It’s like, oh you thought it was squares?

Guess what? It’s commentary on war.

And it’s like, oh you thought this was a cartoon

about a hole in the ground.

Turns out it’s about bringing light to rosacea rights.

If we’re done the illustration,

it’s fun to put your initials on it

because you are the artist.

[upbeat guitar music continues]

Okay.

[page flipping]

We’re going to each come up with a caption independently

and then reveal them to each other.

Well this is not good for me

because I’m supposed to be funny and… okay.

[whimsical music]

Everything I’m thinking of is not funny.

[Ayo laughs]

[whimsical music continues]

Absolutely brutal. Simply not funny.

[page flipping]

Okay. We’re going to show each other our cartoons now.

It’s the moment of truth.

Okay. So on the count of three.

One.

Two.

Three.

Whoa. you’re good. Yay!

That looks so good!

No yours is…

That looks really really good!

I love that!

[Ayo] It’s uh, listen,

we weren’t getting our security deposit back anyway.

[Zoe] Love it. Great.

He really ate it.

[Zoe] Was there an alt caption as well?

[Ayo] The alt was you told me to have less boundaries.

[Zoe] Yeah. That’s…

You know, sort of demented man who

physically builds a hole instead of…

okay so, all right so.

Mine is,

I’m sorry, but I’ve run out of places to go

to hide my farts.

[Ayo] Absolutely. I really like yours.

See, that’s what I wanted the dirt to look like in my head.

[Zoe] This is legit. Like, honestly,

for all of the struggles

that you were vocalizing yours looks super good.

Oh my God. His cool hair.

[Ayo] Thank you.

Okay, you see what I mean about her back though?

[Zoe] That’s a back.

That’s like a whole body that she has.

[Ayo] Okay. And now I understand what you mean

by the folded on top of each other.

[Zoe] Yes yeah. I mean like, honestly

it’s very difficult to like explain to try like,

oh this is like, what a leg does when it folds,

like I mean, you know, like a C shape.

[Ayo] This is what I mean. I can’t…

I can’t see things in my head.

The boobs look fantastic though.

The boobs are incredible.

[Zoe] Yeah. Thank you, yeah. They’re very, they’re…

they’re very, you know, symmetrical.

Thank you so much for your guidance.

Yes. I feel like I have like, born… like a child.

You have. It’s me as an artist.

Um cool. So I’m, I’m hired or…?

[funny music]

[happy music]

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