Charles Barsotti. CreditC. Michael Barsotti
Charles Barsotti, a cartoonist for The New Yorker whose jaded canines, outlaw snails, and obtuse monarchs made readers laugh for more than 40 years, died on Monday at his home in Kansas City, Mo. He was 80.
The cause was brain cancer, his son, Michael, said.
Mr. Barsotti made pasta talk. He drew hot dogs planning cookouts. His lines were spare and clean, whether drawn or written:
* An anxious-looking man emerges through clouds at heaven’s gate, greeted by a bemused St. Peter. “No, no, that’s not a sin, either,” St. Peter says. “My goodness, you must have worried yourself to death.”
* A small dog, seated in a psychiatrist’s chair, talks to a human patient: “Well, I think you’re wonderful.”
* An older man with a walking stick plods in the direction a sign is pointing. The sign says “Truth.” The man is on a treadmill.
* A gregarious piece of rigatoni talks into a telephone: “Fusilli, you crazy bastard! How are you?”
Mr. Barsotti filled his frames — sometimes without a punch line — with seekers and worriers, the witty and the ruthless, out of context but perfectly placed. The universal was absurd, the absurd universal. You laughed without necessarily knowing why.