Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…

5 “Scary Questions” for Cartoonist James A. Roberson

‘Tis the season!  Halloween is ALMOST here.  Have you checked for monsters under your bed yet…?

Ooo!  Speaking of monsters, I thought it would be a lotta fun to ask my friend and fellow (reclusive) cartoonist, James A. Roberson, five “Scary Questions” in honor of Halloween.  I met James when he was a guest on The Cutting Room Movie Podcast and I’ve been a huge fan of him and his work ever since.  He’s got a great brain.  Check out his website and YouTube channel.

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1.) Why is your humor called Jar Humor?

Well, not to be a prick about it, but it’s JARHUMOR, all one word, all capital letters, or all lowercase. It’s a brand name.

The JAR part is just my initials, (James A. Roberson) and the HUMOR was something general enough that I could change mediums if I wanted to; it was never my intention to become a Cartoonist.

I wanted to be a Woody Allen or Mel Brooks type; the Comedian, Writer, and Filmmaker. (But, I seem to be getting there via the cartooning and YouTube videos.) The important thing to me is being funny, is the one thing I do very well; it is my dharma, (the driving force of my life.)

2.) You once explained to me the practicality of your artwork…that you do it essentially for commerce, your merchandise, versus an unyielding need to express yourself as a creative person. Has this changed at all?

I do have a need to be creative, but I also have a need for my work to add value to this world. The money is the difference between a creative professional and an old lady making scrap books.

I have a print of The Starry Night hanging above my bed as a reminder of how much of a schmuck Van Gogh was for not being aware of the value of his art. Every night, I think to myself, “Don’t be like Van Gogh, be like Warhol, be like Dali, be like Disney; create and enjoy.”

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3.) Do you get into Halloween these days? What is your worst Halloween memory? Your best?

I hate Halloween. It is just a cheap, plastic version of the things I love all year. I do admire people who use it to be creative, but, you know, I draw monsters all the time, so I get sick of it.

I do enjoy the slutty Halloween costumes. (I hope Feminists don’t ruin that; I believe in gender equality, which means making the men’s costumes just as slutty.)

When I was a kid I had this thin foam Grim Reaper mask that you had to paint the details on, and I loved painting it. I was the Grim Reaper four years in a row and I just kept making that mask more horrifying each year.

Oh, and one year I got to be the Cryptkeeper in a haunted house, yelling, “Hello, boils and ghouls” in my half-ass Cryptkeeper voice.

It’s a shame I don’t get into Halloween anymore. I think being a reclusive Cartoonist over the last few years has kept me from enjoying certain things.

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4.) You are an admirer of cinema. Now is the time for horror. What are some of your favorite scary movies and why?

Well, I mostly like cheesy 80’s horror movies like CHOPPING MALL and NIGHT OF THE CREEPS because they’re fun and I have nostalgia for the 80’s.

But, the one film I like, that I think is scary, is THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW. I mean, it’s a true Haitian zombie story, and the flick feels very real. And the actor Zakes Mokae is a scary dude… I saw him on an episode of A Different World and he was still super creepy.

5.) What truly FRIGHTENS you, James…?

I’m kind of a nervous person, so I have the normal fear of heights, natural bodies of water, and loud noises. But, the thing that keeps me awake at night is the thought of my own death.

All the New Age spiritual crap I’m into has convinced me that the Universe (God) is just using us to experience life, or we are God experiencing life, but we get used up and traded in for a newer model.

And the Gurus and the Wise men say our energy continues on, but that energy can’t watch movies, or lust after the AT&T girl, or write a joke… So, what’s the point?

I love my life, I am terrified to lose it, and the only comfort I have is that after my death, I won’t be able to miss it.

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Wow.  Those are some truly compelling answers, James. AND a Zakes Mokae call-out to boot!  No wonder I’m such an admirer of yours.   Happy Halloween (even if you’re over it) and thanks for taking the time, dude.

WINE PAIRING:  In honor of JARHUMOR, what’s say we meet up at The Wine Jar wine bar in San Francisco. We can bust out our laptops and have a howl at James’ stuff while burying a bottle of Russian River Red 2009 Pinot Noir.  Boo!


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