Is That a Banana In Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to Hear From Your Editor?

Just got a call from my editor telling me I could not use the word “banana” in a comic strip.

Well, to be fair, this is the context in which I used the word (Click on it to enlarge):

I argued that there were a lot worse terms I could have used for a Speedo, such as “grape smuggler.”

That didn’t persuade him.

I told him he was the first editor to ever censor the word “banana.”  That didn’t persuade him either.  He said he would censor that word each and every time it referred to a penis.

We went back and forth arguing about penises, the argument getting a bit loud.

I was just pleased that somewhere in the New York office of my syndicate, all the people around my editor’s cubicle kept hearing him yell the word “penis.”

I told him that I had now lost 6 of these arguments in a row with him.  He told me that the next time we have one of these debates, he’ll let me do what I want to do.  I said, “Great.  Next week I’m going to put the word m#therf#cker in a comic.”  He said that would be a no-go.

The long and short of it is that when this strip appears in a few weeks, you will not see the word “banana.”  Instead, you will see the phrase “man thong.”

So yes, we have no bananas.

62 thoughts on “Is That a Banana In Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to Hear From Your Editor?

  1. Stephan, all that said, how in the world did Mike Peters get away with this one?

  2. I think banana hammock is preferable to man-thong. But grape smuggler is better than both combined.

  3. Interesting how they were able to use the phrase “banana hammock” in an episode of “Friends” during prime time (when children are presumably watching television), but you can’t use that phrase in the same context in the newspaper. The comics censorship standards truly are stuck in the 1950’s.

    Great strip, by the way, Stephan!

  4. My friends down under tell me that the Aussie’s prefer the term “dick togs” … bet that wouldn’t fly. My other personal favourite is “budgy smugglers” … it also has quite the ring!

  5. ok, so ‘banana hammock’ is good, and I laughed out loud to the term ‘grape smuggler’. Couldn’t you just end the frontal assalt and just call it a ‘crack net’?

  6. Well, I’m glad he censored you because this little post gave me quite the needed chuckle. And I will laugh again, knowing the whole story when see the strip. ‘Banana Hammock’ indeed.

  7. @kjordan – Plaintain Pouch – I love it!! But grape smuggler has to win it on this one.

    Let me tell you how naive I am. I honestly thought Banana Hammock was the correct term for that type of clothing. I honestly didn’t get it til just now. They say Banana Hammock all the time on Scrubs. Man thong is just rediculous.

  8. Well at least you can show it here.

    BTW, did you develop the idea back in November because when I was at the class you taught at the Schulz Museum I remember seeing notes about Rat being a lifegaurd and the only word I could read was “banana.”

  9. BEST…STRIP…EVER. I’m printing it off and putting it up on my office door at grad school.

  10. I think it is hysterical that your editor had to repeatedly shout the word “penis” in his office…That’s wholesome family fun right there! Keep up the good work!

  11. Oh, great. Now you got me looking at Rat’s groin area.

    Excuse me while I apply bleach to my brain.

  12. You should write a comic that talks about how untasty British food is, especially their classic raisins and currants pudding. See if you can get THAT past your syndicate.

  13. This makes me think of that Ray Comfort video … If you watch it without the sound, looks more like a banana porn.

  14. While the speedo banter is cool, I want to know why there is a detached penis in the second and third panels. Is that the banana Rat was smuggling?

  15. the original is fine. Yet I suspect that “man thong” would infuriate more people. And grape smuggler as well.

  16. Man, it’s really silly!!! Editors’ mind are really out of our age… Do they live in the prehistoric one????

    Editaa is fud. Keel editaa.

  17. man! Your editor couldnt handle anything from the tellitubbies!!….make your editor look at a bunch of people telling him he’s wrong and stephan is always right….about the idea of putting moth#er fuc@er in next weeks strip….😉

  18. Well, at least we get to see Rat’s banana hammock here. (Wait… that came out wrong.)

  19. Brad: I was listening to “I can’t let you go” by Usher while watching that. It is disturbingly perfect.

  20. hm I’m guessing that you have a few acronyms in mind for the near-future🙂

  21. In all fairness, though, the question must be raised: was this editor, in fact, the first editor ever to censor the word “banana”? Was he really the first editor to tell a cartoonist not to use “banana” as a penis reference? ‘Cuz I’m thinking at the very least, Frank Cho must’ve heard that from his editors a few times a day…

  22. Sounds like it’s going to be as weak as the expectation crusher strip. Actually, even the banana hammock is as weak as today’s strip.

  23. Dude, you really should tell him to get laid ASAP. He’s got brain issues, which we call here “spremotoxicosis”.

  24. I wish I knew if I could take the names of the commentors on here at face value.

    If that really was Stephan’s Editor that posted that, Kudos, dude, you just went from “lame” to “awesome” in my book.

    If not really, still a funny @$$ comment!

  25. It is ridiculous how out-dated the censorship is for newspapers. When will they ever catch up? (probably not for another decade)

    Banana hammock is only used to describe that particular article of clothing, is no worse than use some other clothing terms. Even if you can’t win this one, you will win other arguments, and it is awesome when you do.

    btw, I recently got my 9-year old brother Connor hooked to your comics because he saw the treasuries I bought, and he asked me: “why won’t stephan draw the crocs disguised as pig or rat to get to the zebra?”

    … thought I’d ask for him🙂

  26. ““why won’t stephan draw the crocs disguised as pig or rat to get to the zebra?” ”

    Because the zebra is a croc in disguise. It’s an inside-joke.

  27. “Isn’t “man thong” worse?”

    It’s bad, yes. But worse is saying “Hey look at that fat guy in the man thong!” There’s nothing worse than a fat guy, especially a realy fat fat guy, wearing a thong. And so many of them seem to think they look totally hot it it. Guys shouldn’t wear thongs. And not all women can pull it off, either.

  28. what if it was BUH-nan-uh? … my sister and I still get a lot of mileage out of asking for BUH-nan-uhs. Thanks!

  29. What about weenie wrapper or nut hugger?

    Brad – that video is as frightening and distrubing as it is funny.

  30. Stupid editor note! Did you see what he wrote? Now I think you’re editor is an @$$! I feel sorry for you steph. Your comics should have more freedom.

  31. You probably could have gotten away with “trophy display case.” He would not have known you were kidding.

  32. oh Good God I will NEVER look at a Speedo without thinking “grape smuggler”.

    jesus. I am laughing out loud right now.

  33. Since it showed up in today’s daily comic, i definitely think that banana hammock or grape smuggler would’ve been so hilariously fantastic, but alas. it only reached a basically fantastic level.

  34. I’m generally not a fan of sticking ‘man’ in front of something to showcase one’s own insecurity and/or stupidity, so the change gets my thumbs down.

    So now ‘banana hammock’ is too risque? Your editor’s an idiot.

    And obviously a sexually insecure idiot, at that.

  35. This is sorta related.

    Despite all your editor’s efforts to prevent you from producing a daily strip which may be construed as risque, you’ll be pleased(?) to know that today’s PBS, Aug 12, is downright obscene in Australia.

    So I think you won, whether it was intentional or not.🙂

  36. What I think is totally missed here, I didn’t even realize it until almost a year later is that Rat (nor any of the other characters) doesn’t wear pants any other time. I would have thought that might have been more of an issue.

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