Found in the Collection: The Gag Master!

Looking to finally cash in on that Funny Money, but fresh out of ideas? Presenting, The Gag Master! Over 30,000 hilarious gag possibilities!

This delightful relic from 1963 accompanied Glenn Bretthauer’s How To Make Money With Simple Gags: A Complete Course in Gag Writing!, the cover of which can be seen below. One spin, and you too could be riding that G-Nib of success to the big paycheck in the stars.

Cover from Brett's "How To Make Money With Simple Gags," from the L.D. Warren Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Here’s how it works folks: the largest pink disc gives you drawings of 50 CHARACTERS who are sure to be ripe for shenanigans, such as: Bathing Beauty, Witch Doctor, Nagging Wife (did Bill Hoest use this?), Drunk, Plumber, Chinese Laundryman (yeah, we know), Mailman, etc. The second-to-largest wheel in blue contains 25 drawings of PLACES for these characters to interact, such as: Airport, Orchestra Pit, Barber Shop, Courtroom, Department Store, Small Island, etc. Lastly, the small yellow center wheel contains 25 different BASICS OF HUMOR, including: Failure To Accept Custom, Animals Doing Human Things, Loss of Dignity (hilarious!), Curiosity, Absent Mindedness, Doing Things The Hard Way, and so on.

Brett recommends the “ROTATE AT RANDOM” method, though he notes that it’s one of “many” (unnamed) methods for using the ‘master.

A testimony by one Gag Master convert describes it as “a thrilling mental sport and a real challenge to one’s brain and imagination.”  Here at the Cartoon Library we hope that you too will be inspired to build a life of opulence by joining the ranks of other money-making behemoths through the fine art of gag writing.

[Special thanks to Tom Gammill for help with this post.]




  1. Caitlin, you really DO have the coolest job EVER.

  2. Thanks for posting this.

    I built my Gag Master, and I spun it to create a comic. From the outside in The Gag Master gave me 68 (Ice Skater) 34 (Library) 08 (Doing Easy Things the Hard Way) Here is the result:

    It was actually fun to have a set of random constraints and have to come up with a joke that fit the selections. The quality of the joke is debatable, but I’m definitely going to do some more of these.

    I can see how this is a useful tool to force your brain in creative directions, considering scenarios you might not normally envision. You can then step beyond this to create your own juxtapositions of what if Character A was in Location B considering factor C.

  3. This post gave me a lot of fun:)
    The best are:
    67.Drunk and

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