1. My comment sending it in was: ‘I dunno, is this just surrealism / non-sequitur? Or is there some sort of actual pun, a way of saying “eggplant parmesan” (maybe in Italian?) that would sound like “toyota headlights”??’

  2. It’s a boob joke.

    The customer wanted actual food, and the surly waiter just assumes customers have no right to be picky when anything that has crude semblance to boobs ought to be enough.

  3. Kliban and absurdity are often found together. I think he’s hilarious but understand other reactions.

    You could probably post every Kilban cartoon here. It’s a loss he’s no longer with us.

  4. The Italian term for egg plant Parmesan is “Parmigiana Di Melanzan.” The UK term is “aubergine parmigiana.” Not that either helps. Those don’t look like Toyota headlights to me, either.

  5. I Googled “eggplant parmesan” “toyota headlights” to see if there was some weird relationship between the two.

    All I can find are references to this comic, which is apparently old enough that it is mentioned in a 1986 Orlando Sentinel article from July 1986 that mentions it in reference to a recently published collection of Kliban’s work.

  6. I don’t have a problem with absurdity in comics but there has to be some kind of connection or pun or something. This one just makes no sense.

  7. Speaking of that UK terminology, I fondly recall being late to prepare for a study group for a French reading ability test (really just passage translation) and stumbling thru a little story about the innkeeper and his wife, the eggplant.

  8. OT: Andréa used to comment almost daily, but she hasn’t commented in quite awhile. I hope she’s okay.

  9. Any eggplant parmigiana I’ve seen was in a casserole dish of some sort. Nothing that looked like that.

  10. Does the one with the cat singing “Love to eat them mousies” make any sense? Yet it was one of Kilban’s most popular.

  11. MiB, that one impressed me so much as a kid (maybe high school), that I wet it to music. I still remember it! It was kind of a blues tune.

  12. Mitch4, you seem to have regenerated; I guess you did seem somewhat Jon Pertweeian before, but now you are definitely Tom Bakerian.

  13. “Does the one with the cat singing “Love to eat them mousies” make any sense?”

    Um…. I always thought it did.

  14. Perhaps the absurdity is not hearing “Toyota headlights” instead of “eggplant whatever”, but the idea that you could request and be served headlights without question in a fancy restaurant.

  15. @ Bookworm & Brian – As of her last e-mail to me, Andréa is OK. She’s on a sabbatical from comics for personal reasons. I miss her here, too.

  16. As for this comic, I don’t think there was supposed to be any sort of connection between the two items; the “absurdity” is that this is an incredibly atrocious waiter. Not only would he put anchovies instead of mushrooms on your pizza, he serves headlights instead of eggplant. That’s so bad that he really deserves the classic 1¢ tip.

  17. As for this comic, pedants sometimes try to order foreign food in a foreign language; usually, they fail dismally, as in this case.

  18. There was a comic from many years ago in National Lampoon showing a waiter gleefully serving [something ridiculous] to a customer. He said, “It’s a [something ridiculous! We gave it a fancy French name, put it on the menu, and you ordered it!”

  19. I buy Kliban collections when I see them at the bookstore. My wife doesn’t get it…

    His “‘It was hell’, recalls former child.” is one of my favorite single comics ever.

  20. Kliban was something of an avant-garde cartoonist. He broke the usual cartoon norms. So yeah, his panels weren’t always conventionally funny. Also, some panels were more like illustrations than humorous cartoons. I think in general his artwork is quite interesting, even it it’s not always amusing.

    One thing to note regarding the GoComics site. Kliban had several books of his works, and the panels from these collections are all randomly jumbled together. There were some panels that worked in a series, and so this particular context is lost. Also thrown in without context are some sketches of his cats, drawing exercises(*). So in that case, that particular image may not appear to be funny, but it may not have been intended to be so.

    So take care judging the individual funniness of Kliban’s work from his (posthumous) GoComics page. 🙂

    * Ex: https://www.gocomics.com/kliban/2020/02/26

  21. Meryl, the copyright notices name Judith Kliban, but she is the widow of cartoonist B[ernard] Kliban, who was male.

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