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Interviewed: Roz Chast and her career
GEHR: When did you first approach The New Yorker?
CHAST: In April of ’78 I was still living at home with my parents, which was not good. I don’t think they wanted me there any more than I wanted to be there, but I didn’t know what else to do. I decided to call up The New Yorker even though I didn’t think my stuff was right for them. I found out that drop-off day was Wednesday. I didn’t know how to do it, but I had one of those brown envelopes with the rubber band. I left like sixty drawings in this thing. When I went back the next week to pick them up, there was a note inside that said, “Please see me. – Lee.” At first I couldn’t read it because it had this very loopy handwriting. There was a little anteroom and you had to be buzzed in. A very intimidating woman with red hair named Natasha used to sit there like she was guarding the gates. She read the note and said, “You can go in and see him.” It was a really scary feeling, like I wish I were not here. I still didn’t think I was going to sell a cartoon. I thought Lee [Lorenz] was going to give me some bullshit talk like, “This is very interesting work, little lady.” But they ended up buying a drawing. I was pretty shocked, but he said to come back every week with stuff.
I met Roz Chast last fall at the Festival of Cartoon Art. Funny lady. Great cartoonist.