Caustic humour was his extreme sport of choice.
Like his friend Gary Larson, the creator of “The Far Side,” Mr. Callahan made drawings with a gleeful appreciation of the macabre he found in everyday life. He was, however, a man who lived his life with disadvantages, some of them self-wrought, and he viewed the world through a dark and wicked lens.
“This is John, I’m a little too depressed to take your call today,” the message on his answering machine said. “Please leave your message at the gunshot.”
Bemused by the culture of confession and self-help fostered by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Geraldo Rivera, he was uninclined in his work to be outwardly sympathetic to the afflicted or to respect the boundaries of racial and ethnic stereotyping, and his cartoons were often polarizing: some people found them outrageously funny, others outrageously offensive.
His outlaw, outsider and out-of-bounds view of the world was pure Bouffon artistry.