The Lampooners Lampooned

December 11th, 2009 | Posted in General

Image ©1971 by National Lampoon

Back in October of 1971, National Lampoon published a scathing parody of MAD that is today the stuff of legend. National Lampoon, like most humor magazines of that time (and a lot of humor period over the next several decades) owed a lot to MAD and its artists and writers were obviously heavily influenced by the magazine. As a result the parody, while being pretty brutal and pulling no punches, seemed much more of a needling with love by a close relative than a bitter attack. The staff of MAD, as the story goes, were delighted with it.¬¨‚Ć National Lampoon was always more original and had more of its own voice than most of the other non-MAD humor magazines of those days… it was not a knock off of MAD so much as it was a cousin that grew in a different direction and established much more of its own voice… albeit it using a lot more vulgar language.

The blog Easily Mused has scanned in and posted the entire parody from National Lampoon #147…. I’m sure the lawyers of whoever owns the rights to NL will be in touch with them soon but in the meantime you can enjoy what is a great piece of humorous comic history.


  1. Alex says:


  2. Hutch says:

    Wow! They certainly went to a lot of bother to get as close to the real thing as they could which is surely the ultimate compliment.

  3. Steckley says:

    This parody was finally published a few years ago in a bound collection of NL magazine parodies, appropriately titled ‘Magazine Rack’.
    In addition to the Mad parody, there’s parodies of Playboy, Better Homes, Readers Digest and tons more. Well worth the cover price.
    Be warned though, some of it is pretty durn off color…

  4. gustavo says:

    Amazing! The parody of a parody!

  5. JWB says:

    Wow! That brings back memories! Forgot about that Alfred cover by “Jazzy” Johnny Romita! Lampoon did some great comic book parodies(“Tarzan of the Cows”, “G. Gordon Liddy:Agent of C.R.E.E.P.”). And of course the funnies section of their Sunday newspaper parody. And if we’re talking about parodies of parodies let’s not forget the great Onion newspaper spoof Mad did just a couple of years ago!

  6. sharprm says:

    how much was 40 cents back then?

  7. Potter Zebby says:

    Same as today: CHEAP.

    Lampoon’s art director Michael Gross certainly wasn’t under the impression that it was “needling with love” or “the ultimate compliment.” Of course, Mike Gross is not exactly the humblest, nor the happiest guy in publishing history.

    Gross: “I didn’t like anybody who did work for [MAD] Magazine, ever. Probably the only exception is Sergio Aragones… We so f–king nailed it… We said, ‘We’ve grown up, but MAD hasn’t.’ They take themselves so f–king seriously. It’s humorous. So we were on a mission to put the record straight with that parody. We were arrogant, of course… If you notice, there’s a great homage in there to the talent. Those people we respected, and we bowed our heads and said, ‘MAD’s not the magazine it was anymore, but they also don’t have these guys anymore.'”

    Here’s an unedited segment of Bill Gaines, speaking at a Q-and-A session at the 1972 EC Fan Convention:
    QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE MEMBER #1: What do you think of the National Lampoon?
    BILL GAINES: What’s that? [crowd laughs] It’s a good effort.
    AUDIENCE MEMBER #1 (cont.): What did you think of their MAD parody?
    GAINES: Pretty funny. In parts, it was very funny.
    QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE MEMBER #2: The National Lampoon brought out a piece on MAD. What did you think of it? [audience snickers]
    GAINES: I didn’t like that article at all. [big laugh from audience, applause]


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