Posts tagged as national lampoon

Big and Glossy and Wonderful: The Birth of the 'National Lampoon' Magazine

The first issue of the National Lampoon appeared in April 1970 and sold fewer than half of the five hundred thousand copies printed. Some readers may have thought they were buying yet another Harvard Lampoon magazine parody, understandably confused by a cover that was a variation on their recent Time parody; a dimly lit model in revealing costume posed against a muddy brown background with the caption “Sexy Cover Issue.” Less predictably, next to the model was a grinning cartoon duck — a Doug Kenney idea. “Henry would say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to do an interview with [legendary New Yorker humorist] S. J. Perelman,’ and Doug would say, ‘We [...]

The Invention of Nostalgia: Inside the National Lampoon's '1964 Kaleidoscope'

Who would win in a fight between Don Draper talking about how nostalgia is a “twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone” and Cheese saying “Ain’t no nostalgia to this shit here”?

I don’t know, but there is a book I love, and it’s the 1964 Kaleidoscope, the cover of which is an embossed kangaroo holding an oil lamp (or if you’re looking at it upside down and backwards, the cover is a cheerleader butt). Either way, let’s talk about it!

What this book actually is, is a thin-looking but superdense special edition of National Lampoon from 1974 parodying a high school year book from 1964, [...]

There's Going to Be an Animal House Musical

Next up in a long line of beloved movies becoming musicals? National Lampoon's Animal House. Yep! The Book of Mormon's Casey Nicholaw has signed on to direct and choreograph a musical based on the 1978 film, with the score to be written by Barenaked Ladies. Matty Simmons, an original Animal House producer and founding publisher of National Lampoon magazine, is also involved as an executive producer, so the musical can't be that far off from the spirit of the movie, right? Whether you're excited or dismayed by this news, we can all agree that we will be counting the days until we get to hear the [...]

Head Of National Lampoon Arrested For Ponzi Scheme

This is a full-blown, four-alarm legal emergency here. Apparently Timothy Durham, president of National Lampoon Inc, has been charged over a $200 million Ponzi scheme.  Heading up National Lampoon since 2008, Durham alleged defrauded investors through another of his businesses, Fair Financial Services. According to allegations, he and co-defendant James Cochran would basically use the company as a giant ATM to "maintain their lifestyles and to pay for personal expenses," which include $150,000 for  a night of gambling and $50,000 toward country club fees. All those employees that received a Jelly Of The Month Club membership during the holidays are going to be pissed.

The Finally Screenings: Man, Did I Hate Animal House

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he's never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

One of the exciting things about being able to write this feature is that I get the chance to see a classic comedy gem so hilarious, so perfect, so essential that I marvel that I spent the better part of three decades without absorbing its teachings. The opportunity to see a great classic comedy now is like a free ticket on the zeitgeist time machine, where I'm able to ingest the story and [...]

The Lost Projects of Michael O'Donoghue

Lost Roles is a weekly column taking a different comedian, actor, or writer each week and exploring all of their movie and TV projects that almost happened but didn't.

This week, we turn our attention to Michael O'Donoghue, one of the major creative forces behind National Lampoon magazine and Saturday Night Live during the two comedy franchises' 1970s heydays. After leaving his job as SNL's head writer in 1978, O'Donoghue began working on a variety of movie projects, but given the sluggish nature of the film industry and the fact that O'Donoghue's work is often too daring and edgy for mainstream audiences, most of the movies he wrote never [...]

The Lost Projects of John Hughes

One of the most prolific comedy filmmakers of all-time, you can’t really compare John Hughes’s dominance of big screen comedy in the 1980s to the work of anyone modern. Even Judd Apatow, who’s pumped out hit films at a consistent rate for the better part of the last decade, doesn’t work as fast as Hughes, who was cranking out two or even three popular comedies a year throughout his 80s heyday, with many of these films going on to become iconic classics.

Part of the reason John Hughes was able to rapidly pile up projects is that he was an incredibly fast writer who didn’t care much for rewriting. [...]

National Lampoon's Twitter Awards to Award National Lampoon with More Traffic, They Hope

Because what we all need are more awards and more things to vote on, National Lampoon has just announced its Twitter Awards. You can go over there now and vote on such categories as Twitter King and Queen, Best Rich Guy and Best Gay if you need to take a break from the fucking earthquake jokes on Twitter.

"And Ian Ziering as Testiclees"

Here's the trailer for the new National Lampoon movie, called The Legend of Awesomest Maximus. Yep.

Talking to National Lampoon Co-Founder Henry Beard About Humor Writing, the Lampoon and More

Henry Beard, one of the co-founders of The National Lampoon, is a prolific man. Over the course of forty years, Beard has written more than 35 humor books, including Zen for Cats, The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook (co-written with Christopher Cerf), and Latin for All Occasions. What’s especially interesting is that Beard remains one of the few comedy writers to only devote themselves entirely to print, with little or no interest in writing for other mediums, be it television or films.

Beard’s first parody book, Bored of the Rings, was published in 1969, when Beard (and co-writer Doug Kenney) had just graduated Harvard. The book remains [...]

Talking to Matty Simmons About Producing Animal House, Publishing National Lampoon, and His New Book Fat, Drunk, and Stupid

As the founding publisher of National Lampoon magazine and the person responsible for expanding the Lampoon brand to radio, theater, and film, Matty Simmons led the charge in creating a new kind of comedy during the 1970s. From producing the National Lampoon Radio Hour and stage shows, where he gave work to pre-SNL up-and-comers like John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner, to producing Animal House, one of the highest-grossing and most-imitated movies of all-time, Simmons had a vital role in the changing of the guard that occurred in American comedy during the 70s. In addition to Animal House, he also produced two other highly-influential films: Vacation and Christmas [...]

Checking In with…National Lampoon’s Lemmings

Whatever happened to predictability, the milkman, the paperboy, evening TV…and the writers and actors of the off-Broadway musical, National Lampoon’s Lemmings?

In 1970, National Lampoon magazine, a spin-off of the Harvard Lampoon, published its first issue, under the leadership of Doug Kenney, Henry Beard, and Robert Hoffman. The pages were filled with brilliant and hilarious parodies, and the magazine soon became a calling card for comedy nerds. It became so popular that the magazine was able to stage an Off-Broadway play, one that would spoof Woodstock and hippies and all that psychedelic bullshit, making fun of people like Joan Baez and Donovan in the process. It was called [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw National Lampoon's Vacation For the First Time

n The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

Okay, National Lampoon. I finally watched Vacation. And I have a bone to pick.

If you want me to actually enjoy your ridiculous polyester slapstick-fests, you have to give me characters I care about. You don’t get a free pass because you show boobs or have a famous comedian in the lead.

It’s not subjective. It’s a (some might even say the) cornerstone of good storytelling. You need a hero who wants something, [...]