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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]