Sunday, June 28, 2015

National Story

I just got around to reading Rick Meyerowitz's Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers And Artists Who Made The National Lampoon Insanely Great. It came out in 2010 and if you see it in a bookstore it's probably remaindered. It's hardly the first book about NatLamp.  There are personal reminiscences by former editor Tony Hendra and publisher Matty Simmons, and the most comprehensive work of all, Ellin Stein's That's Not Funny, That's Sick.

This one is different in that instead of telling a story, it gives tribute to the major writers and artists, one by one.  Each gets a little essay about what they were like--usually by former Lampoon contributor Rick Meyerowitz, but sometimes by other Lampoon people--followed by a selection of their work.

All the usual suspects are here: Doug Kenney, Henry Beard, Michael O'Donoghue, Sean Kelly, Anne Beatts, Brian McConnachie, P.J. O'Rourke, Bruce McCall, Ted Mann, Shary Flenniken, Jeff Greenfield and quite a few others.  It's an oversized, 320-page book, so there's plenty to look at.

It includes a lot of stuff I still remember, such as John Weidman's New York State Bar Exam, Michel Choquette's Hitler retired on a tropical island and Ed Subitzky's self-containted world history of a comic strip.

There's not much to say about the book, since it's mostly reprints of classic stuff. If you've got a coffee table around, it'd be a nice thing to page through.

While reading it I was wondering if anyone's ever thought of doing a documentary of the magazine's story.  Sure enough, it was just made, though as far as I know hasn't yet been released.


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