Podcasting Day: Mad Magazine Ripoffs with Jack O’Brien! 🌭

Now that we here at 1900🌭 have perfected the podcasting format and risen to the top of the talking industry, we’ve invited our old boss Jack O’Brien, creator and host of The Daily Zeitgeist onto the Dogg Zzone 9000 to show him what we can do. And we blow his entire fucking mind. “You guys are the absolute best,” he probably thought.

Join Jack and Brockway on their Seanbaby-led journey from the very first issue of MAD Magazine in 1952 through every imitator leading up to 1958’s Cracked, the knockoff Jack would help adapt into one of the largest and most influential comedy websites where nothing bad ever happened and our legacies will live on forever as hilarity legends. Listen here! Or wherever you get podcasts!

And now for some foot-nooooooootes:

Below are all the clippings pulled for the show. Hate-read them all now, or scroll slowly along with us as you listen! We don’t care! Aside from buying five pieces of merchandise from our store, there are no rules in the Dogg Zzone 9000!

First, here is the two page pro-Apartheid Lionel Richie parody “All-White Song” from Mad Magazine #263 (1986), and yes, you read that correctly:

And here is the haunting final page of the story “Blobs!” from the very first MAD Magazine.

Moving on to 1954’s Panic, here is the baffling letters section of their first issue:

From that same issue of Panic comes these hilarious moments from the story “MY GUN IS THE JURY!

And still from Panic, here is a zany panel from “THIS IS YOUR STRIFE!” and four wacky ones from “THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS” featuring fan-favorites Butchered Elephant and Actual Blackface Santa.

This is how Panic advertised itself:

Next up is Stan Lee’s take on MAD, 1955’s Snafu featuring Irving Forbush. Here is the three page gag we discuss where Stan Lee asks, “What’s HAPPENED to our Male Singers?

Moving on to 1956 and Lunatickle, here is the ad for the Fatsex tube designed for watching men change out of their pantyhose!

And here is 1957’s From Here to INSANITY and “The Misfit,” with their take on what Archie would be like if he was a murderer! Also included from this issue is their outrageous ad for Smellzo, which is a pack of wild boars or maybe a can of bad smell? It’s hard to know!

Also from 1957, here is This Magazine is CRAZY‘s knee-slapping take on toothpaste, GLUM! They also did a shocking EXPOSE’ on what four Hollywood starlets would look like if they were secretly men? Wait, no, not how you’re picturing it. They look exactly the same. We don’t get it either!

Now for the 1958 funnybook Zany! You won’t believe how badly their premise of “cows getting drunk on milk” falls apart!

And our last historical document is John Severin’s 789th version of the 1950s’ favorite joke, Loco Magazine’s “SWITCHEROONEY.” In its entirety!

And now you know the dark history of MAD Magazine knockoffery which led us to where we all are today. You’re welcome. Review and subscribe.

5 replies on “Podcasting Day: Mad Magazine Ripoffs with Jack O’Brien! 🌭”

The past is a foreign country, but understanding the cultural contexts behind these jokes makes them if anything more incomprehensible to me. There’s no insight that helps “hey, it’s Ernie Kovacs as a cow” be funnier. Everyone needed to parody popular stuff like Dragnet, but also needed to be original about it in the worst way, so they almost wound up reverse-engineering Toddler Comedy.

There’s such a fine line between “funny” and “violation of the Geneva Conventions”.

Panic was published as a companion to Mad (basically William Gaines doubling down on humor books the same way he tripled down on horror) and its Wikipedia article has a whole section on β€œfirst issue controversy.” The Night Before Christmas parody got the issue banned in Massachusetts, and the Mickey Spillane parody got the EC offices raided by the NYPD!

The instinctive connection y’all made to Tales From the Crypt is right on the money. Mad Magazine got started because the Comics Code effectively banned all cool comic books, specifically the horror, war, and crime comics EC specialized in; but Ed Gaines had an epiphany: magazines aren’t comics. And so an entire genre was created, specifically to thwart the censorship that shut down Tales From the Crypt.

Also, I fully understand My Gun is the Jury! to an extent that far surpasses anyone on this podcast, and typing that out I suddenly realized it might be a red flag. Anyway, both the grotesque violence and the shockingly unfunny reveal are direct parodies of Mike Hammer, the bloodthirsty rage-fueled alpha male fuck machine who starred in a series of Mickey Spillane novels with titles like “I, the Jury,” “My Gun is Quick,” “Vengeance is Mine,” “My Fists Are Bloody,” “Kiss Me Deadly,” “The Girl Hunters.” I made one of those up, but I defy you to guess which one. But in one of Mike Hammer’s gore-spattered red-meat-fueled adventures, the shocking twist at the end is that the murderer turns out to be a hot trans woman, in a way that’s handled about as classily as you’d expect from a lurid 1950s pulp novel. So the joke isn’t just “what if actually other gender?” but also “Jesus fucking Christ, have you read Mickey Spillane’s books? Is that guy OK? What does his popularity say about us as a society? Nothing good, right?”

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