The last great humor magazine, as we know it, is no more.
With the announcement earlier this month that MAD Magazine would cease publi-cation of new material, generations of fans likely wept as they remembered the once proud humor rag. I know I did.
As a child of the 1980’s, I remember the enjoyment of picking up the newest copy of MAD from the magazine rack in grocery stores as my mother would shop. I was fascinated, even before the age of 10, with the comedy contained in those pages. The fold-in, the iron-ons (heat transferable images for you whipper snappers out there), and of course the absurdity that was Spy vs Spy.
As I matured into my teenage years and my sense of humor was influenced by Cheech and Chong, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, I began to enjoy the magazine on an entirely different level. The old standards were still my first stops within the pages, but reading and examining the satirical take on the popular culture icons of the day like President George H.W. Bush, or whatever band was riding the high tide at the time, became the major selling point.
As my growth progressed, it saddens me to say that MAD magazine was replaced in the early 90’s with books from Lewis Grizzard, Carlin and other comedic influences, though I would still flip through the pages vigorously when I found a copy while casually scanning the mag racks.
MAD would emerge as an influence for me again when FOX network began airing MAD TV in 1995. It became the voice for a younger generation who had grown tired of what, at the time, was a stale product from long-dominant Saturday Night Live.
Performers like Brian Callen, Aries Spears, Will Sasso, Artie Lange, and countless others became required weekend viewing, and many remain favorites of mine to this day for their outlandish characters, impressions or stand-up routines.
Sadly, that form of MAD has vanished from the airwaves after a recent revival with new cast members was cancelled by The CW.
So, to MAD in all of its new content dispersing iterations, I am saddened to say goodbye. I am even sadder to say I hadn’t picked up the magazine since my college years. But I am thankful to the creative forces behind the brand for their impact on pop culture and for paving the way for publications like The Onion.
You are gone. But you will NEVER be forgotten.