About the book

For ten turbulent years, the National Lampoon and its direct offshoots in film, theater, radio and television brewed up a new form of American humor – darker, stronger and sugar-free. Encompassing the Lampoon’s offshoots in film, theater and radio as well as Saturday Night Live and the magazine itself, That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick explores the sources and products of this crucible of modern American comedy.

Based on original material gathered from major players and eyewitnesses, That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick offers fascinating never-before revealed insights into the early years of the Lampoon and Saturday Night Live and the creative forces behind them.

That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick is published by W.W. Norton and is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Powell’s, indieBound, or a good bookstore near you.

“The Harvard people fought with the épée. I taught them to fight with the truncheon.”– Michael O’Donoghue

About you

If you’re on this site, presumably this is a subject you’re interested in, so I hope you will let me know what you think.

As the title suggests, people who share the early Lampoon’s sense of humor may be regarded with suspicion. If anyone needs a community, it’s us. I hope this site will become a place where, as Lampoon contributor Bruce McCall (and That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick’s jacket designer) said of his experience at the magazine, your “heretofore private and somewhat odd view of the universe” will be reciprocated.

Seen anything recent that reminds you of the early Lampoon? Is there somebody just under the radar you think deserves a bigger audience?

Or maybe you yourself have created something in the NL/SNL vein you’d like to show to people on the same wavelength. It could be a story, a sketch, a stand-up routine, a podcast, whatever.

You may have memories or anecdotes about what influence the National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, Animal House or any other NL offshoots had on you. Share on our Facebook or Comments page with other members of the TNFTS community — don’t worry, you’re among similarly warped minds.

To join in the conversation, you can

Here’s a bit from Chapter 6: To see more excerpts, click Read More

Kenney kicked off the class by locking himself in a closet. Finally persuaded to emerge, the editor proclaimed, “I always wanted to be a tap dancer,” and proceeded to pursue this vocation on the desk. Then, Mogel recalled, “he said ‘OK, we’re going to get very serious. My assignment is to fill 80 pages. First thing we do is get Chris Miller. He’s always good for five or six pages of sexy text. Then there’s the masthead. That’s one page. Then we get something from Hendra or Kelly. Then I’ll call Gahan Wilson, whose stuff is always great and gives the magazine some class. Then there’s Beard, O’Donoghue, Weidman and P.J. Then I write maybe 10 pages. Then we do letters to the editor. Some way we fill the other 40 pages’. Read More