We're flying out to Calgary tomorrow to see Weird Al. Yes, we're big fans. On that note, I couldn't help but review this particular of MAD Magazine. Sometimes the stars align for us nerds...
For the Fold-In of this particular issue cartoonist Al Jaffee asks, “What demeaning low-paying job do experts agree is a career dead end?” It is a cardinal rule of reviewing not to give spoilers, but the answer is too funny and too on point not to share: “Guest editor of MAD (Thanks, Al!)”
MAD Magazine and Weird Al have long established themselves of pop culture icons of satire. Yet whereas Weird Al’s career has only continued to grow, sometimes lasting longer than the musicians he’s parodied, MAD’s circulation peaked in the 1970s, declining ever since. So it was nice for MAD to get an assist from the Weird One himself.
MAD and Weird Al are both on the sillier end of the satire spectrum; more slapstick, puns, and gross-out humour than say, Jon Stewart. However, if you have been following Weird Al’s career in more recent years you may have noticed his writing get more intelligent, even with insightful social commentary creeping through. MAD, however, has been in danger of becoming stale, recycling the same old tired gags and adolescent insults.
Therefore, Jaffee’s fears that Weird Al taking on the role of guest editor—the first time anyone has guest edited MAD during its entire run—would be Yankovic’s ultimate demise were not unfounded. Fortunately, it is a pleasure to report that the opposite was true: Weird Al may have saved MAD. This issue is funny! It is silly, sarcastic, and sometimes—believe it or not—smart. Together they target Marvel movies, Ancestry.com, polarized American politics, and many more. Perhaps the funniest moments are when Weird Al parodies himself or when he invites his famous comedian friends to write short bits (Patton Oswalt’s is unsurprisingly hilarious).