The Harvard Lampoon
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Published since 1876, The Harvard Lampoon is the world's longest continually published humor magazine. The organization also produces occasional humor books (the best known being the 1969 J.R.R. Tolkien parody Bored of the Rings) and parodies of national magazines such as Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated. Much of the organization's capital is provided by the licensing of the "Lampoon" name to National Lampoon, begun by Harvard Lampoon graduates in 1970.
The Lampoon is known for its bacchanalian parties, which can result in smashed plates and furniture. The Lampoon's affairs are administered by Harvard Lampoon, Inc., whose Board of Graduate Trustees includes such people as James Murdoch, Ted Widmer, and Bill Oakley. Robert K. Hoffman, co-founder of the National Lampoon and major donor to the Dallas Museum of Art was a Trustee until his death in 2006, and was declared a Trustee "Ad-Infinitum" a year later.
The Harvard Lampoon was first published in 1876. The Lampoon and its sensibility have been an especially important expression of American humor and comedy since the late 1960s. An important line of demarcation came when Lampoon editors Douglas Kenney and Henry Beard wrote the Tolkien parody Bored of the Rings. The success of this book and the attention it brought its authors led directly to the creation of the National Lampoon magazine, which spun off a live show Lemmings, and then a radio show in the early 1970s, The National Lampoon Radio Hour introducing such performers as Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Chevy Chase. Lampoon writers from these shows were subsequently hired to help create Saturday Night Live. This was the first in a line of many TV shows that Lampoon graduates went on to write for, including The Simpsons, Futurama, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, Seinfeld, The League, NewsRadio, The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and dozens of others. An old copy of the magazine was shown in the fourth season finale of NewsRadio, and referred to as the "nefarious scandal sheet."
Lampoon alumni include such comedians as Conan O'Brien, Andy Borowitz, and B.J. Novak. Etan Cohen wrote for Beavis and Butthead as an undergraduate member. In 1986 former editor Kurt Andersen co-founded the satirical magazine Spy, which employed Lampoon writers Paul Simms and Eric Kaplan, and published the work of Lampoon alumni Patricia Marx, Lawrence O'Donnell and Mark O'Donnell. The Lampoon has also graduated many noted authors such as George Plimpton, George Santayana, John Updike, and William Gaddis.
Celebrities often visit the Lampoon to be inducted as honorary members of the organization. Past guests include Bill Cosby, Robin Williams, Winston Churchill, Aerosmith, Adam Sandler, Billy Crystal, the cast of Saturday Night Live, Paris Hilton, Sarah Silverman, and John Wayne.
The Lampoon publishes five issues annually. In 2006, the Lampoon began regularly releasing content on their website, including pieces from the magazine and web-only content. In 2009, the Lampoon published a parody of Twilight called Nightlight, which is a New York Times bestseller. In February 2012, the Lampoon released a parody of The Hunger Games called The Hunger Pains. It is also a New York Times bestseller.
- "The Last Laugh," Boston Globe Magazine, March 11, 2001. http://cache.boston.com/globe/magazine/3-11/featurestory1.shtml
- The Alumni - September-October '97 - Reading Homer
- "Crimson President's Chair on Jimmy Fallon!". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- Schuessler, Jennifer. "Hardcover". The New York Times.
- "The Hunger Pains". Amazon. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- Cowles, Gregory. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times.
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