MAD Memories and Useless Wisdom

For no reason I can identify, I had the sudden thought,

and felt obliged to see what the interwebs had to say about it.

The find that prompted this OP was this one at Wikipedia and it was among maybe a dozen hits that I have yet to investigate.

The idea of this thread is to dredge up favorite things from MAD’s glory days and share them with other fans of that magazine and its offshoots.

An old thread that had The Far Side and MAD references that might assist in memory-jogging is Favorite “Far Side” Memories (MAD, too) started 06-20-2003.

I didn’t remember that quote. Hope to hear more about it here.

My favorite? First time in the men’s bathroom alone. “Pull down. Tear up.”

And, oh, how sophisticated and sly I felt upon discovering my first copy of MAD.

Another old thread that might have clues: MAD words started 05-19-2005.

I stumbled over it trying to locate the text of the poem I wandered lonely as a clod.

I had one grunch but the eggplant over there. I understand completely.

MAD’s influence on modern culture is vast and underrated. At least, it was until perhaps the last decade - color, ads and the NatLamp spin have not served the old rag well.

This thread really should have little drawings by Sergio Aragones in the margins.

One of the all-time great things is 43-Man Squamish, the parody of organized sport written by Tom Koch and illustrated by George woodbridge. I can still quote parts of it.

It also provided them with a parody game for the Harry potter movie satires they did, substituting “Squamish” for “Quidditch”
Another notable thing is the potrzebie System of Weights and Measures, written by 19 year old Donald Knuth, who would later become famous for his multi-volume The Art of Computer Programming

Finally located what I remembered seeing online once before.

From Axolotl poetry:


Was that “Marginal Marvin”? I remember equating those things with the little critter in Pogo who was always commenting on nothing in particular. I can’t decide from the descriptions at this page what that little guy was called.

And the last post should reveal a secret message when you fold it.

Marginal Marvin was before Sergio Aragones. Marvin was Proto-Seinfeld ruminations on the absurdities of then-modern life; Aragones does wordless cartoons (I gather from Wikipedia that he’s still contributing to this day).

I remember a regular subject in Mad was the way advertisers lie and mislead. I learned a lot about distrusting the media thanks to Mad magazine. Made it a bit weird when I picked up an issue years later to see that they’d started selling ad space.

One of the great educational points I’ve always credited Mad for is that it taught me the words “ulterior motive.”

As a trivia point, Mad did run advertising for a few issues early on, shortly after it switched from comic to magazine format. The ads were small and discreetly segregated onto a single column headed “Real Ads.”

“It’s crackers…snide” is British slang for “It’s crazy to pay off a cop in phoney money.”

All I have to say on the subject is that the Black Spy kicks ass, and the White Spy sucks.


I liked the booklets as a kid but found the magazines tedious.

It stinks. The whole thing stinks. You stink.

Hanna’s original plan had been to extend the Baltimore & Ohio west to Honolulu. But before track laying had progressed more than two hundred miles west of San Francisco, the entire venture was abandoned as impractical.


But only if there is absolutely no toilet!

He joined the Communists to be different.
Now he looks forward to the day when Communism takes over and makes everyone the same.
Logic, logic. logic.

“Let’s do our little dance, kiddies…let’s have some music, Mr. Piano…don’t knock over Mr. Scenery…and don’t trip over Mr. Cable…”

“What’s the matter, Freddy?”

“I just threw up on Mr. Floor!”

“Careful, boys and girls! Don’t step in Mr. Vomit!”

The Gray Spy pwns them both.