Mad About Mad? New Book Celebrates its Hilarious History

By Andy Simmons
A ’60s classic from Totally Mad.

Sixty years ago, a new magazine took newsstands by storm. It was smart, funny, irreverent, and spoke to a generation of readers anxious to break free from the yoke of post-war blandness. I’m talking, of course, about Mad.

Every modern-era comedian and humorist worth his spit-take will tell you they owe their warped sense of humor to that warpest of all publications. The crazed, hinge-limbed art of Don Martin and Jack Davis along with the surreal wit of the writers—the self-proclaimed Gang of Idiots—for better or worse (better, I say!) developed the way kids, and many adults, looked at life, usually with a wink and a nod.

Celebrating the best of that venerable brand is the new book, Totally Mad: 60 Years of Humor, Satire, Stupidity and Stupidity (Time Home Entertainment). If you haven’t seen a copy of the magazine in a while, don’t worry. Dave Berg’s Lighter Side, Spy vs. Spy, the TV and movie parodies, the back cover fold-ins … they’re all here. And at least for this fan, once I opened the pages, the hysterical memories came flooding back. In fact, I had to fend off an executive editor whose name shall go unmentioned for the lone review copy!