Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 24, 2013)
That's Not Funny, That's Sick: The National Lampoon and the Comedy Insurgents Who Captured the Mainstream is from journalist Ellin Stein. What Stein does is give us the definitive portrait of what is, perhaps, the greatest revolution in American comedy.
Stein had exclusive access to firsthand interviews with all the key players to give us this genius of a book. Several of these interviews were done in the 1980s with the likes of Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, Doug Kenney--with memories were fresh and wounds were...raw. This is what makes Stein's access unparallelled.
It all started back in 1969 when Kenney and Beard assumed the roles of chief editors at a new magazine named The National Lampoon. Their partnership was complex as Stein writes.
Soon, the Lampoon would have a record deal and later, a theater production. But just as all was thought to be over, Animal House helped the brand get new life. Stein writes that the film "scattered box office gold over everyone connected with it."
National Lampoon had a meteoric rise as it shifted from being a popular humor magazine to a cornerstone of American culture.
Stein gives us the eccentric personalities, hard partying, and those moments of sheer comic genius.