The National Lampoon Treasury of Humor

Al Sarrantonio, Author Simon & Schuster $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-70833-7
This anthology's release coincides with the 20th anniversary of Lampoon. As Sarrantonio ( The Fireside Treasury of New Humor ) explains, it is ``arranged as closesic as possible to a giant issue'' of the magazine; it comprises samples from the publication's regular features, including a selection of stupefyingly unfunny staff-penned letters to the editor. The result is a fairly representative taste of the magazine's style and content: generally sophomoric, churlish and mean-spirited, full of tiresome bathroom humor and casual bigotry. There are a few exceptions, notably Michael O'Donoghue's mordant dissection of Johnny Carson's monologues, an intermittently amusing if overlong collection of sex scenes omitted from literary works like Plato's Republic , and Sean Kelly's clever poetic parodies. Other pieces, like John Weidman's mildly diverting send-up of Miguel Pinero's Short Eyes (featuring an escalating array of prison-made armaments, such as ``a sawed-off shotgun made from clothesline and a deck of playing cards''), and most of the political satire, have dated badly. Does anyone really need to read a 20-year-old ``Mrs. Agnew's Diary?'' (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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