Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
That's Not Funny, That's Sick: The National Lampoon and the Comedy Insurgents Who Captured the Mainstream Hardcover – June 24, 2013
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“This idea of a magazine’s personality kept coming back to me as I read Ellin Stein’s charming and detail-rich new history of the National Lampoon, That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick, because it is not really a history at all, but a portrait. You can’t pick your offspring’s personality, and the way a personality develops on its own, involuntarily, through an array of influences of varying importance and salience, echoes the way the Lampoon personality emerges in the pages of Stein’s book―through a pastiche of eyewitness recollections, some of them contradictory, many of them fascinating, and all accompanied by the author’s breezy running commentary on the cultural storms that swirled in the background.” (The Daily Beast)
“Stein offer detailed portraits of the people behind the magazine’s success in a seminal time when politics and comedy intertwined with incendiary results…. A serious treatment of a funny topic.” (Booklist)
“Stein leaves no tangent unexplained and no petty grievance unaired as she traces the magazine’s evolution and growing fame.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Stein’s description…is dazzling.” (Hollywood Reporter)
“A worthy addition to the comedy library.” (Michael Precker - Dallas Morning News)
“This rich history of humor, commerce, and backstage conflict is recounted in lively prose and admirable detail by veteran entertainment writer Ellin Stein. Buttressed by dozens of original interviews, as well as access to older ones and to all the yellowing back issues, That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick captures neatly the eccentric personalities and fiery times that converged to propel radically offensive material to the forefront of the American consciousness.” (Boston Globe)
“It’s not much of stretch to call this exceedingly thorough and wildly entertaining history of modern American comedy a bible on the subject. Ellin Stein goes deep and dirty on the topic…. A book that will serve as a cultural reference work for the ages. And a blast from the past to read.” (Weekly Standard)
“If you ever picked up an issue of the National Lampoon, or misspent your youth in the sixties and seventies; if you ever wondered about the origins of Saturday Night Live or, in fact, ever had any interest in the course of American humor from the late sixties onward, this is a book to read…. That’s Not Funny takes you on a ride through what was, arguably, the heyday of American humor.” (Ellary Eddy - Realize Magazine)
“For one thing, the history of the Lampoon is a good story, and Stein may be the first person to devote so much of a book to it who doesn’t have her own ax to grind.” (A. V. Club)
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
If you think of the Lampoon phenomenon as a big tree, with the magazine as the trunk, other books have drawn more detailed pictures of certain parts of the tree, or even from a point of view inside the tree.
Stein's book is the first to step back and draw a full picture of the tree, from its roots in the Harvard Lampoon to the many branches and twigs that have grown from it over the years, including many branches that barely get mentioned in other books. The book has clearly been in the works for a long time--some of the people interviewed are no longer with us. It includes quite a bit of material I've never seen before.
If you want to know about some particular aspect of National Lampoon--the life of Doug Kenney, the life of Michael O'Donoghue, Tony Hendra's take on it all, Rick Meyerowitz's favorite stuff from the magazine, or Chris Miller's history of Animal House--there are other good books to choose from.
But for anyone who is interested in the big picture of National Lampoon's history and cultural influence, Ellin Stein's That's Not Funny, That's Sick is the one to get.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
This is a very comprehensive history of the National Lampoon. Read more
National Lampoon was the mother of all comedy magazines. Now we have nothing except watered down feeble attempts to emulate the National Lampoon Magazine like the Onion or College... Read morePublished on November 6, 2013 by Joseph Thomas
That's Not Funny, That's Sick is a detailed, thoroughly researched history of how American comedy evolved in the last half of the 20th Century. Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by Denise L. Larson
This book is great in describing the origin of National Lampoon and how it set the stage for Saturday Night Live and all cutting edge humor today.Published on August 16, 2013 by Stephen Orr
Reading this kind of story made me yearn for the type of comedy which is so clearly missing from today' SNL. The revolution always turns over to the fat and over-indulgent. Read morePublished on July 18, 2013 by Lord Alexander
How a writer can turn the story behind the National Lampoon into a Bataan Death March of lifeless words, I have no idea.
I am halfway through this slog. Read more