Brilliant National Lampoon Magazine Covers From the 1970s

National Lampoon was an American satirical pop culture magazine that ran from 1970 to 1998. Founded by Doug Kenney and Henry Beard, the magazine started out as a spinoff from the Harvard Lampoon, where Beard and Kenney used to work as editors.


National Lampoon magazine reached its height of popularity and critical acclaim during the seventies, when it had a far-reaching effect on American humor and comedy. The satirical magazine spawned films, radio, live theatre, various sound recordings, and print products including books. It also helped jump start the careers of many of the comedic heroes of the 1980s, including many of the original writers and cast members of Saturday Night Live.

During the magazine’s most successful years, parody of every kind was a mainstay; surrealist content was also central to its appeal. Almost all the issues included long text pieces, shorter written pieces, a section of actual news items (dubbed “True Facts”), cartoons and comic strips. Most issues also included “Foto Funnies” or fumetti, which often featured nudity. As co-founder Henry Beard described the experience years later: “There was this big door that said, ‘Thou shalt not.’ We touched it, and it fell off its hinges.” The magazine declined during the late 1980s, and ceased publication in 1998.

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