Monday, October 26, 2009

The Kiss of Death -Michael O'Donoghue and Peter Bramley

Comedy writers today all owe a debt to Michael O'Donoghue.

A founding writer of "The National Lampoon" and original head writer for "Saturday Night Live" his smart, acerbic humor led the way to today's "The Onion" and "The Daily Show".

I've always been little put off by his notorious refusal to write for the Muppets on SNL (better performers than Dan Akroyd, to be sure), so I was surprised to come across this illustrated story he did with Peter Bramley for the December 1969 issue of Evergreen (a leftist literary monthly).

I was first drawn in by the illustrations -in the vein of Roth with traces of underground comix, S. Clay Wilson, and maybe a little Beardsley who was in fashion at the time (although that may just be the yellow backgrounds).

Apollinaire's "Breasts of Tiresias" holds a special place in my heart.

It'd be great if Cartoon Network would allow this level of literacy to at least one of their shows.
"It's... nothing...Only...a...flash...wound" Rings of future Python.
Great graphic construction on the bottom two panels of page 36.

Written in the height of the Vietnam War, this is undeniable political -a domain of humor now relegated to a one-hour time slot on Comedy Central.


Elliot Cowan said...

"It'd be great if Cartoon Network would allow this level of literacy to at least one of their shows."

Ha ha ha.

Sam Henderson said...

Peter Bramley was actually the first art director for NL, but was fired because every article pretty much looked like this. Fine for this particular article but it doesn't work when you're trying to parody a particular magazine.

If you haven't seen it, I can send a copy of 'The Vietnamese Baby Book', another piece O'Donoghue wrote about Vie.tnam

roconnor said...

Was the "Vietnamese Baby Book" in the Lampoon?

This magazine was a year or so before National Lampoon started up. It was pretty much just political. There's an Abby Hoffman article, but he was more a professional asshole than a humorist.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Peter Bramley was not fired, but quit....he was co-art director with Bill Skurski, the co-founder of their landmark Cloud Studio. Bramley was upset because he that was the only style they wanted him to do...he did far more, ie, look at the Normal Rockwall illustration, a dead-on Rockwell spoof.