June 26, 2009

So what does comedy plus time equal?


Here's the cover of The Post New York Post, a 1984 parody about how the tabloid would cover a nuclear holocaust. It was edited by, I believe, Tony Hendra and Robert Vare and Lewis Grossberger with Kurt Andersen and Warren Leight. I remembered it today for obvious reasons, and not finding an image online I dug it out of my closet and took a few pictures with my iPhone. And not the new iPhone with the decent camera, sorry.

Excerpts and images from the cover story after the jump.

jacksondeathglove.jpg The article, purportedly by Steve Dunleavy, begins, "Everyone on earth remained in deep seclusion today as the tragic news of Michael Jackson's bizarre death sent shock waves through an unconsolable and devastated world," and reports that Jackson had just gone into "his world-famous spin move" on stage when a nuclear blast hit, accelerating "the already dangerously high velocity of Michael's spin, increasing the twirl ratio beyond acceptable industry standards," propelling him into the earth's core. It announces a worldwide funeral tour as "weeping mourners from New York to Nepal donned solitary black gloves in witness to their grief." Remember when the glove was the strangest thing about him?

OK, so the joke doesn't sustain very well past the cover, which is funny largely because it's a joke about the Post, not Jacko. Who, note, was not yet called Jacko. The best bits in the article involve Jackson's brother: "'Jermaine just keeps reliving the entire horrible nightmare,' said someone. 'He sits in Michael's media room and screens the video tapes over and over.'" And later: "Witnesses to the tragedy report that Jermaine grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed the head of his rapidly disappearing brother. The action, while courageous and quick thinking, failed to help Michael in his greatest moment of need."

And there's a coda that will seem awfully familiar to anyone who's read today's newspapers.

For Michael, death was the worst blow to date in a life marred by tragedies ranging from blazing hair to fierce family squabbles over how best to extract every dime from his fabulous talent -- all of which had caused him to retreat ever further into a childlike world filled with toys, games and persistent denials of homosexuality.

Ironically, Michael... may have realized he was living on borrowed time. 'He was walking around knowing that at any moment a nuclear blast could take him out, yet he kept up a brave front for his fans,' said Michael's closest friend, the Post Post's Lisa Robinson.

Now those fans, conservatively estimated to include everyone in the world still alive, struggled to cope with a lost of staggering proportions. In every country of the globe, rich and poor, celebrities and the insignificant alike joined together as one in an unprecedented orgy of weeping, so intense that in many areas flash floods resulted, killing thousands.


Posted by Daniel Radosh


you dug this out of your closet? what untold treasures are archived there?

Strangely, the bones of the Elephant Man.

I have my copy of the Post parody right here... Tony Hendra's not on the masthead, but it does include Kurt Andersen, Lewis Grossberger, Nicolas Lemann and Ellis Weiner.

The Jackson death story also alludes to "the Michael Jackson Memorial Playroom at the family mansion." Prescient?

by spring 84 the details of MJ's crazy lifestyle had already been publicized. Time did a cover story that was sympathetic in tone but full of weird details

the quotes from the NY Post parody are pretty tepid. the '77 Not the New York Times, that was good satire

Tony Hendra was too busy boffing his prepubescent daughter then, wasn't he? Oh no that was earlier ... allegedly.

I've lost my copy of the Post New York Post over the years but I remember it well...especially the "comics" section, where all the cartoon characters we know and love, like Garfield, were showing the effects of radiation in a sick, Happy Tree Friends sort of way.

But I agree with Kyle, Not the New York Times was the first and best satire paper!

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