"Weird Al" Yankovic, the best-selling comedy artist in the history of the record industry and a multiple Grammy winner, weighed in late last night on the reports that MAD magazine will be ceasing publication, expressing sorrow for the loss of "one of the all-time greatest American institutions." Yankovic was just one of many voices last night, upset after the news broke that MAD magazine was cutting way back and would stop publishing new interior content in the magazine later this year.
In 2015, Yankovic was the first person ever to be the magazine's "guest editor," a role that fulfilled a childhood fantasy that he and likely many other kids have had. "It was my childhood dream to one day be a contributor to MAD Magazine," Yankovic said at the time. "This is an excellent example of why children are never allowed to make important decisions." You can see his somewhat less flippant comments on the magazine's end below.
I am profoundly sad to hear that after 67 years, MAD Magazine is ceasing publication. I can’t begin to describe the impact it had on me as a young kid – it’s pretty much the reason I turned out weird. Goodbye to one of the all-time greatest American institutions. #ThanksMAD pic.twitter.com/01Ya4htdSR— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) July 4, 2019
Reports of the magazine's demise turned out to be exaggerated -- but only slightly. The humor publication will stop circulating at newsstands after next month's issue, and the issue after that will be the final MAD made entirely with new content. After that, MAD will begin republishing great strips from the past with a new cover each month, published exclusively to the comic shop direct market. DC intends to continue publishing MAD's venerable year-end specials as well as other one-shots and special projects. Still, as an ongoing topical humor magazine, MAD is functionally going to be gone by the end of 2019.
It has been a while since MAD was the standard-bearer for American comedy and satire that it once was; Yankovic's issue was a rare moment of publicity for the magazine in its later years, and the magazine never seemed to fully recover from the loss of longtime editor John Ficarra, who declined to join DC when the company moved from New York to Los Angeles. In 2017, DC replaced Ficarra with veteran Bongo Comics editor Bill Morrison, but he was laid off earlier this year, and any breath of fresh air DC hoped his new editorial regime might bring was clearly not entirely effective since MAD relaunched with a new #1 in April of 2018, and never quite seemed to find its niche.