I would love to do my own memorial blog to the late, great Mad artist/writer who recently died at the ripe young age of 102, but someone already did a much better blog than I have time and energy to do at the moment. If you’re as much of a fan of Al Jaffee as I am, please give this blog a look:
This is especially important because this guy’s blog has a full scan of an article that is arguably one of th funniest things I’ve ever read in my life – which is an article about how to “slob proof” your home. Last night, I brought my box of old Mad magazines up from the basement and started leafing through them looking specifically for Al Jaffee features. No, I don’t mean the Mad “fold-ins,” which he was best known for doing. Wow, talk about a huge contribution to pop culture those were, they even made it into “The Simpsons.”
No doubt Simpsons creator Matt Groening was heavily influenced by Mad magazine!
As for me, I started reading Mad when I was a kid, with my delight in the humor publication having been handed down to me by my mother. Back when I was in college, she gave me all of her old Mad magazines, most of which no longer have intact covers. The oldest of the Mad magazines I have is from 1966, when my mom would have been 15. She continued reading until well into the 1970s, and by the time the 1980s rolled around, I would start asking her to buy issues for me while we were out shopping. And since she was also such a fan, how could she say no?
In addition to Mr. Jaffee’s artistic and writing talents, he also was an inventor! In his “Slob-Proofing Your Home” article which appeared in the September, 1976 issue, he drew a walk- through sanitizing gadget for disinfecting slovenly folks before they traipsed inside your home.Well, someone thought this would be a good idea during the COVID 19 pandemic, too! Seriously just do an Internet search, somebody totally made one of these! I am not making this up! And I’m just germ phobic enough to kind of want one! 🥲😃 Sadly Mr. Jaffee never patented his idea, which was clearly ahead of its time.
I do not own the above image, all credits to Mad magazine and artist/writer Al Jaffee, September, 1976 edition.
He also created gadgets to battle big city doggie-doo problems, like in-boot pooper scoopers and doggy diapers, and had some ideas to help airlines save money with no-frills options, like putting passengers in overhead bins.
Credits for above image to Al Jaffee and writer Dick DeBartolo…issue was published sometime in 1969.
Beyond Al Jaffee’s countless contributions to Mad’s very funny pages, Mad was also a great way to get a funny synopsis of popular TV shows and movies without actually having to watch them. I remember a trivia game several years ago where we had to name a Stanley Kubrick film named for a real person (or something to that effect), and I was the hero for remembering Barry Lyndon (its Mad parody was “Borey Lyndon.”) We didn’t have Wikipedia and imdb to summarize films for us back then, we had Mad magazine to do that for us!
Actress Natasha Lyonne recently tweeted about Jaffee’s death, saying he was her most “celebrated relative.” I would be just as proud if we shared blood, too! RIP, Al Jaffee! I hope you’re still creating funny stuff in the Great Beyond!