I've always said, "MAD Magazine takes being funny, seriously!" Being one of the "Usual gang of idiots" has been a true honor. I grew up reading the magazine after saving up enough to buy one off the news stand. It was a big deal to thumb through them and drink in the incredible talent pool that would be featured from cover to cover. The irreverent writing always tickled my funny bone and provided material for the next day at school.
When I got my first assignment, I was over the moon with excitement! I was asked to paint a centerfold piece of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal themed to the classic STAR WARS movie poster. Being that Kenneth Starr was the prosecutor in the case, the tie-in was pretty quick to grasp. One of the first requests was that the cigar be inappropriately large. Things were getting interesting!
This was before the digital era so I had to ship the final artwork to the MAD office in New York City. I waited and waited for delivery confirmation, hoping the editorial staff would be pleased. No call came, so I went to lunch to take my mind of off the anticipation. When I got home there was a message from the editor. He started screaming into the phone that they hated it and they were going to see to it that I never work in New York again. On and on he went. I was sinking into the floor. He then started laughing along with everyone else in the conference room who was reviewing that issue's artwork. They were just messing with me. The final piece was a hit, which was the first of many opportunities to work with the craziest crew.