MAD’s Al Jaffe on More than 50 Years of Cartooning

Posted on March 16, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Vanity Fair pays tribute to MAD’s Al Jaffe, creator of the iconic “fold-in” and the snarky “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions,” noting that he is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest-running cartoonist. I was happy to see that he told one of my favorite stories, about one of the legendary trips the MAD artists used to take together every year.

The first trip we ever took was to Haiti. All the Mad artists and writers, we went over to Haiti.

That’s a weird place to take a company retreat.

It was, sure. It was ostensibly about bonding as a group, everybody getting to know each other a little better. But the second day we’re there, Bill rents a bunch of Jeeps, and he tells us “We’re going to visit someone.”

That’s all he tells you?

We have no clue what’s happening. So we all get in these jeeps, and we drive out to some neighborhood in Haiti, and pull up in front of a house. Bill knocks on the door, a guy answers, and Bill says to him, “We’ve all come here to find out why you canceled your subscription to Mad.”

No he didn’t!

He really did. This guy was Mad’s only Haitian reader, and Bill didn’t want to lose him. So he brought the entire staff to his doorstep. We all just started begging, “What can we do? Come back to us!” He eventually said yes. And the guy next door, his neighbor, he became a subscriber too. So we left Haiti with two new Mad readers.

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