Those words constitute the headline for Michael Gerber’s publishing letter in the first, and so far only, issue of America’s latest humor magazine, The American Bystander. He goes on to say, “We expect no one to read this magazine.” Hmmmmm. “In a media world that measures audience in billions, we predict a readership in the hundreds. And it will decline from there.”
A student recently asked me: “How much self-deprecating humor is enough and too much?” Hmmmmm, I responded.
Gerber continues: “Any backers will lose scads of money …” Yet adds: “But don’t misunderstand. We embrace our all-too-inevitable destiny. After you reach a certain age, you realize that cataclysmic failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person.”
Cover by Scott Marshall and Ethan Persoff (can you find Harvey Kurtzman?)
Nonetheless, The American Bystander premiered in late 2015 and it is packed with some of the best cartoonists, illustrators and humorists around, including contributions from Ron Barrett, R.O. Blechman, M.K. Brown, John Caldwell, Roz Chast, Seymour Chwast and an alphabetic list of super-wits. (But my fingers will get too blistered typing them all out.)
It’s a crazy cross between MAD, The New Yorker, National Lampoon, Christian Science Monitor, Spy, New York Magazine and The New Criterion. And in an age when Russ & Daughters (for all you lox fans) is opening uptown on ritzy Fifth Avenue, this is a large helping of oven-fresh laughs. Check out the website just about here. And you’ll be bed-ridden with a hernia from violent laughter, like me. Or maybe not.
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