Dec. 16 2014 — 12:06 am | 386 views

U.S. Humorists Ready to Publish Parodies of Sony Hacks

By Lewis Grossberger |

"They're minimally talented, spoiled brats."

“They’re minimally talented, spoiled brats.”

This week, most of America’s professional humorists are hard at work on their parodies of the scandalous Sony Pictures e-mail hacks, which exposed the inner workings of one of Hollywood’s biggest studios. (Although one guy, just to be perverse, is writing a hilarious CIA cookbook featuring recipes for rectal hummus and anal tabouli.) Having just completed a quick survey of the satire community, I can report that most of their pieces are coming along nicely and soon will be online or in print. Here are some excerpts from the best:

Ramses’ hieroglyphic tablet hacks

O these vexatious Hebrews! They are slaves but think they are kings–especially that accursed Moses. What an insufferable, no-talent blowhard. Every day it’s “My God commands this, my God commands that.” A plague upon his house! On top of that aggravation, I’m a million silver rings over budget on bricks, I haven’t had a hit pyramid in decades, and the critics all hate the Sphinx. Plus, O Great Isis, how these bloody boils itch.

P.T. Barnum’s telegraph hacks

Never have I met such an egomaniac as that confounded General Tom Thumb. Yesterday, I caught him putting knockout drops in Jumbo’s hay so as to render the poor pachyderm unconscious, whereby the vile homunculus could have the spotlight all to himself. Then he got besotted and chased the Fiji Mermaid all over her tank. Now the little creep’s agent wires me to say Thumb doesn’t want to imitate President Garfield or Stephen Foster anymore; he’s a superstar, so all he need do is stand there and act the smallshot!

Nero’s scroll hacks

From the couch of Thespius, procurator, Imperial Sports and Recreation Department: Hail, Emperor Nero! Good news, divine one. I’ve talked Spartacus out of revolting and signed him for the title fight with Maximus.

From the bath of Nero: That is well, Thespius, but I’ve read the script for the contest and the ending is stinkus. It’s nothing but one stupid sword thrust after another! We need a twist. Something to bring the crowd to its feet, turn toward the royal box and cheer my glory till they’re hoarse!

Thespius: Oh my gods, divine one, you are so perceptive, so…so empirical. I shall straightaway fire the wretched scribe who devised this horrible script and put Climacticus, my highest paid ending writer, on the project

Nero: No need. I have myself conceived the perfect ending to the spectacle: We import some wild beasts from Africa and feed you to them!

               Ed Sullivan’s Phone Hacks

CBS president William S. Paley: Dorothy Kilgallen tells me you’re putting the Beatles on the show Sunday. What are Beatles, Ed?

Ed: They’re a bunch of minimally talented, spoiled brats from England. But the youngsters like them. You know I’d do anything for America’s youngsters.

Paley: The English! What do they know about rock and roll? They all have bad teeth and talk funny! Did you know they still have a monarchy? Who has monarchs anymore? Even the lepidopterists don’t go for monarchs

Ed: (laughing) Mr. Paley, You’re a regular Myron Cohen. Your bigoted, xenophobic humor never fails to break me up. Odd how you never do it in public, though.

Paley: Ed, when you’re a top corporate bigwig, you have to hide your true nature. We’re all callow, vicious, backstabbing, ruthless savages, you know. Can’t have that getting out now, can we?

Ed: Heck, no! I hope it never does.

Paley: Don’t be silly. It could never happen.


Nov. 04 2014 — 4:05 pm | 672 views

Bite the Book: New York Times Book Review Chats with Tarzan

By Lewis Grossberger |

Screen shot 2014-11-02 at 2.31.39 PMWhat books are currently on your night stand?

Ape man not have night stand. Keep books under rock. Me read lot of social anthropology and environmental studies. Also, any book that discusses how to fight lions with knife. Right now, Tarzan reading Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel.” Me on page three.

How long have you been reading it?

Five years. Tarzan slow reader.

What book most influenced your development as a heroic adventurer and fighter for justice in the jungle?

Me brought up by apes; they no read. So not start till age 27, after go to England, become Lord Greystoke. Then Tarzan read bio of Lord Byron. Decide want to be just like him, have adventures, see far-off lands, do sex thing with pale, swoony ladies and gentlemen. Except Tarzan no write poetry, instead fight lions with knife.

Do you read any fiction?

Sure. Tarzan especially enjoy novels that rip away thin veneer of civilization, expose savagery beneath. “Lord of Flies” real good, and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” “Heart of Darkness” has compelling plot, evocative symbolism, but Conrad get jungle foliage all wrong. Tarzan borrow “Fifty Shades of Grey” from Jane, but it make Tarzan blush.

What’s the last book that made you laugh?

“Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare. Everyone talk funny, wear too much clothes, look silly. All you need is loincloth. You wear toga, knife get caught in folds when you try whip it out for killing lion.

The last book that made you cry?

“Moby Dick.” That very sad book. If only Tarzan be there, me wrestle evil whale, kill him with knife, save Captain Ahab.

Any books that did not live up to your expectations?

“War and Peace.” Me enjoy epic scale and historical realism, but Cheetah eat book before me can finish. Tarzan disappointed. Tolstoy masterpiece should have stronger binding, be able to withstand rigors of tropical climate, molars of chimp. This flaw in book make Tarzan angry. Tarzan beat chest in frustration, scream real loud.

But surely, you can’t blame Tolstoy for that.

Hey, Tarzan is simple creature with primitive code of morality. Me believe people either good or evil. You come into jungle, try to make off with precious carved idol of native tribe, Tarzan kill you, eat your heart, beat chest, scream real loud.

Has Tar…have you ever thought of writing a book yourself?

Tarzan once approached by American publisher to write memoirs. Ape man come up with great title: “Me Tarzan, You Reader.” But then Tarzan have big fight with editor. Editor evil. Him want cut chapter on vine-swinging technique. Him say put in sex with apes. No! Tarzan no write sex with apes. Me role model for youth. Tarzan bash in brains of editor, leave rotting corpse for jackals. Triumphant scream echo throughout entire jungle. This happen years ago but natives still giving Tarzan high fives.


Oct. 24 2014 — 5:25 pm | 871 views

Mr. Ebola Expert Answers Your Questions

By Lewis Grossberger |

Screen shot 2014-10-24 at 4.59.17 PMQ. I’m a New Yorker and I’m afraid. Can I get ebola from the L train?

A. No.

Q. Are you sure?

A. Yes

Q. Because yesterday, I took the L train to Brooklyn, and when I…

A. I said NO!

Q. I don’t have ebola, but I have severe ebola anxiety, and it’s so bad, I’m throwing up. What should I do?

A. That’s outside my area of expertise. I’m Mr. Ebola Expert. You want Mr. Ebola Anxiety Expert.

Q. There’s an ebola germ crawling up my wall. Is it safe to swat it, or would that just give me ebola?

A. That’s not possible. Ebola viruses are so tiny they are invisible to the naked eye.

Q. Oh, I know that. I’m using a powerful electron microscope.

A. Uh…All right, keep watching it. If it tries to leave your apartment, call the authorities.

Q. I’m a bowler and I bowled at the same alley where that ebola doctor bowled, so I was wondering if I can get ebola from–

A. No.

Q. Is ebola airborne? The experts say it isn’t, but two of my Facebook friends say it is.

A. It isn’t.

Q. Are you sure?

A. Yes.

Q. Can I panic anyway?

A. No.

Q. I watched the mayor’s news conference on ebola and then I started feeling a little feverish. Do I have ebola?

A. No.

Q. I live in the same neighborhood as the ebola doctor; does that mean I’m gonna die?

A. No.

Q. If a guy who has ebola coughs in my face, can I get ebola?

A. It’s possible. Did someone with ebola cough in your face?

Q. No, but I’m worried someone might.

A. Put a plastic bag over your head. Secure it tightly around your neck. Then it can’t happen.

Q. I went to the drugstore and asked to get the ebola vaccine, but they claimed they don’t have any ebola vaccine. They’re really saving it for the big shots, aren’t they?

A. There is no ebola vaccine.

Q. I knew it. I knew they were saving it for the big shots.

A. You know nothing.

Q. I was coming to New York this weekend but now I don’t know if I should. What do you think?

A. Don’t come.

Q. Because I could get ebola?

A. No, because we already have enough idiots.

Q. I just had twelve beers, and threw up, which I never do after only twelve beers. So I probably have ebola, right?

A. No. What you have is stupidity.

Q. I’m a cabbie. There’s a guy in the back of my taxi right now who looks to me like he has ebola. How do I throw him out without catching ebola? Hello? Is anyone there?

Editor’s Note: We’re sorry but Mr. Ebola Expert has resigned. This feature is discontinued.