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.