Letters to the Editor – The Harvard Lampoon

Smellfungus #

| Issue Editor: SWR '19 | Art Editor: SW '20

Letters to the Editor

  SWR '19

Dear SWR,

Reading the Lampoon got me through my devastating divorce last year. Thanks to you guys, I’ve decided to quit my fake veterinarian practice and pursue comedy full-time. But how do I start writing jokes?

Ryan T., Age 9
Eagle, NE


Dear Ryan,

IT’S SIMPLE. THERE IS ONLY ONE JOKE AND THAT IS SAYING ANYTHING IN A LOUD, FUNNY VOICE (I’m using all caps to convey the volume of the funny Italian accent I’m doing as I write this). ONCE YOU’VE MASTERED THAT, YOU HAVE MASTERED ALL JOKES.

On a more serious note, deep down all jokes are just lies. For example, the funniest joke of all time is if you see someone wearing a Frankenstein Halloween costume, and you say “That’s a great Elvis costume!” in a really funny Daffy Duck voice.

Some comedians also do a thing called subversion, which is where you build up tension with a “setup” and then you subvert expectations with a “ponchline.” A classic subversion would be a miscarriage, for example. Subversions work well because of the fact that life is an uncontrollable cycle of “tension-subversion-tension-subversion,” and the only real “release” you can get is suicide. Does that answer your question?

Anyways, good luck with your divorce.




Dear SWR,

There’s a boy I like in my chemistry class, but when I tried to impress him by smacking a scary spider with your most recent issue, it missed completely and broke a priceless vase. Now I’ve been expelled. Can I get a refund?

Erica S., Age 16
Sycamore, IL


Dear Erica,

Ah, l’romance. I know it well. If I had a nickel for every time I told a girl I loved her, I’d have enough money to appeal every restraining order filed against me. If you really like this guy, you have to say it to his face. I know that must sound nerve-racking, and if it doesn’t then you’re some kind of emotionally intelligent freak and should run for president.

Just be careful. I never really talk about my personal life in these letters, but I once fell in love with a Ukrainian movie star. A few months into our green card marriage, it became clear she was not actually Ukrainian, nor a movie star, nor a woman, but rather a dog from a popular French sitcom.

This will actually take too long to explain. Long story short, there was a year in my life where I fell for a different phishing scam every day.

Anyways, we don’t have the infrastructure in place to do refunds.




Dear SWR,

Sometimes I become aware that aliens are watching me in order to test the limits of my morality, but if I indicate to them that I’m aware of their existence then the aliens will terminate their experiments on me, either by killing me or by removing me from the world that I’ve come to accept as reality and placing me in a new world that is undoubtedly and unfathomably worse.

Tonkins, Age 34
Volcano, HI


Dear Thomas,

You raise a very good point. There’s no need to worry about other people judging you! These days, it’s more likely that everyone around you is too busy staring at their phones anyway, laughing at stupid unsuspecting idiots getting hurt in epic fail compilations. People are always so worried about how others perceive them that they forget to worry about the truly important parts of life, like their deformities and personality flaws.

You only live once, brother! So dance like no one’s watching, but also take a moment to watch other people dance and mock them if they’re bad at it. It doesn’t matter how you get to this point of self-actualization—be it through meditation, hard drugs, or improv classes—all that matters is that you do it before the age of 25.

Anyways, glad you like the magazine! Everything we do, we do for our subscribers.