Mad #377 (Nick Meglin and John Ficarra) - Dumbest People 1998 Issue - January 1999

This is the first of the "Dumbest People" issues that also included "Events" (Estrogen Rock) and "Things" (Flag-Burning Amendment, Viagra, Tobacco Bill, etc.).  The annual review of dumbness has become a popular feature of the magazine. Future issues focused on people and there are plenty of them to fill 20 slots.  President Clinton deserved to be the first dumb person for his really dumb affair with a White House intern.  This single story spoiled an otherwise excellent presidency.  Ken Starr deserves equal billing with Clinton for his extremely expensive witch hunt.  Most of the other dummies have faded into cultural obscurity except for South Park that has had 237 episodes through 16 seasons.  This show was never about the animation but rather owes its success to the sarcastic but clever dialog as well as its choice of subjects to lampoon.  To their credit, the Mad editors used this dumbfest to conclude with John Ficarra's (under pseudinym "J. Prete") condemnation of "Right-Wing Gay Bashing" which is an issue that resonates to the present day.  Two of the rejected dumbests made their first appearances in Mad: "Y2K" and "Osama Bin Laden".  Y2K was a non-event but OBL made headlines in 2001 and was certainly more deadly than dumb.  [JAM 7/29/2013]

One of my favorite marginals by Sergio Aragones appears on page 15 as the white spy catches the grey spy knitting a black sweater.

The Three Little Prigs - The Incredible Hanson Story, From Start to Finish!
The Schmucks Stop Here - Melvin & Jenkins Guide to Music Appreciation
The Dissing Link - Six Degrees of Separation Between Anyone and Anything Part III
And the Eat Goes On - Mad's Realistic Food Guide Pyramid for College Students
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side
The 20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of 1998
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Go with the Flobee - Mad's Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Own Infomercial
Angster's Paradise - Monroe & The School Trip Part II
Nerds of a Feather - Who's Who at a Star Trek Convention
Party of the First Parse - The Ambivalence Chaser
A Show of Military Farce - JAB
Grieving Las Vegas - Mad's Celebrity Cause-of-Death Betting Odds

Fold-In - Beanie Baby