Mad #462 (John Ficarra) - Amateur Hour Issue - February 2006

The Original Amateur Hour was a radio show hosted by Major Edward Bowes (1874-1946) that aired from 1934 to 1945.  Bandleader Ted Mack (1904-1976) brought the show to television in 1948 where it played until 1970.  Amateur performers (mostly singers) took the stage and tried to start their path to fame and fortune through their initial act.  The Amateur Hour was followed by others with similar formats including The Gong Show (1976-1978), Star Search (1983-1995, 2003-2004), America's Got Talent (2006-????) and American Idol (2002-????).  As low-budget "reality shows" came to dominate tele-viewing in Prime Time, these amateur shows have become ratings leaders and cash cows with celebrities earning huge salaries to serve as talent judges.  The most popular of them all has been American Idol.  This popularity is evidenced by the appearance of Idol judges and performers on the cover (drawn by Mort Drucker) of Mad #462 with red-shoed Alfred E. Neuman as the latest terrible singer.  The internal jokes are "Mad's Do-It-Yourself American Idol Judges' Critiques" by Darren Johnson and Drew Friedman, and "American Idol Also-Rans -- Where Are They Now" by Jeff Kruse and Tom Bunk.  Both articles fail to meet Mad's humor standards in my opinion.  Satires of bad television shows are generally easy to forget.  There is better stuff in this issue such as:

1. The monthly episode of Joe Bitterman by Garth Gerhart as he visits Spenzer's Gifts with niece Zoe.
2. Dave Berg and his dinner date, both smoking pipes, in "The Mad World of ... Food" written by Marc Hempel with the distinctive artistic style of Stan Sinberg.
3. Yao Ming's Chinese underwear and Marv Albert's "new color man" as imagined by Tom Richmond and written by Kruse and Nate Fakes ("Good Points and Bad Points of the New NBA Dress Code").  In an eerie coincidence for me, basketball player Stephon Marbury asks Joan Rivers "... aren't you dead yet?" 
4. Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are guest stars on Monroe.
5. Simon Rich and M.K. Perker introduce "Middle School Nostradamus" in "The Strip Club".
6. Mort Drucker's black-and-white caricatures jump from the pages in Arnie Kogen's television parody of House ("Louse").  Various IV bags contain vodka, fish, oil and "whatever".  Look for Dr. Kevorkian, Dr. Phil, Uncle Sam, a vampire and several druckerisms.
7. And Aragones, Kuper, Caldwell, Jaffee.   [JAM 9/18/2014]

Color Pages: 49 of 56 pages (88%)
Humorous Content: 43 of 56 pages (77%)

Random Acts of Mindless - The Fundalini Pages
Mad Cowell's Disease - Mad's Do-It-Yourself American Idol Judges' Critiques
Eats Meets Jest - The Mad World of Food
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Hip-Break Hotel - The Heartbreaking Problems of Aging Elvis Impersonators
He Suits, He Scores! - Good Points and Bad Points of the New NBA Dress Code
Serge-In General - A Mad Look at Bling
Angster's Paradise - Monroe and ... The Dream Date
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Meth - What If Patrick Henry Was a Speed Freak  [fake department]
The Beast and the Brightest - Mad's Inspirational Animal Stories
Pen & Stink - The Strip Club
Rejects Education - American Idol Also-Rans -- Where Are They Now?
License to Shill - Go Fetch!
Hugh Dirty Rat - Louse

Fold-In - Chart