Former MAD Magazine editor Nick Meglin died at his home in Durham Saturday, June 2 at the age of 82. Meglin worked at MAD as an editor for nearly 50 years before retiring in 2004. Host Frank Stasio pays tribute to Meglin, who was one of his creative inspirations and a dear friend.
"I count myself among the many, many people in journalism and the creative arts who consider MAD Magazine among their most important influences. In fact our love of MAD is about the only way I could be on the same list as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Charles Schulz, Jerry Seinfeld, Patti Smith and "Weird Al" Yankovic – just as the horrifying cliché goes – to name a few.
MAD taught us how to see through all the lies and laugh at the PR madmen who spun profit from desire. And MAD spoke truth to power in the best tradition of the court jester. On the surface: a clumsy half-wit who threatens no one with his adolescent pranks. But when those pratfalls and gags are rooted in dignity and wit, the truth is revealed. And preening lords are humbled. That’s what Nick Meglin brought to MAD – a steady editorial hand that kept the usual gang of idiots tumbling forward with incisive wit and profound dignity. It takes a brilliant mind to play the fool so well.
Nick Meglin appeared on our show several times. I will confess to you that first time I was jumping out of my skin with excitement. And I was actually worried that I might make a fool of myself. Imagine being scared of looking stupid to the guy who was the brains behind Alfred E. Neuman. Anyway, Nick immediately put me at ease. He’s the kind of guy who talks to you like you’ve known him forever.
The show went well, and Nick and I actually became close friends. And here’s something that never happens: a guy I admired from afar all my life turned out to be exactly what I expected when I knew him up close. No, better.
We saw each other often, and he welcomed me into his large circle of friends and loving family. And he treated all of us with deep affection. Even though Nick was a figure who was much larger than life, he made each of us feel like the star of the show. I have prospered enormously from his wisdom, experience and his warm and generous spirit. He had a brilliant mind and a loving heart. I miss Nick Meglin very much."