Tag Archives: Michael O’Donoghue

The gutless world of McSweeney’s

This is a weak bit of satire. There are no laughs to be had in this piece, merely a few wheezy hee-hee-hee’s. It’s lazy imitation Chandler.  And it doesn’t go nearly far enough.

If you’re going to satirize something, finish it. Go all the fucking way. But that’s not the McSweeney’s/Dave Eggers way, is it? Their version of irony apologizes for itself as it mocks. It doesn’t mock hard. It giggles at itself, mouth hidden behind both hands. It risks nothing and shows us nothing.

If you’re going to be a satirist, you had better be ready not to be liked. But the McSweeney’s bunch all want your smiles and your hugs. They want to share their pecan sandies with you over a glass of lemonade.

This kind of satire changes nothing, sheds light on nothing, because it doesn’t take sides. It isn’t even on the sidelines. It hides beneath the bleachers and whispers, “Are you my special friend? I’ll tell you a joke, but it’s not a good joke and I’m so sorry if it offends you and please won’t you like me anyway?”

Mr. Mike with Knife
Michael O’Donoghue should rise up out of his grave and beat them all to death with a shovel.
So, hmm. How to end this diatribe? Oh, right: Fuck you, McSweeney’s.

Your shitty free movie of the week… this week: Mr. Mike's Mondo Video

Mr. Mike

Before his brain exploded in the mid-1990’s, Michael O’Donoghue was one of the greatest writers of pitch black humor in this country. He wrote some of the best sketches in Saturday Night Live’s early history, including this sketch that asks the age-old question, “What if Superman ended up in Nazi Germany instead of America?”

As you may imagine, his vision probably didn’t always align with the vision of NBC, so a lot of his sketches did not end up on the show. Where some of the best of the rejected sketches ended up was this 90-minute special, which never ran on NBC. Instead, it ended up at the midnight movies… where a young me saw it. There were about ten other O’Donoghue diehards sitting with me in there. So much doomed laughter. Ah… warm memories. When Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video came out on VHS, I bought a copy, and wore it out. Now it’s on YouTube, where anyone can watch these little bits of pure genius.

Mondo, for those of you not familiar with the term, is an exploitation documentary. For an example, see my review of Primitive London.

My favorite moment… “Coming up next… Japanese girls bathing in dolphin blood!” It’s a movie in which women shoot down planes with pointy bras, people have ecstatic visions of Jack Lord, and cats are chucked into a swimming pool. The musical guests are none other than Sid Vicious, Root Boy Slim, and Klaus Nomi.

As Mr. Mike himself said in a Spin magazine column right before his brain went kablooey: “I don’t think of myself as just another writer. I see myself more as an Instrument of Destiny with a clear moral imperative to set the world straight on a few things. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not claiming that I’m right and that everyone else is wrong. All I’m saying is when the Angel of the Lord appeared to me and allowed me to read certain key passages from The Book of Life, it gave me an ‘overview’ that others may not have. Call it ‘Wisdom’ or ‘Truth’ or a ‘Mandate from God,’ I don’t care. I prefer to consider it ‘one man’s opinion’ and let it go at that.”

If you think this world is a Wonderful Place Filled with Hugs and Love and Puppies Licking Ice Cream Cones, don’t go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTmN3N5v0W4

But if you’re like me, and see this world as the bleak fucking hellhole that it actually is, only Mr. Mike can make you laugh until you vomit and vomit some more, until you dry heave boiling black bile.

For a contemporary master of black humor, visit with our master of ceremonies here on ParagraphLine.com, Mr. Jon Konrath by buying his new book Atmospheres.

Love you all bunches! Your pal, Jan (pronounced “Yawn,” you heathens!).