Legendary iconoclast Tony Hendra joins Real Politik to discuss the history of postwar comedy and his role therein. Hendra is best-hendra-photo5known for playing Ian Faith, manager of the mock heavy metal band Spinal Tap. He was also a pioneer in early British political satire, working with Monty Python founding members Graham Chapman and John Cleese, and was the first managing editor of the National Lampoon, America’s pioneer multimedia comedy powerhouse, where he worked alongside Lampoon founders Doug Kenney, Henry Beard and Rob Hoffman. While at Lampoon Hendra produced the Woodstock mockery Lemmings, discovering such figures as John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Christopher Guest.

Hendra began studying to become a Benedictine monk in Cold War era England. As a student at Cambridge he had an epiphany and turned to pursue a career in satire. In addition to being National Lampoon‘s editor he edited Spy magazine, and is the author of several books carlin-last-wordsand satirical works, including Going Too Far: The Rise and Demise of Sick, Gross, Black Sophomoric, Weirdo, Pinko Anarchist Underground Anti-Establishment Humor (1986), Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul (2004), and The Messiah of Morris Avenue: A Novel (2007). Hendra was also a primary force behind his longtime friend George Carlin’s posthumous memoir, Last Words (2009).


Hendra’s most recent project is the National Lampoon’s first studio album in 35 years, Are There Any Triggers Here Tonight, released earlier this month. He is founder and present editor-in-chief of The Final Edition comedy ensemble.

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5 thought on “Key Observations of a Veteran Satirist”
  1. Excellent interview that shows the true, forgotten goal of political satire.

    The west is actually doing the things we used to lampoon in other countries. This makes true satire and its goal politically difficult. The closest attempt that I can recall was when Steven Colbert “roasted” George W. Bush. He was sweating bullets as he did that. The tension was quite thick.

    What I see today is the label “satire” being used to justify malicious fake “news”. The public at large is not a good target. It only serves to destroy good faith and cause confusion. Where’s the humor in that?

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