Warner Bros. Unscripted Television, DC and R.J. Cutler’s production hub This Machine are developing a documentary about the iconic Mad magazine.
Oscar-and Emmy-winning director Jessica Yu (“Fosse/Verdon,” “Quiz Lady”) will direct the untitled docu about the 71-year-old humor brand.
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The feature-length doc will explore the origins of the magazine, as well as its irreverent, independent, and often incisive humor. Yu will also examine how Mad became a staple of American satire for generations and encouraged readers to question authority. Mad magazine, which is owned by DC, has authorized the doc and granted the filmmaking team exclusive access to its archives.
In April Al Jaffee, the cartoonist who gave Mad magazine its iconic back page by creating the publication’s fold-in feature, died at the age of 102. In 1964, Jaffee’s fold-in was featured for the first time in Mad magazine, marking the start of the methodic flip-through that Mad readers would do for decades. The fold-in played into the magazine’s satirical humor, giving readers a hidden, comical image that revealed itself when the cartoon was folded into thirds.
The docu will be produced by Cutler, This Machine’s Oscar-nominated producer Elise Pearlstein and Yu. Executive producers are DC’s Jim Lee and Doug Prinzivalli, and Warner Bros. Unscripted Television’s Dan Sacks and Bridgette Theriault.
This Machine is behind Nicole Newnham’s 2023 docu “The Disappearance of Shere Hite,” which has been submitted for Oscar documentary shortlist consideration. Currently the banner is at work on the Elton John docu “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances and the Years That Made His Legend” for Disney+. (Cutler serves as director on that project.)
Cutler founded This Machine in 2020. The company is a part of Sony Pictures Television. Most recently the banner released the Netflix docuseries “Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul,” which Cutler helmed. Additional titles released under the banner include “Supreme Models” (2022) “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry” (2021) and “Belushi” (2020).
The Mad magazine docu is currently in production.
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