Hits (And Misses) From My Writing Class With The Onion

national lampoon vincent van gogh cover

In April 1992 I fell in love with National Lampoon Magazine.

I bought my first issue at a local drugstore and raced home, excited to find out if this would be a worthy successor to my Mad Magazine fascination as a child. I had matured, albeit slightly, and was seeking a more sophisticated type of funny. I found it in National Lampoon. I decided after reading the issue that I would make it a life’s goal to write something worthy of the magazine’s inclusion. The problem was that as a sophomore in high school, I had never written anything. Plus, I was unfunny. Oh, and the National Lampoon quit publishing about a year later. I shelved the dream of being a writer and re-focused my efforts on trying to bone senior Ashley Ripley who once smiled at me in homeroom, to which I assumed meant she wanted this (note – pointing currently at self). She didn’t. READ MORE

Behold the 2017 ThoughtsFromParis Holiday Card

If you know what this is, you've wasted your life.
alan thicke candace cameron let it snow
If you know what this is, you’ve wasted your life.

I had to be talked into this year’s card.

My girlfriend was certain it would land big with our friends and family, but what did she know? I’d like to think, for my own self esteem, that I’m the only one in the relationship with a rapier wit. Turns out she was right and the card was well-received. Many even reported that it was my best card to date. The credit for this success lands 100% in Liz’s lap. READ MORE

Allison (But Not Allison This Time) and D.J. Fix Your Stupid Problems About Your Best Friend

Nothing to add, here. The image is way funnier than anything I could ever write.
D.J. and Allison fix your stupid problems about your best friend

To be fair, Allison tried on this one.

She wrote me a few days ago asking to bow out of this specific edition. Allison had just taken on two new clients and was now travelling a good chunk of the time. She kept attempting to write this piece but wasn’t happy with it. (After reading her drafts, I concur) Then she did that thing that all weirdos like her and I do – we go all or nothing. In a frazzled state she said, “I can’t commit to this any longer!” She was having a moment. I told her to have her moment, and that I’d handle this one. She’ll come back in the next one. She’s just a spaz. READ MORE

Allison and D.J. Need Your Stupid Problems About Your Best Friend

D.J. and Allison fix your stupid problems about your best friend

A guy a know who I’ll call Cullen used to say, “I love you enough to tell you the truth.”

After this proclamation, he would immediately follow it with a barrage of criticisms about how you’re doing things wrong. It was uncomfortable. You’d feel defensive. But after his assault concluded, you’d find yourself saying, “Dammit, the sonofabitch was right.” And he always was. A mutual friend of ours, Jen, was complaining about some shitheel she was dating. Jen is a psychologist and a strong, independent woman. However, she was dating a shitheel. He sucked. We all knew it. She suspected it, but stuck with him. One day, Cullen says to her (apropos of nothing), “What’s up with your self-esteem? You know better than to be with a loser. Get yourself together. Christ!” And Jennifer started to cry. Cullen didn’t flinch. He patiently waited for the sobbing to end. Then Jennifer said, “Yeah… I know.” Because she knew that Cullen was right. She dumped the guy a few days later. READ MORE

Allison and D.J. Fix Your Stupid Problems About Your Look

Ooh, I like the way you work that spatula, Mr. Thomas.
allison and d.j. need your stupid problems about your look

Everyone wants to love what they see staring back in the mirror. And, I’m not referring to that inner-beauty nonsense that isn’t real. Well, inner beauty can be real, I guess. But your outer beauty is always being evaluated. Mostly by you. And I’d bet, if you’re like near everyone else on the planet, that you focus on the imperfections. When we check out our crooked nose or thinning hairline, it’s a reminder that not only are we imperfect, but we’re imperfect and aging. Those are two very heavy trips, dig? So, we asked for your questions about how to cope with said imperfections. Allison Arnone and I did our best to lighten your load. Read on, where we help you co-exist with your warts and all. (Oliver Cromwell reference, sucka!) READ MORE

Allison and D.J. Need Your Stupid Problems About Your Gross Appearance

allison and d.j. need your stupid problems about your look

I believed I was so ugly no woman would ever want to date me.

I remember confessing this to a college roommate one summer. He was a handsome fraternity brother who had to fend off women when we went out. He was asking why I never talked to girls and I told him, “Well, I’m just not attractive enough, so why get rejected?” Now, the worst thing you can do if someone confesses their most vulnerable insecurity is to confirm it. Since I believed I was an ugly troll as much as I believed my name was D.J., the only hope that I had was that I might be wrong. But of course, he said the worst possible response. READ MORE

Allison and D.J. Fix Your Stupid Problems About The Holidays

Allison and D.J. Fix Your Stupid Problems About The Holidays

I’ve never made out with anyone underneath mistletoe.

To be fair, if I’m at a friend’s home I’m not going to attack his wife because she happened to walk by the mistletoe plant on her way to the kitchen. Or sprig. Or whatever the hell mistletoe is. Nobody knows. What I do know is that it’s never helped me get over with the ladies. In the past I’ve even brought a tube of lip plumper to these parties, and taped it up next to the mistletoe so women can get their lips right for a kiss. I’m nothing if not thoughtful. But this column isn’t about me and my problems. It’s about yours. We got so many damn issues on this one topic, Allison Arnone and I are doing a part II next week. We started this advice column several months ago, and each time we do it we get more and more entries. It’s very much appreciated, and we respectfully bow to you. Now, go endure your family for the next week. It will be difficult, sure, but hey, your folks still load you up with some decent presents, and you’re thirty-seven years old. Just grin and bear it when mom starts in on your weight. Happy holidays! READ MORE

Allison and D.J. Need Your Stupid Problems About the Holidays

"Guru" Allison pondering the nature of the universe after three days of not washing her hair.
Allison and D.J. Fix Your Stupid Problems About The Holidays

Let’s face it – everyone’s family is nuts.

Yes, even yours. And I don’t mean your twice-removed aunt that shows up on Christmas Eve clearly off her meds. Even the “normal” members of your family are crazy. How could they not be? There’s decades of dysfunctional family history stored in everyone’s hippocampus. Quite frankly I’m impressed you turned out as well as you did. Let’s face it – you’re a survivor. And then every December you voluntarily go back into that den of insanity! After what they did to you! I wish I was half the man/woman you are. To go back and face your antagonists, wow. Just wow. I moved the laptop to the top shelf of my bookcase – right this second – because I needed both hands free. Yes, I’m clapping for you. That’s what you do for heroes. You clap. READ MORE

Introducing TreeBaseSack™ – The Runaway Hit Tree-Skirt of Next Christmas

ozzy osbourne

I just put my new fake tree together.

By accident I had left my old fake tree at the ex-girlfriend’s place. It was a cool fake Christmas tree, too. Tall, but thin. It had style. But when a relationship ends, sometimes it makes sense to just buy a new fake tree. So I did. I decided to go tall and thin again. A sign of respect to the previous tree that was likely covered with dust in her storage unit. The new tree arrived and I assembled it.  The ornaments and lights and even that thing at the top. Treetop hat or whatever. Then I realized I didn’t have a tree-skirt. I must have left that with the tree at her place. I shook my angry fist toward the heavens, but then purchased a swath of canvas online a few minutes later. I had an idea. A great idea? Yeah, actually it was. READ MORE