It’s A [Adjective] Time To [Verb] Mad Libs! So Grab Your [Noun] And Let’s Get [Action!] [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe]
It’s the fun game that both kids and adults can play. Just grab the book, a pencil, your brain, and you’re ready for fun! Seriously, how could anyone screw this up!?!?!
Growing up in the country, I was on the elementary school bus for well over an hour. First one on, last one off, and I absolutely hated it.
Being a small country school, fundraising sales were common and had to be done since there was basically no budget for extra-curricular activities. Every group and club was always selling subs, candy and even those holiday window stick-ons. But, you didn’t have to be in a club to be a sales target.
It seemed like every other week, either a homeroom or reading teacher would hand out book club flyers targeted at students. These flyers were the equivalent of mom and dad picking up the Sunday paper and scanning for the ads. These colorful flyers would peddle all kinds of age specific books and a few miscellaneous items. This was long before Amazon.com was a household name.
I can still remember most of the clubs: The Weekly Reader Book Club, The Troll Book Club, The Trumpet Club, and Scholastic. Each was a two to four page flyer of about 40 or so books. When a student would make a purchase, the teacher would earn a few bucks to buy supplies for the class. It seemed these things came out every week. It was in one of those flyers that I first discovered the book, Mad Libs.
The description read: ”Have fun with your friends creating hilarious stories by filling in simple mystery words.” I was a child, so I can’t remember if that’s what it said word for word, but basically – you were filling in the blank.
The reader would be presented with a short story with many of the words missing. Below the blank line to fill in, was a description of the type of word needed to finish the story. All of these descriptions were presented on the preceding page. The object was to go down the list and write in the first thing that came into your mind, before reading the story. You would then take those words and fill them into your story one by one:
(Friend’s name) Ryan
Now, let’s take the list in order and place them into the story:
(Exclamation), (Boy’s name) said as he (verb) his (noun.)
My story has now become:
Ouch, Ryan said as he popped his Subaru.
Hilarious, right? Imagine that Ryan trying to pop his Subaru! Oh, the visuals! Even for adults a few rounds of this would certainly liven up any party! After just a few cocktails, your guests would be begging Ryan to not be popping the Subaru…
Mad Libs was originally invented by Leonard Stern and Roger Price in 1953 and published their first book in 1958 under their new company Price Stern Sloan. The books were an immediate hit and new editions were published on a regular basis. In 1993, the company was purchased by The Putman Publishing Group and moved their headquarters to New York. The Putnam Publishing Group is now known as The Penguin Group and continues to publish new editions.
Mad Libs have been created for just about every family adventure and holiday possible. Versions published throughout the years include Vacation Mad Libs, Worst Case Scenario Mad Libs, Night of the Living Mad Libs, Sports Star Mad Libs, Camp Daze Mad Libs, Mad Libs from Outer Space, Mad Libs on the Road, and more.
There are even TV and movie franchise versions available including Scooby-Doo, The Powerderpuff Girls, Kung Fu Panda, Star Wars, Family Guy, American Dad, Indiana Jones, The WWE, Fear Factor, and many more.
I’m in the mood to play another short round:
Food Dairy Queen Dilly Bar
Fear Factor (occupation) Joe Rogan (verb) a (noun) after seeing a contestant eat a (food).
Fear Factor fireman Joe Rogan whipped a gun after seeing a contestant eat a Dairy Queen Dilly Bar.
Good thing I didn’t say cat as my noun!
To capture the popularity of the books with kids, The Disney Channel created a game show version that aired for one season starting in July 1998. The series was hosted by David Sidoni and was produced by former game show hosts Dick Clark and JD Roth. To keep the game interesting for kids, they added wacky stunts, instead of just filling in the blank.
The books are still big sellers and two new titles have just been published. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Mad Libs: The Boxed Set and Disney Club Penguin Mad Libs. Both are available directly from the company on madlibs.com. There are other versions for sale there as well as on Amazon.com.
Mad Libs have also moved into the 21st century and are available as an app for IPad and IPhone!
Name: Mad Libs
What: Interactive books/game for children and adults
Published: 1958 – present
Cost: books start around $3 and up
JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS: I couldn’t think of my childhood without these books. I love the fact that they are available in both children’s and adult versions. I may pick some up for my next party and recommend that you do the same.
There have been many imitators, but there are only one true set of Mad Libs. You can search for free knock-off versions online, but since they only a couple bucks, pick up the paperback and have some fun.
Let’s all thank Stern and Rogers for their great idea everyone can enjoy. I at least have to thank them for taking the torture out of my long school bus ride. Let’s see if an adult version can do the same for my daily subway commute as well!
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