The Harvard Lampoon

The Harvard Lampoon is a student-run humor magazine, published five times every year at Harvard University. To date, it is the oldest continually-published magazine of its kind – the first issue was released in 1876.

harvard lampoon poster

Vintage Harvard Lampoon Poster. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

History of The Harvard Lampoon

From the start, the Lampoon has placed an emphasis on crisp illustrations and written satire. Mascots have include the Jester, a character of humor, and an ibis, which has a statue on top of the Lampoon‘s building on campus.

Beginning in 1896, the Lampoon took great pleasure in creating parodies of other magazines. The first was Life, but eventually, the Lampoon staff realized that what they liked parodying most was the Harvard Crimson, Harvard’s daily newspaper. (For more information about the Crimson, click here.)

By the 20th century, the Lampoon had transformed from a publication dedicated to Harvard humor into a mature means of social commentary.


The Harvard Lampoon Today

The modern Lampoon is characterized by its short, quippy pieces accompanied by humorous comics. Unsurprisingly, its primary influence is The New Yorker, which has a similar format.

Today, the Lampoon has a national audience and is available on Harvard’s campus, online, and on Kindle.

Need a Joke or Two?

harvard lampoon ibis

The Harvard Lampoon Ibis. Photo courtesy of the Harvard Lampoon.

Every issue of The Harvard Lampoon is guaranteed to get to some laughs. In the late 1800s, writers for the Lampoon were responsible for creating some of the most famous jokes in comedy, such as:

“Have you taken a bath?”
“No, is one missing?”

– and –

Barber – “Have a hair cut, sir?”
Gentleman – “Thank you, thought of having several of them cut.”

Visit the Building for The Harvard Lampoon

While walking through Harvard Square, did you ever wonder what that little building with the brightly colored door was for? Mystery solved – that building houses The Harvard Lampoon. Notice how its front features look like a face.

harvard lampoon

Home of The Harvard Lampoon. Photo courtesy of Mancala.

See the map below if you want to take a look.

[pw_map address=”44 Bow Street, Cambridge, MA”]

Contact The Harvard Lampoon

General questions for The Harvard Lampoon can be emailed to
or sent to their mailing address:

The Harvard Lampoon
44 Bow Street
Cambridge, MA 02138