Magazine Publishers: OK, Maybe We Can Take a Joke After All

The Magazine Publishers’ Association has decided it’s not in its best interest, after all, to get mad at a comedian for cracking jokes. According to an MPA spokesperson, the group will not be trying, as rumored, to recoup comic-cum-media critic Jon Stewart’s reported $150,000 appearance fee after Stewart made fun of editors and the industry at last week’s “Laughing Matters: Magazines Celebrate Humor” panel.

“We didn’t contact lawyers,” said Howard Polskin, the MPA’s vice president of communications. “It’s behind us; we’re moving on.”

In front of 1,000-plus magazine-industry folks at Lincoln Center, Stewart had given the four editors on the dais—Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter, Cosmopolitan’s Kate White, Time’s Jim Kelly and Men’s Health’s David Zinczenko—a barbed, nearly Tucker Carlson-class working over. Among the highlights: “I don’t consider print media as relevant” and “I didn’t say you don’t have your place; it’s at the children’s table.”

That left the association–which has been campaigning tirelessly on the theme that people will still be reading (and, yes, sir, advertising in!) the extremely relevant format of ink on glossy paper for decades and decades and decades into the future–gagging on the toy in its Happy Meal. But with Stewart having been paid in advance, the MPA’s most attractive option apparently was to swallow hard and stop fussing.

–Gabriel Sherman