Your Unauthorized Guide to the Golden Age of National Lampoon Magazine

Sean Kelly

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Contributing Editor, 1970
Associate Editor, 1972
Editor, 1973-76
Senior Editor, 1977-1984

Sean Kelly was involved with National Lampoon from nearly the start. His earliest byline appears in the July 1970 (Bad Taste) issue. He was soon on staff, eventually becoming Senior Editor in 1977 until he left the magazine in 1984.

A native of Montreal, Canada, Kelly was a radio actor, newspaper reporter, advertising writer, and English teacher before he was introduced to the magazine by early NatLamp contributor and fellow Canadian Michel Choquette.

He is perhaps best known for his talents as a lyricist and poet, penning such classics as “Overdose Heaven,” the James Joyce parody “Finnswake Again,” and the lyrics for well over half of National Lampoon‘s song parodies.

He collaborated often in the early years of the magazine with Choquette, Anne Beatts (also Canadian; also brought in by Choquette), and Tony Hendra. He and Hendra co-wrote and co-directed Lemmings, the magazine’s off-Broadway mock-rock concert and its first foray into show business.

On top of his responsibilities at National Lampoon, he became founding editor of Heavy Metal magazine in 1977. HM was sister publication to National Lampoon, and was essentially an English-language version of the French science-fiction/fantasy comic Metal Hurlant.

After leaving National Lampoon in 1984 (and even before), Kelly has written a vast number of books (see the list at right) and done quite a bit of writing for television (see other list at right), particularly children’s television, and mainly for PBS, and has written for many other magazines, including Spy.

He died in 2022 at the age of 81.

Other works by Sean Kelly


The Secret: A Treasure Hunt
Sean Kelly and Ted Mann, 1982

Irish Folk and Fairy Tales
Edited by Sean Kelly, 1982

Not the Bible
Sean Kelly and Tony Hendra, 1983

A Book Called Bob
Sean Kelly, 1984

Sean Kelly and Trish Todd, 1987

Nicknames/Unusual Monikers, Secret Identities, Remarkable Aliases, Hilarious Histories
Sean Kelly and Ron Hauge, 1987

Spitting Images
Sean Kelly, 1987

101 Ways to Answer the Request: “Would You Please Put Out That #(!&)”
Sean Kelly, Warren Leight, and Charles Rubin

The Book of Sequels
Henry Beard, Christopher Cerf, Sarah Durkee, & Sean Kelly, 1990

Boom Baby Moon
Sean Kelly and Ron Hauge, 1993

Saints Preserve Us!: Everything You Need to Know About Every Saint You’ll Ever Need
Sean Kelly and Rosemary Rogers, 1993

Herstory: Lisa Marie’s Wedding Diary: Shamelessly Concocted
Sean Kelly, Chris Kelly, and Ron Barrett, 1996

Who in Hell…: A Guide to the Whole Damned Bunch
Sean Kelly, Rosemary Rogers, and I. Clement, 1996

How to Be Irish (Even If You Already Are)
Sean Kelly and Rosemary Rogers, 1999

The Birthday Book of Saints: Your Powerful Personal Patrons of Every Blessed Day of the Year
Sean Kelly and Rosemary Rogers, 2001


CBS Young Peoples’ Concerts

Live From Planet Earth (HBO)

Goosebumps (FOX)

The Magic School Bus (PBS)

Shining Time Station (PBS)

Noddy and Friends (PBS)

Between the Lions (PBS)

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Major League Baseball’s Comedy Classic Specials (NBC)

Wish You Were Here (CBS)

Ace Lightning (BBC)

Original material (excluding quoted material) © 1997-2024 Mark Simonson.
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