What could be easier than getting pages of your schoolwork done by just filling in a few words? Some adjectives here, a few nouns there, add in a couple more verbs and you’ve got yourself the best thing you have ever written: a page from a book of Mad Libs!
Traditionally, a page of Mad Libs is filled in by one person who asks the group for random nouns, verbs, adjectives, exclamations or adverbs. On the page, there are blanks spaces that ask for these words. Without reading the rest of the story, the writer fills in the words that they are told, and once they are all filled, they read the story aloud.
As younger children, we innocently came up with words and spat them out as fast as possible. The story normally came out funny and rarely ever made sense, but there was a growth during the many years that we used Mad Libs. Then, we started reading the story in between the blanks in order to have the story either make perfect sense or to make it even funnier.
Eventually, we came upon the age where we thought that anything and everything that had to do with the body or sexuality was hilarious. We easily filled in the blank spaces in the story with body parts or any other word pertaining to sex. Even with this immaturity, this was probably the peak of your Mad Libs use because the stories were actually quite hilarious. Looking back, we would probably be embarrassed and a bit ashamed of what we wrote during these years.
Mad Libs was invented back in 1953, but it still has a strong and lasting impression on the world, most notably in the early 2000s when we were all enjoying them. Leonard Stern and Roger Price came up with the idea for this game but could not agree on a name until 1958 when they heard an actor and his talent manager arguing at a restaurant in New York City. The actor was hoping to ad lib an upcoming interview, but his manager called this idea “mad” and thus Mad Libs was named.
Later that year, Stern and Rogers released the first Mad Libs book themselves, and this continued until the two men partnered with their high school friend, Larry Sloan, and created Price Stern Sloane in the early ‘60s, a new publishing firm to publish the books. Since then, there have been 70 editions of Mad Libs published and over 110 million copies sold. Currently, Penguin Groups owns Price Stern Sloane and they still sell Mad Libs around the world.
Filling in the blanks on the thin, off-white pages of your Mad Libs book with your friends during a play date was an easy way to relax and guarantee a good laugh, but what if we still participated in a similar activity at Hopkins? What if our paper assignments were actually just books full of Mad Libs based around the class’s area of study?
To get an “A,” all you would have to do is correctly fill out the 10-15 words on every page and have it all make perfect sense. This would make all classes a whole lot easier, less stressful and more fun. Unfortunately, writing full papers and doing actual homework assignments are still on the syllabus.
Mad Libs was a huge part of our childhood in the early 2000s because it was an easy game that you could play by yourself or with any amount of people. We always had a few Mad Libs books lying around because our parents often bought us the huge 10-packs and we filled every page. They were the easiest way to laugh at your own imagination, and we all wish that this was a part of our classes at Hopkins.
Unfortunately, we will have to get a new book if we want to participate in this word game because our professors don’t see this as actual work (weird, I know).