From [bOing bOing]:
Roger Kaputnik: kaput at age 81. Here’s an obit for Dave Berg, the pipe-smoking guy with the Reed Richards-style two tone hair who wrote and drew “The Lighter Side of…” cartoons for Mad. His sense of humor was quite a bit different from the rest of the usual gang of idiots, and it is strange that he was even in the magazine. I like his stuff though.
My mom’s mom used to save her pennies to give her two grandkids when they came to visit her in The Bronx. I don’t remember what my brother did with his, but I would invariably march down to the corner store and buy the latest copy of Mad. It was a true high point of my adult life when I ran into Dick DeBartolo on a commuter train to New Jersey; I still have his Mad Magazine business card.
Dave Berg’s drawing was much more mainstream and realistic than, say, Jack Davis’s or Al Jaffe’s (let alone Don Martin’s), and his humor was more rooted in suburbia and adulthood than in parody. More than other artists and writers, Berg gave kids a clue into how adults really thought. It didn’t matter that he recycled ideas nearly as much as Milton Berle.
I took a college course on Satire back in the mid-70s. On the first day, in order to fix the idea of what satire was, the professor asked the class to places one might find it. I suggested Mad, and some snotty sorority girl said, “You mean people read that?”
Several weeks went by. Responding to something or other, the sorority girl mentioned something she’d seen in Cosmopolitian. Sez I, maybe slightly louder than I meant to (but maybe not), “You mean people read that?” I don’t think she spoke to me for two years….