Since the 1950s, Americans have played MadLibs, a game that teaches basic English rules of grammar while being zany and fun. It was invented by a team of comedy writers for the Honeymooners television show, Leonard Stern and Roger Price. The game's name indicates the origin, because the ad-lib is a type of comedy skit. It originally began as an office diversion which they'd play together while writing for the show. They found it so enjoyable they started taking their game with them to cocktail parties. As its popularity grew, they formed their own publishing company to release collections of MadLibs for the general public. After comedian Steve Allen, a friend of the pair, plugged MadLibs on his television show the collections began to sell out in the stores. Each of the 'books' has a wacky title or theme: Night of the Living MadLibs, Camp Daze MadLibs, or Sooper Dooper MadLibs. They are still being published today.
MadLibs are small books containing about 20 short stories apiece. The game can be played by any number of people. Each of the stories has a title: Police Call, Superstitions, My Dream Man, or Letter from Camp. A descriptive article of the person, place, or event follows. Certain words are omitted in the text. In their place is a blank space with the correct part of speech missing. The needed word is indicated below a provided line. These include nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, proper names, numbers, and even liquids. One person is the reader. They first call out the part of speech needed. The other players volunteer the corresponding words, which the reader notes down in the blanks provided. For example:
Reader: A Number
And so on, until the page is completed.
At the end of each story the reader announces the subject, and then proceeds to read the article aloud to the other players. The results are truly ad-libs and usually hilarious. The following are actual examples for completed MadLibs.
Never fart under a ladder.
- From Superstitions
The Symphony Orchestra, which is noted for its excellent string and moist wind sections, is considered by many trout to be the world's most crazy ensemble.
- From Concert Program
Other popular dogs are Slutty Terriers, German Octopi, and the Tropical Poodle.
- From Dogs
He should have a physique like Don King, a profile like Dick Cheney, and the intelligence of a wombat.
- From My Dream Man