Once upon a <blank>, there was a <blank> called <blank>. And young people loved it, and <blank>ed it for decades. And then one day, Mad Libs became important to Pixar’s 22 Rules for Phenomenal Storytelling.
Of course, that isn’t the end at all; it’s barely the beginning. But it’s one of those so-simple-you-can’t-believe-you-hadn’t-thought-of-it ideas that lurk throughout the content marketing and media creation masterpiece that is Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. People like telling stories; and as with Mad Libs, when you’re trying to get from Point A to Point B you can—and should—let them fill in the blanks.
It seems almost inconceivable, but there are people who don’t know about Mad Libs. To my embarrassment, I had the game’s history wrong, believing it to have been an offshoot of MAD Magazine. But I remember playing Mad Libs as a kid, have seen my kids play it, and it’s been available for years in a digital version for people who can’t find a pencil to scribble in their Mad Libs books. It’s a Mad Libs world.
Even if you never found scribbling poop references in a book to be very funny (and didn’t that always seem to happen?), Mad Libs is the kind of thing that was just amusing and just simple enough to keep your attention and get you laughing with your friends. And this is why the fill-in-the-blanks thing matters in Pixar’s 22 Rules; you can play with yourself, but like chess, solo Mad Libs just isn’t much fun.
And yes, I just slipped the other kind of humor that always seemed to find its way into a Mad Libs session into this piece. That’s what’s wonderful about the Mad Libs rule; you can add funny asides at any moment, almost without trying, and it plays well when you’re being social; in Mad Libs, everyone has a chance to participate.
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