CLOSE
ThinkStock
ThinkStock

8 Memorable Rejection Letters

ThinkStock
ThinkStock

These letters may not have contained the responses the candidates were hoping for, but a memorable rejection is better than a cold form letter from Human Resources.

1. THE THING ABOUT PRINCETON LAW...

Letters of Note

There was just one problem with this application. Mr. Wax had better luck with Harvard and went on to a successful law career.

2. LORNE MICHAELS WILL GLADLY ACCEPT YOUR NUDE PHOTOS.

Uproxx

That SNL producer Lorne Michaels would make a joke out of rejection seems only appropriate. At the start of the series, he crafted a very tactful way to let wannabe writers know that he could not accept their unsolicited materials. But added that “we at NBC’s Saturday Night do accept and read nude photographs.”

3. MR. ROGERS MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER.

Letters of Note

Mr. Rogers was a man of many talents. He could rock a cardigan like no one else, and he even had a way of making saying “no” sound like a victory. In 1990, he wrote an entirely adorable letter to a six-year-old fan who had asked to come visit the set. The young boy’s father was so moved by the letter, that he actually sent one back to let Fred know how his son “was beaming all afternoon the day he received it,” to which Mr. Rogers yet again replied!

See Also:10 Rejection Letters Sent to Famous People

4. YOU CAN’T GET MAD AT MAD.

Letters of Note

You’d better have a sense of humor if you want to write for MAD Magazine. And even more so if they don’t want you. Editor Al Feldstein turned saying no into an art with his wittily crafted rejection letter, which encouraged writers to send even more material … so that it could be rejected again.

5. SUB POP THINKS YOU’RE A LOSER.

AUX.TV

As the record label that “discovered” bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Flight of the Conchords, the executive mailboxes at Seattle’s Sub Pop records were understandably overflowing with demo tapes back in the late 1980s and 1990s, making it impossible for each submitting artist to receive a personal response. So the label came up with a better idea: treat every artist they were rejecting in the same manner, and be sure to address them all as losers.

6. THE MUMMIES TELL SUB POP TO F*** OFF.

AUX.TV

California garage band The Mummies were really just following protocol when they opted not to allow Sub Pop to use one of their songs as part of the label’s “Singles of the Month” series. And told them so in no uncertain terms.

7. HILLARY’S JUST NOT THAT INTO JASON SEGEL.

Politico

After almost singlehandedly reviving The Muppets, one can’t blame Jason Segel for believing he could achieve anything. But he set his sights a bit too high when he asked Hillary Clinton to appear in one of his upcoming projects.

8. THE NEW YORK TIMES DOESN’T LIKE A**HOLES.

AOL Jobs

Will Georgiades may not have impressed Adam Moss enough with any of his pitches in 1996 to land an assignment, but his work clearly made enough of an impact to prompt Moss—then editorial director of The New York Times—to offer some unsolicited advice: “‘A**hole’ is just never going to fly here.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Keystone/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
How to Craft the Perfect Gag, According to Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
Keystone/Getty Images

Dubbed “The Great Stone Face” for his ability to hold a deadpan expression even as the world (quite literally) crashed down around him, Buster Keaton was “one of the three great silent comedians” in film history, according to filmmaker Tony Zhou.

A video by Zhou, spotted by The Kid Should See This, explains just how Keaton managed to pull off such memorable stunts, and why his scenes continue to influence modern actors and filmmakers. First, Keaton shunned title cards and subtitles, instead opting to advance the story through action. He disliked repetition and thought each movement should be unique, while also insisting on authenticity and proclaiming that a filmmaker should “never fake a gag.” If a gag couldn’t be captured all in one shot, he wouldn’t do it.

The angle and positioning of the camera was also paramount. Many of Keaton’s vaudeville-esque gags were visual in nature, toying with the viewer’s perspective to create illusions that led to hilarious reveals. But for that to be successful, the camera had to remain stationary, and the joke had to play out entirely onscreen.

A low-speed chase scene in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, where Ralph Fiennes's Gustave H. runs up a long staircase in the background to escape cops, is a modern example of this. “Like Wes Anderson, Buster Keaton found humor in geometry,” Zhou says.

Check out Zhou’s video below.

[h/t The Kids Should See This]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
arrow
History
15 Funny Quips from Great American Humorists
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

The art of social satire is a tough one, but a great humorist's keen observations, witticisms, and turns of phrase continue to ring true even decades later. "Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations," the musical comedian Victor Borge once noted. "There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth." (In other words, it's funny 'cause it's true.) Here are 15 more quips from some of America's most astute commentators.

1. MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)

Mark Twain
Rischgitz, Getty Images

"Familiarity breeds contempt—and children."

2. DOROTHY PARKER (1893-1967)

Dorothy Parker looks at the camera. There is a man in a tuxedo and wine bottles in the background.
Evening Standard, Getty Images

"That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment."

3. JAMES THURBER (1894-1961)

James Thurber smokes a cigarette sitting in an armchair.
Fred Palumbo, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Last night I dreamed of a small consolation enjoyed only by the blind: Nobody knows the trouble I've not seen!"

4. NORA EPHRON (1941-2012)

Nora Ephron smiles for press at an event.
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

"Summer bachelors, like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be."

5. GORE VIDAL (1925-2012)

Gore Vidal
Central Press, Getty Images

"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so."

6. ARTEMUS WARD (1834-1867)

A sepia-toned cabinet card of Artemus Ward
TCS 1.3788, Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"They drink with impunity, or anybody who invites them."

7. GERTRUDE STEIN (1874-1946)

Gertrude Stein sits at a desk with a pen in her hand.
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

"The thing that differentiates man from animals is money."

8. FRANKLIN PIERCE ADAMS (1881-1960)

Franklin Pierce Adams sits at a desk that's covered in papers.
Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory."

9. ETHEL WATERS (1896-1977)

Ethel Waters leans in a doorway.
William P. Gottlieb, Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"All the men in my life have been two things: an epic and an epidemic."

10. ROBERT BENCHLEY (1889-1945)

Robert Benchley sits at a desk in a scene from 'Foreign Correspondent.'
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with that it's compounding a felony."

11. AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914)

A seated portrait of Ambrose Bierce
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"Saint: A dead sinner revised and edited."

12. MAE WEST (1893-1980)

A portrait of Mae West
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

"When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before."

13. GEORGE S. KAUFMAN (1889-1961)

A seated portrait of George S. Kaufman
The Theatre Magazine Company, photograph by Vandamm, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

"At dramatic rehearsals, the only author that's better than an absent one is a dead one."

14. VICTOR BORGE (1909-2000)

Victor Borge plays the piano.
Keystone, Getty Images

"Santa Claus has the right idea—visit people only once a year."

15. GEORGE CARLIN (1937-2008)

George Carlin doing a stand-up set
Ken Howard, Getty Images

"Atheism is a non-prophet organization."

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios