Opinion

Brian McConnachie, Humor Writer ‘From Another Planet,’ Dies at 81

Brian McConnachie, who brought absurdist humor to three comedy touchstones of the 1970s and ’80s — National Lampoon magazine and the NBC television series “Saturday Night Live” and “SCTV Network” — died in hospice care on Jan. 5 in Venice, Fla. He was 81.

The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, his wife, Ann (Crilly) McConnachie, said.

Mr. McConnachie — who stood 6-foot-5 and often dressed in a bow tie, suit and saddle shoes — had an elegant, patrician presence that set him apart from the wilder, more disheveled writers (most of them men) who often surrounded him.

“Look, if you told me that he had been a welcomed member of the Algonquin Round Table, and he was there with James Thurber, I’d get that,” Alan Zweibel, an original “S.N.L.” writer who worked with Mr. McConnachie, said in a phone interview. “The rest of us were hooligans.”

Yet even if he appeared to be more of a grown-up than other writers in the Lampoon and “S.N.L.” orbits, Mr. McConnachie’s laid-back, whimsical style — with some anarchic, disturbed twists — fit in well with the other writers’ contributions.

“If the story of the National Lampoon were a script by Rod Serling,” Rick Meyerowitz, a leading illustrator there, wrote in “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead” (2010), his history of the magazine, “the main character would have been Brian McConnachie, a man who his colleagues were convinced was from another planet.”

In addition to writing for National Lampoon, Mr. McConnachie appeared in its “1964 High School Yearbook Parody,” among other places.Credit…No Credit

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