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Paris Hilton's "Wild" Cover Shoot

The class-skipping slackers at the Harvard Lampoon have done it again with a special April Fool's Day parody issue, making National Geographic their latest victim and offering a sexy (albeit sardonic) glance into the life of the altruistic Ms. Paris Hilton and her furry friends (see below). The issue hits newsstands today.
Harvard Lampoon
The folks at Harvard Lampoon scored a coup when they decided to make fun of National Geographic for their April Fool's Day issue.

Not only did they get the team at National Geographic to help with the issue, they were able to persuade Paris Hilton to be their cover girl.

"We told her (Paris Hilton) it would make her famous," Ross Arbes, who edited the magazine with fellow Harvard senior Hayes Davenport, told The Showbuzz, tongue firmly in cheek.


Photos: Paris Hilton's Harvard Lampoon Photo Shoot
"She's also a big fan of National Geographic and she's a natural science hobbyist in her own right," Davenport said. "She has been on a lot of magazine covers, but National Geographic has been the Holy Grail for her, she said. We threw a nice party for her, but it's not like she hasn't been to a party before."

The issue, out Tuesday, is the latest in a string of Harvard Lampoon magazine parodies. But the undergraduate group had never done the well-respected National Geographic, which quickly responded when contacted by the students last summer.

"It wasn't that hard. As it turns out, they are just a bunch of really awesome party guys over there and they have been waiting for an opportunity to make fun of themselves for a long time and we were happy to rescue them," said Davenport.

"We somehow managed to insult almost every ethnic group in just 100 pages," said co-editor Ross Arbes. "We also 'stuck it' to about half of the world's animals."

Davenport said other publications have helped with their parodies in the past, such as when USA Today printed the Lampoon's version on its press in 1989. And he said National Geographic's staffers - who had no editorial control over the parody - were eager to make fun of their ultraserious image.

The magazine helped print the parody and distribute it alongside its own April edition in some areas, Arbes said. A designer also helped lay out the parody to make it look as much like the original as possible.

"They provided things that were really valuable to us," Arbes said.

Editors from National Geographic could not be reached Monday, but the magazine released a facetious statement.

"Editors are unavailable for comment, having left the country ... as usual," it said. "There are reports of laughter from parts of the building, but that could just be because we are a fun place to work."

In one article, the Lampoon takes aim at a National Geographic contributor who toils away for years in search of a specific species. Their "Seeking the Island Fox" article has the writer cold, wet and annoyed at getting just a brief glance of a "pretty boring" animal.

"We are big fans of National Geographic from way, way back when. We are pretty well versed in their content. We wanted to get a little of everything, a little natural science, physical science, a little of biological science," Davenport explained.

In another jab at National Geographic's staid image, the Lampoon created three new editions to help keep the magazine relevant for younger generations, and features Hilton in a "Your Wildest Animal Fantasies" story.

"Over time they (National Geographic) have kinda become a little bit of a parody of themselves," Arbes said. "They have been extremely focused on environmentalism. That was an easy target. A lot of their articles are written in very similar ways."

And, of course, the Lampoon's version offers a send-up to anthropological nudity. A photo of a lion is actually made up of dozens of images of women's bare chests.

"Costco is refusing to carry the magazine because of the breast content." Davenport said.

"We have been banned from Costco," Arbes said. "This is the first time that we have been banned from Costco - the first time as a magazine, once we were just banned as people."

Previous magazine parodies, have included: Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Newsweek, New Yorker, People and Sports Illustrated.

Celebrities who have graced the covers have included a People Magazine parody featuring Brooke Shields, an Entertainment Weekly parody featuring Sandra Bullock and a USA Today parody featuring Vanna White.

"We really wanted Jane Goodall for this one, but we couldn't get her," Davenport said.

"Can I say my mom?" Arbes said.

The Lampoon has an impressive list accomplished alumni, including Conan O'Brien, John Updike, George Plimpton, and William Randolph Hearst.

The past 30 years have been fruitful for Harvard Lampoon graduates. Many have gone on to write for hit TV shows such as "The Simpsons," "Saturday Night Live," "The Office" and "Seinfeld."

Others have broken into the film industry, producing movies like "National Lampoon's Animal House."