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...
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.
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.
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!
4. YOU CAN’T GET MAD AT MAD.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”