The humor magazine's headquarters was built in 1909 with funding from legendary businessman William Randolph Hearst, a Lampoon staffer who had been kicked out of Harvard in the mid-1800s for incessant pranks.
The Cambridge building is a monument to the Lampoon's mission all these years: essentially, to be funny, at anyone's expense. The building's architecture parodies Flemish and Dutch architecture of the 16th century. It's a joke, literally.
Former Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci tried to plant a tree in front "to blot out one of the ugliest buildings in the world."