Alongside the headline “Hands down our best comedy issue ever!”, the cover features comedians Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae and Sarah Silverman posing in odd positions and surrounded by extra arms and legs.
It appears to be a reference to the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair from earlier this year which featured 12 A-list stars on the front cover, some with extra appendages.
Addressing the error after a Twitter storm, Vanity Fair admitted Oprah Winfrey’s third hand was a mistake but said the appearance of Reece Witherspoon’s “extra leg” was, in fact, the lining of her dress.
After unveiling its satirical cover, GQ issued a mock apology.
“GQ would like to apologise to Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, and Sarah Silverman for the egregious mistakes made in the process of creating the cover for our 2018 comedy issue, the latest in our pantheon of mostly annual love letters to the funniest humans we know,” it said.
“Our intention was to celebrate the three super-funny superstars, who are all that is smart and perceptive and riotous and necessary in comedy right now.
“We deeply regret that the results violated GQ’s rigorous standards of editorial excellence and the laws of nature.
“In an effort to ensure that an error of this magnitude never happens again, and because this sounds like the right thing to say, GQ will be conducting a thorough internal audit of our cover-development process.”
Although rivals, GQ and Vanity Fair are both published by Conde Nast.
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Reports suggest Vanity Fair was not given any advance warning about the spoof, but it joined in the fun by tweeting: “It’s not going out on a limb to say we love Issa, Kate, and Sarah. Props to @GQMagazine for getting a leg up on this trend.”