When Rooftop last talked to Dylan Gadino from Punchline Magazine, big changes were afoot. His baby had just received major backing from Salient Media, and with that everything was about to move forward with serious intent.
Well, it’s been almost a year and big changes did happen. Punchline moved under the Salient Media umbrella, brainstorming took place, and the new project—Laugh Spin—was created.
The essence of Laugh Spin is that of Punchline Magazine, but with bold new steps being taken. Nathan Timmel phoned up Dylan to discuss the events of the past eleven months.
NT: So, Punchline has become Laugh Spin, talk us through the transition.
DG: A little over a year ago now I made a deal with a company in Los Angeles called Salient Media. They are the digital arm of The Collective, which is a management agency that reps bands and comedians and the like. Salient Media is their production side; it puts out DVDs and CDs and they deal with websites, they have another popular website, bloodydisgusting.com, which is part of the horror film genre. Anyway, I teamed up with them, so they are essentially now the parent company of the website. They are mainly in charge of business development.
As we were going through the process of transitioning from Punchline being something I owned exclusively to having their backing, we decided it was probably a good idea to take the opportunity to reformat and re-brand everything, which I think is a good thing. For one thing, we wanted to make sure our new brand was singular, and that there would be no confusion with anything else. With Punchline Magazine, you have the Punchline comedy clubs and other Punchline branded entities. The other thing was the word Magazine; the word is becoming less and less relevant.
NT: I remember you talking about that last year; the problem with the whole magazine format, and that you went digital on purpose, because physical magazines are a dying breed.
DG: Yeah, in ten years, no one is going to even know what a magazine is. When I launched the site in 2005, magazines were already bombing. So I wanted to move away from that, and then the final thing is that punchline magazine dot com is a long URL to type, so we wanted to tighten that up, too. We wanted something short, punchy, and obviously relatable. Laugh is obvious, and Spin is a word that sounds active, and looks OK when smashed up against Laugh…
NT: Better than “Laugh Sneeze” or something like that.
DG: [Laughs] Right.
NT: What will be the new directions Laugh Spin goes in?
DG: Well, we’ll still be mainly editorial, but one of the new developments is we have a record label and we’re starting to put out records. We released something from a band from Australia called “The Axis of Awesome.” We’re also concentrating on getting a lot more video content on the website. We’re very interested in working with comedians and having them produce their own editorial content. We’re not looking to compete with Funny or Die or College Humor; we’re not looking to create funny web serials or that, we’re interested in editorial content. If a comedian is on tour, and wants to do a bi-weekly video diary of life on the road, that would be our angle. We’re also interested in getting into Podcasting.
NT: So who have you enjoyed talking to in the past year?
DG: I sat down with Colin Quinn when he was promoting the HBO version of his one-man show. I’d seen him on stage before, but I’d never actually talked to him, and it was cool because he was a super nice guy, very easy going… I’d heard from other comics that he was decent, and a caring guy, and yeah… very easy to talk to and laid back.
NT: Did he talk about his special being a tough sell, because that was historical comedy, and audiences don’t always like to think?
DG: He talked about it a little bit. He had Jerry Seinfeld directing it, so he obviously had a lot of power behind it with that name, but he talked about keeping it short. I think the tagline was “The history of the world in seventy-five minutes.” He wanted to make sure people knew what they were getting into, that it might be historical, but he was going to make it a tight set.
What I found interesting about that special is: live, Colin is a very divisive performer. Not because he’s controversial, but because of his style of performing; his stage voice is very ragged, he won’t push sentences, he’ll mumble, and some people really love that, but others just don’t like it. So what I found amazing about the HBO show was he was so polished; he was so disciplined. If you watch the show, it’s very George Carlin like, where every word is specific and has meaning.