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Dylan Gadino Interview

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.

You can find LaughSpin on the web, and follow them on Facebook.

NEW ALBUM: Adam Newman’s “Not for Horses”

Rooftop Comedy is proud to announce the debut album from Adam NewmanNot for Horses. Recorded live at Atlanta’s Laughing Skull Lounge in April 2011, Not for Horses is now available for sale on iTunes, Rooftopcomedy.com, and Amazon.

While some people might block a late night zucchini experience from their memory forever, Adam relishes the humor of such odd experiences. Rooftop’s Managing Label Producer Dominic Del Bene says, “Adam has done a great job of pointing out the extraordinary in the ordinary. He has the gift that all great comics have – he takes unique, personal experiences and makes them universal. It’s a privilege to release a record by such a talented comic before everybody in the world knows who he is.” Adam’s life proves to be a terrific source of material, inspiring his dead-on observational style.

Recorded live in his home state of Georgia, Not For Horses showcases his signature brand of quick, witty comedy that has taken him everywhere from the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Chicago to the New York Comedy Festival to The Tyra Banks Show. Named one of 2010’s Comics to Watch by Comedy Central and an Andy Kaufman Award Finalist, Adam delivers on his first comedy album and you’ll never be able to look at pickles the same way.


Read a review of Not for Horses from Laugh Spin


Read Ed Palencia’s review on Comedy Reviews

Watch clips from Adam Newman

Visit Adam Newman’s website for upcoming show schedule.

PUNCHLINE MAG REVIEWS NICK GRIFFIN’S NEW ALBUM

By DNA, Punchline Magazine

It must be lonely inside Nick Griffin’s head—one can easily envision his gray matter taking the form of a desolate hotel room scattered with fast food wrappers, empty bottles of booze and dog-eared copies of Playboy; then there’s the flickering television screen.
Lucky for us, Griffin has devoted his life to stand-up and so we barely have to rely on our imagination for a snapshot into his brain.

Griffin is all too pleased to tell us everything.

His latest effort Bring Out The Monkey is a brazen insider’s perspective of life in the poor lane; it expertly captures the bottom-rung zeitgeist of the 21st Century and finds Griffin moving seamlessly through topics from substance abuse, pop culture and sex.

Read the rest of the review on Punchline Magazine.

Pick up “Bring Out the Monkey” on iTunes.

ROOFTOP NOMINATED FOR BEST COMEDY FESTIVAL

GOOD NEWS! The Rooftop Comedy Festival has been nominated for Best Comedy Festival by Punchline Magazine!!! Please, please, pretty please cast your vote for it at Punchline Magazine’s Punchlist Poll! There a bunch of other great categories to vote for including Best Stand Up Comedian on TV, Best new podcast, and Best Tweeter.

Visit Punchline Magazine’s Punchlist Poll.

PUNCHLINE MAGAZINE’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2010

Punchline Magazine published their “Top 10 Comedy Albums of 2010″ list today, and we are very pleased to see two Rooftop Comedy Productions on the list.

Coming in at #9: Ryan Singer’s “How to Get High Without Drugs”

From Punchline Magazine:
“Although less incendiary than the explosive Lenny Bruce and more homespun than the irascible Bill Hicks, Ryan Singer nonetheless shares DNA with those great comic commandos,” Punchline Magazine’s John Delery wrote in our January review of Singer’s album. “Singer seemingly lobs softballs instead of hand grenades when deftly and cleverly deriding hypocrites, homophobes and bigots. But just because he camouflages his contempt in sarcasm does not make him any less of a provocateur than his predecessors.” And Singer is just plain fun, especially when he commits to character work and word play.

Coming in at #7: W. KAMAU BELL’s – Face Full of Flour

Says Punchline Magazine:
Though not everyone knows it quite yet, San Francisco-based W. Kamau Bell is one of our country’s most adept racial and political commentators; he’s got a blistering wit and a willingness to say what you quickly realize you’ve always thought. He’s relentlessly intelligent, fusing references to create a rich expression of incredulity in a post-Obama world. Note to working comedians: despite what’s been said time and again, it’s possible make fun of our current president and mean it. Kamau is an Obama supporter but deftly takes the piss out of him when necessary. And all of that is there for us to play – and re-play – on Face Full of Flour, a masterful, thinking man’s album.

You can purchase Ryan Singer’s How to Get High Without Drugs and W Kamau Bell’s Face Full of Flour at the Rooftop Shop.

Who else made the Top 10? Find out at Punchline Magazine.com.

Dylan Gadino Interview


Dylan Gadino founded Punchline Magazine in 2005 because he saw a void; stand-up comedy seemed to have no professional outlet or voice. Music had Rolling Stone and a multitude of other magazines; Movies and Television had Entertainment Weekly (and a multitude of other magazines). But no one had focused on comedy.

To celebrate Punchline Magazine’s fifth anniversary, shows are being held in New York and Los Angeles. Top-notch talent including (but not limited to) Christian Finnegan, Michael Ian Black, Greg Proops, and Maria Bamford will perform at either show, and tickets can be purchased via the web:  Los AngelesNew York

Rooftop had Nathan Timmel discuss all things Punchline with its founder, Mr. Gadino.

NT: What got you interested in comedy, and then pushing it via the magazine?

DG: I’ve never been a comedian, but I was always a huge fan of stand up comedy. Ever since my senior year in college I did a lot of freelance writing for music magazines; I had a lot of experience interviewing musicians, and writing reviews of rock albums. When I started getting sick of that I thought, ‘why not take all my experience in the entertainment industry and cover stand up comedy the same way we’ve seen music, movies, and television covered?’ That’s basically it. So, huge fan of stand up, and a huge fan of creative writing, and I just wanted to combine the two.

NT: Your background in music; do you find the saying “every musician wants to be a comedian, and every comedian wants to be a rock star” to be true?

DG: I think all that means is that rock stars are starved for attention and want to be famous, and so do comedians. I don’t know how many rock stars literally want to be comedians or how many comedians want to be rock stars, but they all want to be well respected and well liked.

NT: I sometimes wonder if it isn’t more literal; you get comedians who say ‘Oh, musicians can write a love song that gets played over and over, but no one wants to hear my masturbation joke on the radio, and I can’t dedicate a joke to a woman…” I was lucky enough to meet Dave Attell once, and when he found out I used to be in a band he said flat out, ‘Then what the hell are you doing comedy for? If I had any musical talent I wouldn’t be doing this shit.’

DG: [Laughs]

NT: Did technology play into your desire to have a comedy presence; where traditional print might not have worked, the web allowed you an opportunity?

DG: Yeah, I wanted to go online because it’s just so much easier and less expensive. There’s not as much overhead, and even five years ago it didn’t seem like a great idea to make a print version of a consumer driven magazine that covered stand up comedy.

NT: How much has your enterprise grown in the past five years?

DG: Basically, I launched the site in 2005 with a childhood friend named Bill Bergmann. We grew up on the same street, and we played in bands together. He does all the tech stuff, and always has. When we first started it was just the two of us, and maybe once in a while one of my friends would contribute a piece or two. It’s definitely grown since then, but not in a way that would provide an awesome contrast between then and now. Today it’s still me and him, plus a lot of great people I know across the country who will interview comedians and write reviews which is great, having fresh eyes and minds doing the writing and interviewing. I’ve tried to now shift my focus to managing and work on the business end of things: maintaining relationships, working with other sites, marketing… everything behind the scenes.

One big recent change is a few months ago, Salient Media, in Beverly Hills, acquired the site. I’m still running everything from an editorial side, but now there’s a bit of a machine behind the business, and hopefully within a year that will be apparent, that we’ve got some push now.

NT: You mentioned partnerships; how did your friendship with Rooftop Comedy develop?

DG: That was all MySpace. Years ago… [Pauses] Annie at Rooftop likes to say we “grew up” together. Which is true, in that we were starting around the same time, and looking to form alliances with like-minded websites. I think Will contacted me through MySpace, and we started emailing, which led to a phone call, and then five years later we’re both trying to champion stand up comedy. We’re not competitors, each site has its own focus, where they collect and disseminate the art form, and we critique and feature comedians. Today we try to cross promote one another, simply to push comedy.

NT: Which brings us to your anniversary shows, the cross promotion. You have two shows coming up to celebrate your milestone, October 5th in New York and October 11th in Los Angeles. What kept you from having multiple shows on one day, like Live Aid?

DG: [Laughs] That would have been awesome! The main thing that kept me from doing that, though, was that I wanted to be at both shows. It’s not like we have a giant office, with a bunch of people—I don’t have an assistant or anything like that—so I wouldn’t want one of the shows to happen without me there to handle complaints or problems.

NT: You’ve got a great line up; was it pretty easy to get people, just asking them if they were interested?

DG: Yeah, I mean, after doing this for five years I’ve established some good relationships, so it’s not a giant undertaking. I don’t have to go through managers or agents.. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m friends with these people; I wouldn’t want to trade on their names like that. But you meet them, exchange an email or phone call every so often, a “How’re you doing?” And then when something like this comes up you can just ask if they’re interested, and luckily a lot of them were.

NT: Talk about A Tight 5, your interview segments. The segments are edited; was there ever the thought to tell the comics up front, “This is going to be 5 minutes, so stay focused”?

DG: Well, we wanted to keep it to five minutes, because not many people are going to watch more than that online. Sure, there are probably a couple comedy nerds out there who would watch twenty-minute interviews, but generally keeping it to five minutes holds the viewers attention. I never wanted to say, “Let’s do a live five minutes, and keep it to that,” and there are a couple reasons for that. This is going to be online forever, so I wanted them to have a feel of timelessness. When you do a live interview, you’re usually really focused on what they’re promoting that week, that show or that album. What I wanted to do was give people the depth of a twenty-minute interview, in five minutes.

NT: You do sometimes post uncut interviews, and recently did with Robert Schimmel, whose loss was… just tragic.

DG: Yeah… I got to meet him twice; once at his book party, and once at the interview, and he was a nice, Zen, extremely soft-spoken person. I was surprised at how thin and frail he was.

NT: I think that was the cancer, sadly. I could never say this definitively, as I only met him after his bout with it, but I would say his Zen-like nature came from having battled that disease. He used to say that amazing phrase which was, “It was horrible, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.”

DG: I really liked him; he was gracious, and seemed genuinely interested in the interview.

NT: Do you feel like going on record and saying who your best and worst interviews were?

DG: [Pauses, laughs] Um…

NT: You don’t have to.

DG: [Laughs] No, it’s OK. I would have to say that it was Kevin Nealon, from a few years ago. I was purposely asking him open-ended questions that couldn’t just be answered with a yes or no, but he wasn’t giving me anything. I’m not saying he’s a horrible guy, or that he’s not funny, maybe he just didn’t feel like doing an interview, or was sick. But he wasn’t a jerk or anything like that.

NT: You didn’t have a Russell Crowe moment with him.

DG: [Laughs] No.

NT: And the best?

DG: From a professional point of view, like if I were to send out a tape as an audition to get an interviewing job, I’d have to say Jeff Dunham. I found him extremely nice, extremely professional, and the fact that he’s a bajillionare and extremely famous didn’t matter to him. He was seamless; we had some laughs, got some good information… he’s just a pro at giving interviews.

NT: One stupid thing to finish: I logged on to Twitter this morning and saw you verbalizing my thoughts on the news today, that George Lucas is going to release all the Star Wars films in 3D, showing that he hasn’t had an original idea since Howard The Duck.

DG: I rarely make any sort of editorial comment on the entertainment industry, but you have that childhood connection… I mean, I’m compulsive about certain things, where I’ll put Empire on in the background and let it run repeatedly while I do things around the house, because it just makes me feel good, and I guess it just [pauses] pisses me off that he just keeps re-releasing these things. [Laughs] It’s a stupid complaint…

NT: But a legitimate one.

PunchlineMagazine.com’s 5th Anniversary Show with Michael Ian Black, Christian Finnegan, Todd Barry, Hannibal Buress and more goes down tonight at Comix Comedy Club in New York City. Click here for tickets.

Punchline Magazine Interviews Sandra Bernhard

by Emma Kat Richardson, Punchline Magazine


Comedy icon Sandra Bernhard headlines Rooftop Comedy’s Out Loud Comedy and Arts Festival — running Oct. 7 – 10 — in San Francisco. In in an interview with Punchline Magazine, the versatile force of nature tells all!

Sandra Bernhard – actress, comedian, musician, pusher of societal buttons – has been a major league hitter in the entertainment game since the late ‘70s. Her career has spanned the administrations of presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and… well, you get the idea. Some would even say that her multi-range talents have included a trip into the much-traveled panties of the Material Girl, but it all depends on who you ask, and how drunk they are. (Bernhard herself has since refuted this long-nourished tale.)

Regardless, controversy and the endlessly churning celebrity rumor mill have always taken a backseat to the intricate craft of Bernhard’s comedy, and her staying power speaks as an undeniable testament to the driving force that is Ms. Sandra B.

And with appearances in more than 60 movies and TV shows, coupled with the kind of stand-up stamina that would send a million wannabe open mic stars weeping into their cheap beers, who’s going to successfully argue that her eventual tombstone should make any reference at all to Madonna?

Performing at Rooftop Comedy’s Out Loud Comedy Festival Oct. 7–10 in San Francisco, our favorite Roseanne guest star caught up with Punchline Magazine to rap about the gay community, Richard Pryor, and why she loves to sing the blues.

Punchline Mag: You’ve been performing since the late ‘70s. When you first started out, did you ever expect your career to maintain this level of longevity? Did you set out for that?

Sandra Bernhard: Oh, well, I thought I’d be a much bigger star than I am. [Laughs]. But I think I’ve been able to maintain my integrity and do my work and really enjoy it. I was just kidding about being a bigger star. Everything kind of comes in a wave. You do a project, and you get a lot of attention, or you can keep doing what you’re doing and sometimes people won’t notice it. Being a perennial, that’s the most rewarding part – being able to do my career the way I’ve done it.

Punchline Mag: Do you feel like it gives you a lot of creative leeway, because you’re not, as you said, living under a certain set of expectations?

Sandra Bernhard: Yeah. I don’t care for that. It’s just too much. You can end up saying the wrong thing, and people will ask you to backtrack and explain it. It’s like, that happens once in a while; I’ll say things that are controversial, and people will want to know if I meant it, but in general, when I perform, I get to do what I want to do and say it the way I want to say it. That makes me happy.

Punchline Mag: That’s interesting that they’d ask you if you really meant it. Would you say something you didn’t mean, as a comedian?


Read the rest of the interview at Punchline Magazine
.

Buy tickets to see Sandra.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, PUNCHLINE MAGAZINE!

To celebrate five years online, our dear friends at Punchline Magazine are producing two live shows — one in New York and one in Los Angeles — with an incredible cast of not to be missed comedians.

Christian Finnegan will host the New York City installment at Comix comedy club on Oct. 5 with Michael Ian Black, Todd Barry, Hannibal Buress and surprise guests scheduled to appear. Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased here. Get there early and get some free goodies from Comedy Central. Stay late, and get some free Punchline Magazine birthday cake!

For comedy fans in Los Angeles, Greg Proops will host an all-star show featuring the likes of Marc Maron, Maria Bamford, Whitney Cummings and Chris Hardwick.
It’s all going down at Largo on Oct. 11. at 8 pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.

Buy your tickets online, e-mail proof of purchase to punchlinemagazine@gmail.com and they’ll give you a free 3-month national WiFi subscription, compliments of Boingo.com!

Happy Anniversary, Punchline!

ROBERT BUSCEMI REVIEWED IN PUNCHLINE MAG

by John Delery, Punchline Magazine


Not that Robert Buscemi deceives the IRS when he writes “comedian” on the occupation line of his tax return; it’s just that his overriding job is engineer of his nonstop train of thought.

On Palpable, his new release from Rooftop Comedy Productions, the paradoxical Buscemi takes the audience at the Lincoln Lodge in Chicago and listeners everywhere else on an often impressive express ride through his equally corny and ingenious, grandiose and ingenuous, clownish and refined comic mind.

“If anybody here hasn’t seen me before,” he announces early in his set, “just hang in there. I liken seeing me for the first time to…um… Remember the first time you ate sushi? Remember how strange and oddly sexual that was? Or the first time you wore a thong? You develop a craving is what I’m saying.”

Read the rest of the review and listen to a free track

Purchase Palpable on Amazon

TIGHT 5IVE HANNIBAL BURESS INTERVIEW

In this very special installment of a Tight 5ive, Punchline Magazine’s Dylan Gadino interviews comedian Hannibal Buress.

Filmed on location at the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, Hannibal discusses his writing gig with Saturday Night Live, his life on the college comedy circuit, and his future in stand up comedy. Watch the interview.