punchline magazine 5th anniversary show at comix

PunchlineMagazine.com, an online publication devoted to comedy, celebrates its fifth anniversary this month with two star-studded stand-up comedy shows, in NYC and L.A. First, on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at Comix in NYC, comedians Michael Ian Black, Christian Finnegan, Todd Barry, Hannibal Buress, and others will perform to toast one the of the best online resources for comedy news, reviews, interviews, and more.

“I wanted to launch a site that was covering stand-up comedy the way other arts have been covered for decades before,” says Dylan Gadino, Punchline Magazine Editor-In-Chief. “I’m really proud of it. It’s gotten increasingly popular each year. I get the sense, for sure, that comedians like what we’re doing and respect what we’re doing.”

Gadino’s mission is to encourage audiences to appreciate comedy the way it should be: as an art form, the craft of practiced and talented performing artists. My thoughts exactly.

Christian Finnegan

Christian Finnegan at Punchline's 4th Anniversary Show

“Writing about comedy always has its pitfalls,” says comedian Christian Finnegan, who is hosting Punchline’s 5th Anniversary Show at Comix on Tuesday.  “But there are people out there who love stand up comedy — it’s true, I’ve met them! — and they’ve been under-served for so long.  There are hundreds of magazines devoted to music, film, and literature.  But because the prevailing feeling has been that stand up comedy isn’t capital A ‘Art,’ it hasn’t been included in the discussion.

“Part of this is the nature of comedy itself,” Finnegan adds. “The main goal of most comedians is to make what we do appear effortless.  So we can’t then be shocked when the world assumes it requires no effort.  Sites like Punchline highlight the fact that great comedy, the kind that lasts, is about more than just making fart sounds and sexually harassing bachelorette parties.”

Gadino launched Punchline in 2005 with childhood friend Bill Bergmann, who handles the site’s web development and design and has also worked on websites for comedians including Daniel Tosh and Mike Birbiglia. With a growing staff of writers, Punchline covers comedy news, performances, and programming across the U.S.  And Gadino says he tries not to let his personal tastes determine what the site does and does not publish.

“Do I think Larry the Cable Guy’s a great comedian? Well, no, not really,” Gadino admits. “But I’ve interviewed him twice, and I can’t help but like the guy. He’s honest, he doesn’t pull any punches, and he never makes believe that he’s not making believe on stage.”

Comedians like Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Dunham — another mainstream comic that Punchline has interviewed and promoted — also indirectly support the idea of stand-up comedy as performance art.  Is a comic who adopts a stage persona or gets into character before each gig any less “method” than Brando or De Niro?

“What can you keep on saying about stand-up comedy that hasn’t been said already?” Gadino asks. “How far can you dissect it? We didn’t want to be in the business of panning anybody. We’re trying to establish stand-up comedy as a viable art form. Why not employ these huge names to promote the general art of stand-up, so that people will maybe go out to their local comedy clubs to see comedy?”

The site was recently acquired by Salient Media, a production, distribution, and marketing company based in Los Angeles. “They would hear about the site from L.A.-based comics,” Gadino says, “and about how it’s made an impact on certain comedians’ careers. I don’t want to over sell it, but I think it’s definitely added some depth to the national comedy scene, because there’s really no other site that’s doing what we’re doing. We’ve tried really hard to keep it as national as possible. It just so happens that most well-known comedians are from New York or L.A.”

On Oct. 11, Greg Proops will host Punchline’s first L.A. show, featuring Marc Maron, Maria Bamford, Whitney Cummings, and special surprise guests at Largo in Los Angeles. Past Punchline Magazine anniversary shows have featured top comics such as Lewis Black, Janeane Garofalo, Dave Attell, Tom Papa, DL Hughley, and more.

Greg Giraldo

Greg Giraldo

Comedian Greg Giraldo, who died of an accidental drug overdose on Sept. 29, 2010, headlined Punchline’s third anniversary show in 2008 in NYC. Gadino recently wrote this in a remembrance of Giraldo:

“His 30-minute Comedy Central special from 2000 is what made me realize that, when done well, contemporary stand-up comedy is an important art form that deserved to be analyzed and championed the way movies, music and television had been for decades. I had recorded the special on VHS and watched it somewhat compulsively.”

For more info and to purchase tickets to the NYC and L.A. anniversary shows, visit PunchlineMagazine.com or check out the Punchline page on Facebook. Join us at Comix tomorrow night for comedy and cake to celebrate five years of Punchline!

Click here to read my coverage of last year’s 4th Anniversary Show at Comix.

This story was posted Oct. 4, 2010 online at Blog Stage.