The American Bystander Comedy #3

The American Bystander Comedy #3


The American Bystander is an all-star print humor magazine edited by the legendary Brian McConnachie (National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, SCTV). It’s just like the classic humor magazines you remember… only better. At Bystander, the writers and artists call the shots, not the advertisers. And they’ll give their readers real substance, the comedy equivalent of “slow food.”

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Twenty-five years in comedy and publishing has shown that readers still love humor and cartoons, but changes in the business make it impossible to start a new National Lampoon or Spy the old-fashioned way. So the “American Bystander Comedy Quarterly” is trying something new: a softcover book, sold directly to readers. This project combines digital efficiency with the immersiveness and beautiful design of classic print humor.

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After studying the great humor magazines of the past, Michael Gerber figured out what worked — and what put them out of business. The American Bystander updates and improves the old classic humor magazine:

  • Total editorial freedom — no advertiser interference;
  • Fair to the contributors — they get paid in dollars, not exposure, and retain the rights to their work;
  • More diverse — new names and established talents; and
  • The base of a whole institution — first, a magazine, then a podcast, a website, and whatever else the staff wants to explore.
  • In Fall 2015, Michael Gerber and the American Bystander team asked themselves: is there still an audience for a classic print humor magazine? Will people pony up their hard-earned for comics, cartoons, parodies and prose backed by beautiful design? Funny the way they used to make it, at places like The National Lampoon, Punch, and SPY?

    The answer was YES.

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    Who is behind The American Bystander!

    Michael Gerber (Editor & Publisher): The American Bystander is the culmination of over 25 years as a writer, editor, and magazine consultant specializing in humor. I’ve written for The New Yorker, SNL, and many other places; my books have sold 1.25 million copies in 25 languages. In 2003, Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody fried the brains of a generation of English kids, and now we have Brexit. Sorry.

    Brian McConnachie (Head Writer): Brian began his comedy career as an editor at National Lampoon and the Lampoon’s “Radio Hour.” From there, he went to Saturday Night Live, and SCTV, completing the Holy Trinity of Seventies Comedy. In the 80s and 90s, Brian amassed the coolest bunch of cameos in the history of cinema. In more recent years, he has written for The Simpsons and recorded pieces for NPR.

    Alan Goldberg (Senior Editor) has been making non-fiction television and radio for more than 35 years. His work includes biographies ranging from Fidel Castro to the Beatles; science programs with Dr. Richard Leakey; programs on drugs and epidemic diseases; histories of American railroads, diners, The Forbidden City and the Golden Gate Bridge — and even live rock and roll and gospel concerts. Alan will be overseeing The Bystander’s podcasts and live-event programming.

    Support The American Bystander Comedy Kickstarter project here:
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michaelgerber/the-american-bystander-comedy-quarterly-3-and-4

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