CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA Joe Luther (Col ’16) and several other dedicated members of the Heckler are gearing up for a strong year of student-produced satire. With a strong leader at the helm and many new hires, the future loos bright.
Joe Luther (Col ’16) and several other dedicated members of the Heckler are gearing up for a strong year of student-produced satire. With a strong leader at the helm and many new hires, the future loos bright.

When asked to describe the Georgetown Heckler in three words, Editor-in-Chief Joe Luther (COL ’16) chose “poignant, honest and hilarious,” which could just as easily describe his own personality. Although the Heckler’s campus presence has lain dormant over the past few years, Luther is sure that is about to change.

When was the Heckler founded?

The Heckler was founded in 2003 by two guys. I don’t really know that much about them other than that they still pay for the website. I do not know a whole lot about the institutional history of the place because I only joined at the beginning of last semester in the spring.

How many people currently write for you?

So there’s five of us, and I’m not selling anyone short, but there isn’t a whole lot of consistent contribution because we haven’t had a meeting yet. I spent a lot of the summer pretty much lying to freshmen that the Heckler was a real thing that has been around forever and is part of the Georgetown experience. The response was overwhelming; I’m actually in the middle of picking the new people. So there are five people who are returning and then there will be 15 to 20 new people out of those who applied.

And how many applications did you receive?

I received over 120 requests for the application and over 70 people completed it. I was really overwhelmed by the response. That blew me away, how many people were interested in writing for the Heckler, because I figured that maybe I’d get a dozen people to apply for it. So that was completely unexpected.

What would make someone successful as a writer for the Heckler?

I don’t really know how to describe what goes into great comedy writing, I think you just have to have an eye for demented journalism. You have to approach absurd things with a certain voice and journalistic style. But yeah, just someone who approaches everyday things with a different eye.

What made you want to write for the Heckler, initially?

I guess in coming to college, I found that humor and comedy are two of my strengths. I tried out for improv, kind of on a whim, and it’s something that I really loved that’s been a huge part of my time at Georgetown. I wanted to branch out a little bit last year, so I figured why not take a shot at this.

It’s something that I’m naturally talented at and that for whatever messed up reason, I can write this style of journalism pretty well. I do find something really rewarding in people pulling up the articles and laughing, having a good time. There is a lot of reward in making someone smile and brightening their day a little bit, as cheesy as that sounds.

Why do you think it’s important to have a satirical paper on campus?

I’m a part of it, so obviously it’s important.

I think perhaps one of the biggest things that Georgetown lacks is a “lightening up,” or a heckler, if you will. With Georgetown students, there’s that stereotype that I play off of all the time, of students who are literally waiting for Obama to call and say “Hey, I need a vice president,” or people who are like, “So when is Morgan Stanley going to hire me?” People are very driven here — and that’s awesome — and they’re passionate and involved, but I’m not sure that there’s enough of a comedic voice that pokes fun and has people lighten up.

How often does the Heckler clash with the university?

I think one of its old mottos was “Sticking it to the man since 2003,” so in the past there was a lot of brush up with the university. In 2007, they poked fun at NSO, but I don’t really know what happened. In 2009, they mentioned the KKK a little bit too much, so they have clashed a lot with the university. One of my hopes is just to have the university leave me be. So far I’ve heard nothing from them, and that’s awesome. So long as we can peacefully coexist, that’s fine.

Do you have any plans to expand or change the Heckler this year?

The sky is the limit for the Heckler. I don’t think it’s had a core group of people who are really focused on building it up since it has run into a lot of trouble, no disrespect to all the people who came before me. If we can make this into a club that people are really passionate about and really want to see succeed, then it can become a huge part of Georgetown’s culture, instead of how I just lied to freshman for four months about what it was.

You’ve seen the website right now, and it kind of looks like a fifth grader’s diary online. I totally thought I could fix the website in two days and be fine, but all I did was just realize how incompetent I am with technology. Making the website really cool is a priority. There are a lot of different features we can play into; we can have videos and cartoon strips and all different kinds of sections. Right now we’re basically just doing straight news stories and tweets and that’s awesome and it’s fun, but there is so much more we can do.

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One Comment

  1. Catherine Ruggeri says:

    good job I’ll be readind grandma R

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