When he’s not performing stand-up comedy or simply cracking a joke with his friends, Jonathan Rapoport (COL ’09) makes people laugh as editor in chief of the Hilltop’s humor magazine, the Georgetown Heckler.
Founded in 2003 as the Georgetown Lampoon by Justin Droms (COL ’03) and published online at http://www.georgetownheckler.com, the Heckler features articles on everything from Georgetown’s fictitious sex appeal ratings to the “Top 10 Pornos You’ll (Probably) Never See.”
As Rapoport works to develop the Heckler, he hopes to eventually be able to publish a paper version that will continue to provide “irreverent and ridiculous” humor for the Georgetown masses.
How did you become involved in the Heckler?
I knew I wanted to do something. I didn’t know if there was a humor magazine before I came here [last year] but right before I came here, someone sent me a link to it, so I went and I checked it out. When I got here, I waited for a while to see if anyone had posted anything and it was October or November and no one had, so I assumed it was dead.
There was a link on it that said, “Send us articles,” so I sent in an article and then I assumed it was dead so I made plans to set up my own magazine. Then an issue came out and I sent the editor in chief an e-mail. Basically I was the only writer last year. There were maybe one or two other kids. At the end of the year, it was just kind of me.
How did you get the magazine up and running this year?
Well, I knew I needed to get a lot of writers because I didn’t have any. I talked to one of the old editors in chief, actually the founder, Justin Droms, and he told me that a former editor in chief years ago had had a table at SAC Fair, so I went and talked to [the Student Activities Commission] and I got a side table. I just sat there yelling stuff for a while. . I got like 80 people that signed up and about two or three people that actually write.
How many print issues would you like to publish a year?
Ideally, I’d like one a month, but right now it’s just online. I’m looking to put out the first print issue in a month or two, which is going to cost a lot, but ideally it is once a month. It hasn’t been like that for about a year now. It’s usually every couple of months when I can scrape up articles.
How does the Heckler make money?
We do have advertising on our Web site, but it really only makes about five dollars. That’s actually about how much we get from Google ads, about five dollars. The Web hosting is cheap. I have one guy who contacted me about advertising with us in a print issue, but most of [the expense] is out of my pocket. I’m going bankrupt, basically.
So then what makes you want to do it?
I just enjoy it. I just enjoy comedy. Even if two or three people read it and tell me it’s funny or they thought it was terrible, that makes it worth it.
What kinds of articles are you looking to publish? Do you try to target any specific group?
There’s nothing in particular. Basically anything that’s funny, we’re looking to publish. It’s nice if it’s about Georgetown. We’ve done a few articles on controversial things like [Students Taking Action Now: Darfur]. Some people liked it, some didn’t. We really go for anything. Of course there are news articles that we publish and then there are more features articles, really anything that’s funny.
How do you put an issue together?
Before we’re going over an issue, we’ll look at THE HOYA or something to see what’s really going on right then. I wanted, for instance, to do something on the Apostles [for Peace and Unity] thing, but we didn’t have a chance to do anything on it. We try to keep it current.
We’ve done some political stuff last issue that’s irreverent and ridiculous, like “President Bush Refuses to Pull Out of Mrs. Bush.” Writing an article where I’m making up all the quotes, facts – it only takes about 20 minutes. It’s not even so much that I don’t get submissions; it’s just that the difficulty is the actual copy. If it’s not funny . and ideally everything would have to be funny, that’s the hardest part. It’s hard to edit an article and make it funny. If it’s not good, there’s not a lot to work with.
What are your future plans?
Well, certainly for a little while, I would like to put out an Onion-type newspaper that looks like a real newspaper with 10 pages of humor articles. I think long-term strategy would be to have the type of humor magazine they have at other universities, like The Harvard Lampoon . I just want something that people can hold in their hands. It would be nice just to carry it around and see it.
Tell me a good joke.
I’ll give you my quote on procrastination: Procrastination is like a woman’s period. I don’t really worry about it until I realize how late it is.
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