Joe Raiola is the senior editor of Mad Magazine. “I work at the only place in America where if you mature, you get fired."
The Joy of Censorship (Lecture) and AMERICAN HERETIC (Theater) An Evening of Music, Humor & Wisdom (Lecture/Theater)
Raiola is an equal-opportunity offender and insists that both sides of the political spectrum will be skewered during the one-hour show.
He said his research on censorship has revealed some horrible and nonsensical abuses of the First Amendment that are as scary as they are funny. Naturally he has incorporated them into the show, which he calls "a satirist's dream. It's funny, biting, relevant and disturbing. "Raiola's show will not have a problem offending people or drawing laughs. Indeed, he says the show is different every time, because he changes it to include the day's events.
He also explained that during the last part of his show he discusses the history of MAD Magazine and points out that in its early days was converted from a comic book in the 1950s to a magazine in order to avoid censorship. "Can you imagine, the United States Senate was holding hearing trying to link comic books and what they called juvenile delinquency? How would they have handled 'South Park'?" Raiola is intensely proud of MAD and says that people associate its policies with Alfred E. Newman's philosophy of "What me worry?" He differs. "I've always thought the message of MAD Magazine is "'Question authority.'
Joe Raiola has had a flourishing career as a solo performer, comedy writer, producer, director and speaker on first amendment issues. AMERICAN HERETIC- is his comic rant on religion and censorship.
A graduate of Adelphi University, where he developed a love for radio at WBAU, Joe can currently be heard as a frequent co-host on the Woodstock Round Table, broadcast Sunday mornings from 8 AM to 10 AM on WDST , 100.1 FM, in Woodstock, New York.
An Evening of Music, Humor & Wisdom (Lecture/Theater)
MAD Magazine Senior Editor and comedian Joe Raiola hosts this entertaining and enlightening series of performance and talk.
Each program features three guests: a singer-songwriter or musician, comedian or humorist, and "wisdom guest" (author,spiritual teacher or expert in their field). Each guest is spotlighted in their own 20-25 minute segment, which is a mix of performance/presentation and interview.
Over the course of the program the "Music, Humor & Wisdom" panel is formed.
The program concludes with a lively panel discussion and audience participation.
Waging Comedy Against The Status Quo
“My goal is to tear false things down,” says Joe Raiola about his new solo show, American Heretic. “So God and country seemed like a good place to start.”
Raiola’s previous show, Almost Obscene, was best known for its sharp and outspoken satire of religion. “Country got off a little easy in that show,” Raiola says, but apparently not in this one.
American Exceptionalism? Raiola dismisses as “delusional” the concept that America is fundamentally different than other countries.
Traditional Marriage? Raiola points out that in the Bible marriage was traditionally polygamous: “Lamech had two wives. Abijah had 14 wives. Reboham, whoever the fuck he was, had 18 wives. King Solomon had 700 wives. Quite an accomplishment in the pre-Viagra age.”
Sacred Ground? Raiola doesn’t believe that people dying or being buried at a particular place make ground sacred. “I think all ground is equally sacred or none of it is,” he says.
Jesus? “Personally, I think he’s over-rated. My main problem with him is that he’s not funny.”
Outspoken, outrageous and uncensored, Raiola continues to cite George Carlin as his inspiration. “There are a few new bits in the show that are very much in the Carlin vein,” he acknowledges.
Raiola actually references his comedy hero in a story he tells about the Westboro Baptist Church, who he encountered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC where they were holding signs that read “God Hates George Carlin” before the comedian was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. “That would have made George very happy,” say Raiola. “Not the prize, but the protest.”
American Heretic is a passionate and outspoken evening of thought-provoking comedy.