Open main menu

National Lampoon, Inc. is a company formed in 2002 in order to use the brand name "National Lampoon" in comedy and entertainment.[1] In the words of its prospectus, the role of the company was to "develop, produce, provide creative services and distribute National Lampoon branded comedic content through a broad range of media platforms." Since 2002, the company overhauled its corporate infrastructure several times.

National Lampoon, Inc.
Private (formerly public)
IndustryPublication and media
GenreHumor, satire
FoundedWest Hollywood, California, United States (August 2, 2002 (2002-08-02))
FounderDan Laikin
Headquarters
Los Angeles, California
,
United States
Key people
James Jimirro
(Chairman)
Websitewww.nationallampoon.com

In 2008 and 2009, two CEOs were prosecuted for separate illegal money-making schemes. They were both convicted and sentenced to prison time. See § 2008 and 2009 prosecutions, below.

In July 2017, PalmStar Media purchased all the assets of National Lampoon, Inc., including trademark and library of print, audio, film, and video content.[2]

Contents

Properties of the companyEdit

National Lampoon PressEdit

National Lampoon Inc releases humor books and material under the umbrella of National Lampoon Press. These include republished collections of old National Lampoon magazine material, including True Facts, Foto Funnies, cartoons etc. from the 1970s and 1980s.

Feature filmsEdit

After its purchase by J2 Communications in 1991, the National Lampoon franchise became predominately a name-licensing company, in which the company was paid for use of its brand on titles such as National Lampoon's Senior Trip, Dorm Daze, Blackball, and Barely Legal. Although this enterprise salvaged the company from bankruptcy, some believe it damaged the reputation of National Lampoon as a source of respected comedy. When the company was purchased from J2 Communications, this practice was eventually discontinued.

In June 2007 National Lampoon Inc announced its intention to finance, produce and distribute its own feature films. In an interview with the New York Times, Dan Laikin stated that "the company really had just been a licensing company in the ’90s. We were just licensing the name and we had no creative input. When I came in, we had to re-energize the brand and cut back on the licensing, because the only way to take control of the brand was to make sure that ultimately we put it on projects that we are proud of." [3] Eventually, the company hopes to release four of its own films annually and acquire up to eight more for distribution. The first released was Ratko: The Dictator's Son

National Lampoon had also begun to purchase independent films and re-release them under the distinctive title of "National Lampoon Presents". The first in this series was National Lampoon Presents The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell, which was released in 2007.

Stage showsEdit

In the fall of 2007, National Lampoon revived the live sketch comedy variety show, National Lampoon's Lemmings for a nationwide theatrical tour. The show consists of a multimedia presentation of live sketches written and performed by the cast, are integrated with related comedy videos.[4]

National Lampoon's Lemmings went[when?] into production with ManiaTV! on a half-hour web-based sketch comedy show. Notable cast members included Adam Devine, Blake Anderson, Kyle Newacheck and Anders Holm of Comedy Central's Workaholics fame and Mark Gagliardi from Drunk History. Both the show and ManiaTV! itself have since been discontinued.

Podcast: The Final EditionEdit

National Lampoon's Final Edition is currently downloaded more than 4,000 times a month (approximately 2,800 a month on Libsyn[5] and 1,500 on Acast[6]), putting it in the top 10 percent of podcasts, as measured by estimates from Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn. [7] The Final Edition has been a National Lampoon podcast since November 2015.[8]. The show was first created by former Lampoon editor Tony Hendra and author Jeff Kreisler,[9] and is now produced by Barry Lank out of the UBNGo Radio studios[10] in Burbank.

Comedy albumEdit

Lampoon issued "Are There Any Triggers Here Tonight" in 2016, using material from its Final Edition podcast. It was the first Lampoon album in 35 years. [11]

National Lampoon.com and the webEdit

The company's website, NationalLampoon.com, has been awarded "Best of the Web" from The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, USA Today, CNN and The Wall Street Journal, and was twice nominated by the Webby Awards for "Best Humor Site" in 2001 and 2005.[12] In 2002, the content of National Lampoon.com was officially registered into the Smithsonian Institution for best exemplifying American satire in the weeks following the September 11 attacks. The website currently emphasizes original video content, both in-house and freelance, spread to viral video hosting sites such as YouTube.

In addition to the content created by The National Lampoon staff, The National Lampoon Humor Network is an affiliation of almost fifty comedy websites owned or partnered with National Lampoon. Collectively, they drew approximately 5 million monthly viewers in May 2007. This format has given it a consistent Comscore rating of #1 amongst comedy websites, barely beating out Comedy Central's web presence at #2.[3]

During 2011, the website was redesigned to resemble the classic National Lampoon magazine format. NationalLampoon.com staff-writers and contributors include: Sandy Danto, Jessica Gottlieb, Phil Haney, Seth Herzog, Evan Kessler, Kevin McCaffrey, Nadine Rajabi, Garrett Hargrove, Travis Tack, Eddie Rawls, and Matt Zaller [1].

Publishing daily satire and cartoons, as of 2017 National Lampoon online is helmed by Editor-in-Chief Marty Dundics[13] with contributing writers and artists including New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein, SNL humorist Jack Handey, author Mike Sacks, MAD Magazines' Kit Lively, Paul Lander, Jon Daly, Dan Wuori, Brooke Preston, Trump satirist Johnny Wright and Playboy playmate/Huffington Post columnist Juliette Fretté.[14] National Lampoon is very active on Twitter, initiating hashtag games that produce trending topics.[15] According to their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram they are 'The Comedy Brand.'[16][17][18] iHeart Radio is a content partner with National Lampoon Comedy Radio featuring National Lampoon Radio News.[19] There is a comedy store that sells branded T-shirts and all of the back issues of the original magazine.[20]

RadioEdit

National Lampoon Comedy Radio
 
Broadcast areaUnited States
FrequencyXM 154
First air dateOctober 1, 2006 to March 6, 2009
FormatComedy
ClassNetwork
OwnerNational Lampoon, Inc.
Distributed by Premiere Radio Networks

National Lampoon Comedy Radio was a 24/7 all comedy radio network that was made available to XM Satellite Radio, AM, FM, HD, Cable Radio and Podcast. It ran for two and a half years.

Affiliated with Clear Channel Communications, National Lampoon Comedy Radio was first added to XM Satellite Radio, and began airing on the satellite radio service on October 1, 2006. Much of the programming was broadcast from National Lampoon World Headquarters in West Hollywood, California. The station had pre-recorded, mock-live comedy talk shows with hosts Nadine Rajabi "Nadine @ Nite", Kevin Couch, and Phil Iazzetta broadcasting five days a week. The programing was built around stand-up performances from famous comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, George Carlin, D. L. Hughley, and Bob Saget. The station also played prank calls from Crank Yankers and other sources, parody songs (labeled "Poon Tunes"), and interviews with active comedians (Marc Maron, Larry The Cable Guy, Dave Attell, and many more).

Behind the scenes, the XM network was created and run out of two small, adjoining offices in a building on Sunset Blvd. The programing, while seeming live to the listener, was pre-recorded and uploaded to an XM server each day.

While on the air, the station was funded by Kent Emmons and supported by a staff of Tre Giles, David Frederic, Eugene Chin, Kevin Couch, Phil Iazzetta, Nadine Rajabi, Eric Cahill, and Jason Sharp.

Funding for the network was pulled in May 2008, when it was deemed unprofitable (despite having not employed anyone to sell ads). The XM feed continued to air existing content until the following year.

As of March 6, 2009, National Lampoon radio was dropped from the Sirius-XM line-up, replaced by talk programming.

TelevisionEdit

Originally formed in 2002, the National Lampoon College Network was a block of weekly television programming broadcast to colleges and universities. The format was similar to MTVu, the college-focused division of MTV.[21]

Other mediaEdit

National Lampoon's Strip Poker
Released on pay-per-view in 2005 after being filmed at the Hedonism II nudist resort in Negril, Jamaica. The one-hour episodes featured various Playboy, WWE, and pin-up models competing in strip poker match-ups.
National Lampoon's Knucklehead Video
A video-sharing and social networking site featuring viral video content of extreme sports bloopers, "drunken debauchery" and the self-explanatory 'show us your butts'.
National Lampoon's Eye for an Eye
A syndicated television program that provides a variation on popular thirty-minute courtroom reality shows.
National Lampoon's Chess Maniac 5 Billion and 1
A video game from the early 1990s for the PC platform. It was a 3-D chess game with animated battle scenes between the pieces when you attacked another piece, in the style of Battle Chess.

The GSN cable television network in 2003 produced a comedy game show National Lampoon's Funny Money, hosted by Jimmy Pardo. The game featured guest comedians and the more laughs in the "funny zone" were registered, the more points were earned. The winner went on to play for a National Lampoon vacation.

2008 and 2009 prosecutionsEdit

In December 2008, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia filed charges against Daniel Laikin, the former CEO of National Lampoon Incorporated, with accusations that he and two third-party stock promoters attempted to artificially inflate the company's stock price. Daniel Laikin pleaded guilty on September 23, 2009 to his role in a conspiracy to manipulate the company's stock price from March through June 2008. In September 2010, a Philadelphia court sentenced Laikin to 45 months in prison.[22][23]

After Laikin resigned from his position as CEO, shareholder Tim Durham took over duties as CEO of National Lampoon Incorporated.[24] However the next year Tim Durham was involved in a major Ponzi scheme for which he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.[25][26]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "LA Weekly - News - The Punch Line, Please - Nikke Finke - The Essential Online Resource for Los Angeles". Archived from the original on 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  2. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr (July 24, 2017). "PalmStar Media Closes Near $12M National Lampoon Deal; Can Laugh Brand Regain Luster?". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Andrew Adam Newman. National Lampoon Stakes Revival on Making Own Films, New York Times, June 25, 2007.
  4. ^ http://www.nationallampoon.com/lemmings/ Archived 2008-02-27 at the Wayback Machine Official Website for National Lampoon's Lemmings 2007
  5. ^ Libsyn numbers, Dec. 2018 through February 2019, Final Edition's Facebook Page
  6. ^ Acast numbers for the 30 days preceding March 8, 2019, Final Edition's Facebook Page
  7. ^ School of Podcasting
  8. ^ iTunes Page for The Final Edition
  9. ^ "Tony Hendra Takes The Heat for National Lampoon Radio Hour’s Return"
  10. ^ UBNGo's Official Website
  11. ^ New York Times: “A New National Lampoon Album, 35 Years After the Last One”
  12. ^ The Biggest Brand in Comedy Relaunches the Biggest Web Presence in Comedy: National Lampoon.com; Twice Webby-Nominated Site Features Work of Xylem Interactive and JamboWorks, Business Wire, June 19, 2006.
  13. ^ "National Lampoon Inc". ZoomInfo. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Masthead". National Lampoon. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  15. ^ Michelle, Manzione. "'BetterPOTUSCandidates' trends online for laughs". NBC 25 News. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  16. ^ "National Lampoon Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  17. ^ "National Lampoon Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  18. ^ "National Lampoon Instagram". Instagram. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  19. ^ "National Lampoon Comedy Radio National Lampoon Comedy Radio". iHeartRadio. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  20. ^ "National Lampoon Shop". National Lampoon. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  21. ^ The Official National Lampoon Networks Website
  22. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/08/daniel-laikin-national-lampoon-ceo-sentenced_n_710021.html
  23. ^ "Dan Laikin sentenced to 45 months in Lampoon fraud". Indianapolis Business Journal.
  24. ^ Post article 16 December 2008[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ http://www.investorprotection.com/blog/2009/11/27/tim-durham-embattled-financier-tied-to-more-scandals/
  26. ^ "Ex-National Lampoon CEO Tim Durham Gets 50 Years Prison". Bloomberg.

External linksEdit