Tuesday April 19, 2016

American Bystander brings the humour magazine back to print

Editors Michael Gerber and Brian McConnachie are about to publish their second issue.

Editors Michael Gerber and Brian McConnachie are about to publish their second issue. (American Bystander)

Listen 15:14

When The American Bystander was first launched by Brian McConnachie, in the middle of a recession in 1982, the publication never made it to newsstands. Decades later, McConnachie met with another fellow ex-SNL writer, Michael Gerber, ​and the magazine was re-launched entirely in print.

That's right, you won't be able to read The American Bystander on a website like The Onion or The Beaverton. What editors McConnachie and Gerber are aiming to do with this publication is revive the glory days of print humour magazines like MadSpy and National Lampoon

American Bystander

The American Bystander's first issue. (American Bystander)


Part of the revival is a focus on the product — the actual comedy — as opposed to making something that will sell. McConnachie and Gerber have been crowdsourcing for funding so they don't have to answer to advertisers.

"Once [humour magazines] started really relying on that steady stream of advertising dollars, the moment that an advertiser didn't like some material and pulled its advertising, all of a sudden you get this huge hole in your budget," Gerber tells Shad, "a business can't work like that. It has to be much more stable if you're going to give people creative freedom."

WEB EXTRA | Check out the Kickstarter campaign for The American Bystander's second publication.