In a career spanning four decades, Joe Raiola has not established himself as a comedian, comedy writer, speaker, or producer. He keeps doing all that stuff anyway.
For an embarrassing 33 years, Joe was a member of “The Usual Gang of Idiots” at MAD Magazine, churning out a steady stream of pointed political satire and pure silliness. As MAD Senior Editor, he specialized in making funny noises in the hallway, which was never a problem he insists, “since I worked at the only place in America where if you mature, you get fired.” Note: Joe was never fired.
As a performer, Joe continues to appear around the country in The Joy of Censorship, his long-running first amendment show. Since 1993, he has presented "Joy" at countless professional conferences, public libraries, colleges, and regional theaters in 44 states. Still to go: Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C.
On stage at Symphony Space in 2015.
On stage at Tottenville High School in 1972.
In addition, Joe toured extensively through 2008 in Almost Obscene, his outspoken post 9-11 stand-up rant, which generated glowing reviews from coast to coast. His latest solo show, Still Ignorant After All These Years, chronicles what Joe calls his “spiritual journey to Nowheresville,” while comically reflecting on religion, God and plaque psoriasis.
As a producer, Joe is the co-creator and driving creative force behind the Annual John Lennon Tribute charity concert in New York City. Now in its 37th year, it is the only ongoing Lennon Tribute concert in North America or Europe officially sanctioned by Yoko Ono.
Joe produces the Tribute through Theatre Within, which he established as a grassroots non-profit in 2006. Theatre Within provides free songwriting, meditation and art workshops to children who have lost a parent to cancer and adult cancer survivors. In 2014, Joe's visionary work and charitable impact through Theatre Within earned him TimeWarner's Richard D. Parsons Community Impact Award.
On radio, for 16 years, through 2016, Joe was the co-host of the Woodstock Roundable, heard Sunday mornings on Radio Woodstock WDST. He was also a frequent guest on the Alan Colmes Show on the Fox News Radio Network.
Joe has hiked over 1,600 miles of the Appalachian Trail, been whacked with a stick by a monk while meditating at the Zen Mountain Monastery, and had tomatoes, salad greens and a lounge chair thrown at him during a stand-up performance. He often wonders, “When a moment turns romantic, why pause to take a pill?”