MAD Man in Alaska

Valley Arts ALLIANCE
August 7, 2012


The Valley Arts Alliance and Friends of the Wasilla Public Library were proud to co-host an appearance by Joe Raiola, Senior Editor of MAD Magazine, at The Mat-Su Cinema in Wasilla on Tuesday, August 7, 2012.

Joe Raiola is an American comedian, comedy writer and producer. He has been a member of the editorial staff of MAD Magazine since 1985 and currently holds the title of Senior Editor—a title he insists "means nothing since I work at the only place in America where if you mature, you get fired". 

At 4pm Joe Raiola presented The Wild (And Idiotic!) History of MAD Magazine, a special program for high school students (and adults) that traced MAD's unlikely rise from what Time Magazine once called "a short-lived satirical pulp" to a dynamic cultural force, inspiring generations of comedy writers. The program also included a multi-media segment featuring some of MAD's best material from the 1950s to recent postings on its daily humor blog, MADMagazine.com.

At 7pm Joe Raiola presented The Joy of Censorship, a humorous, illuminating, and sometimes satiric look into banned books, movie ratings, Internet filters, and the true meaning of obscenity.

Joe Raiola said his research on censorship has revealed some horrible and nonsensical abuses of the First Amendment that are as scary as they are funny. "Censorship is always about fear. People want to protect us from what frightens them, or censorship allows them to retain power in some way over others. That's always been true. There have always been uptight censors—mostly from the right but some from the left, as well—and there always will be. I'd like to say we've evolved, but I don't think we have." 

"When I started doing this, one of the big stories was that Where's Waldo? was banned at libraries because of a tiny topless character in one of the drawings. That is how you make censorship funny. If someone is actually saying that Moby Dick should be pulled off the library because it does not conform to community standards, that's funny. Pointing out the absurdities of it is tremendous fun, and much better than giving some serious, erudite talk on censorship."