Joe Randazzo is the former editor of The Onion, the world's most popular satirical newspaper, as well as former creative director of adultswim.com. Randazzo also performs stand-up and has appeared on NPR's This American Life, PBS's Charlie Rose, and MSNBC's Morning Joe. Randazzo was awarded the Burke Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse through the Arts by the College Historical Society of Trinity College Dublin in 2012. He is author of the book <i>Funny on Purpose.</i>
Question: What did you think you’d be doing when you grew up?
Joe Randazzo: What did I think I would be doing when I grew up? It’s funny. I think I always thought that I would wind up in comedy somehow. I guess I kind of envisioned myself being like a Bill Murray or somebody who was my hero, but I didn’t ever actively pursue comedy as a career. It just sort of like happened. I never really thought that I… While I always fantasized about it as a kid, I just, for some reason it never seemed like something that I should actually really pursue, so. So I think I envisioned myself being as much like Bill Murray as I could, and having kids and having a cabin up in the woods somewhere, and so one of those things has happened so far, so that’s good.
Question: Why did you want to be Bill Murray?
Joe Randazzo: I think he was such a specific kind of comedy that was sarcastic and confident, but also not cold and soulless. You know, like not just doing comedy on the surface level. There was something really endearing about him, and you got the sense that even though he made cynical remarks that he was a kind of flawed and normal guy as well. You know I think he just really is sort of the standard bearer for this tone of comedy that a lot of people from my generation grew up with. You know Steve Martin was in there as well, Chevy Chase in those days were all… I don’t know if they’re big influences, but I guess I haven’t done a lot of reflecting on who my comedic influences actually have been. Growing up with, you know, two younger brothers and sarcastic parents probably was the biggest influence of any you know. I don’t think anybody can really make me laugh like my little brother Matt or my dad or my brother Nick, so I think that had a lot to do with it.
Recorded on November 30, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen