Feel like your sense of humor has been permanently warped by TikTok videos and Twitter memes? Do you look back fondly at a time when you could appreciate a punch line that wasn’t delivered in 280 characters or less? Have you forgotten how to physically turn a page?
We just might have the antidote to your perpetual Social Media Brain.
The treatment involves a hefty dose of clever comedy courtesy of The Soho Review: New York’s Best and Only Humor Magazine. As they say, laughter is the best medicine.
And the buzzy new publication certainly has the smart set laughing. Launched by a trio of New York City creatives, The Soho Review is a collection of jokes, cartoons, poetry, short stories (and more) that fills the void where irreverent and intelligent humor used to be… especially in print.
If the recent launch party for the mag’s inaugural issue was any indication, the city’s chic, colorful, and cultured cool kids have already given it their enthusiastic stamp of approval. A feat indeed, considering how hard it is to impress the discerning downtown literati.
Curious to learn more? Ace The Soho Review hits newsstands, we chatted with co-founder and editor-in-chief Timothy Latterner for the full dish on all the funny business.
First things first: What inspired you to launch The Soho Review?
I first started as a comedy writer for places like CollegeHumor, MAD Magazine, National Lampoon, and Playboy’s humor section. Now, all of those magazines and sites are either defunct or don’t publish written humor anymore. So we made one—The Soho Review: New York’s Best and Only Humor Magazine. It’s full of cartoons, jokes, funny short stories, and the kind of short-form bits that I used to love in those other magazines.
While we all *love* digital media (ahem…), why was it important to you to make this a print publication?
Admittedly, making an independent print magazine in 2022 is kind of like being a door-to-door beeper salesman. You get asked why you’re doing this a lot. Print allows for something that resonates a little deeper with people upon first impression. Not to mention, in a digital space you need to constantly be making new content, considering SEO values, asking what the Google algorithm is doing, all of which we get to skip over. It gave the writers the space to be funny over 5 to 10 pages, and not have to condense every joke into a Tweet.
How difficult is it, really, to launch an independent print magazine these days?
Well, I mean, there’s hard parts of making anything new. The team that launched the magazine—myself as editor in chief, Parker Calvert as art director, and Clayton Calvert as our business affairs director—all feel we’re adding something new to the newsstand that doesn’t quite exist at the moment, a magazine that puts humor as the most important priority. One difficulty was bringing in writers and artists to pitch ideas and contribute to a magazine that didn’t have an issue at the time to show them what we were looking for as an example. Our one rule with pitches is, “is it funny?” They’re not themed to anything at this point, it’s just, “does this have a joke at its core concept?”, and “did it make us laugh?”
What can we expect to find in the pages of The Soho Review? Can you tell us about some of the contributors?
So, like National Lampoon and Mad Magazine, there’s a large front-of-book section of short-form jokes and ideas: Darth Vader’s Commencement Speech to the Stormtrooper Graduating Class; The Interior Designer’s Dictionary of Meaningless Terms and Phrases. There are parodies of typical magazine elements. Instead of Letters to the Editor, we have a piece, “He’s Letters to the Editor from His Exes.”
There’s also lots of funny poems in the magazine, a great short story by Madeline Garfinkle, a short story by Max Klausner that perfectly echoes PG Wodehouse. Austin Weyant drew a bunch of hilarious cartoons. Sasha Mutchnik made a downtown-based board game which is really funny. Megan O’Sullivan wrote “Missed Connections for Moments You Were Hoping Nobody Saw.” Peppered throughout the magazine, there’s also a number of parody ads that Parker Calvert created that look spot-on for everything from IKEA to an Indeed job posting. There’s a lot of stuff in here we kept laughing with on every read.
The launch party was quite the event – how did you get that together?
It was, thank you! We had our party at Trotter&Sholer gallery on Suffolk Street, at which Sarp Karem Yavuz was having his solo show of work. Cocktail Academy came and was mixing Tanqueray and Don Julio drinks, which everyone seemed to love. Our turnout was kind of wild—a few hundred showed up—who knew people would be this into a new humor magazine, right? It’s a little clearer in the photos, but people flooded out onto the street by the end of the night.
When it comes to dinner party humor, do you think any topics are…off the table?
In terms of jokes? I think it’s all about intent and just being respectful of people and what you might be talking about. Often times, the jokes that hurt people or are offensive to some are also just kind of lazy writing. It’s why even our dumbest, silliest jokes still have actual thought and construction behind them. We worked just as hard on our Nat Geo parody “Matt Geo,” following around guys named Matt, as we did our Shakespeare parody—written by Courtney Zelazny—which is in full iambic pentameter.
In your experience, what does it take to get a New Yorker to (really) laugh?
As a New Yorker, I’m a fairly easy laugher, so maybe I’m not the best to answer this. I think it’s that the funniest New Yorkers are the ones you find out in the wild though. I talk to professional comedy writers all day making The Soho Review, and the funniest person I know is still the guy who runs the deli on my corner at 3 am (We asked him to write something, and he said he’s got better things to do .)
What are your hopes for the future of New York’s best and only humor magazine?
For starters, we’re making a second issue! In terms of scale, we’re going bigger and better with the format of the magazine, expanding the page count and distribution. My hopes for it? It would be great if we all got dates from this, but even better if other writers and artists see it on shelves and start reaching out to pitch for future issues.
Where can we pick up the first issue? How can we contribute to the next?!
This is out now! It’s on newsstands. You can find copies at McNally Jackson stores, Casa Magazines, Soho News International, and Iconic Magazines locations. If you’re interested in pitching an idea to the magazine, submissions are open too! For poems, cartoons, and short stories (under 5,000 words), we only read full drafts or sketches. For short-form jokes, send us a paragraph explaining your idea. Pitches can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Eat one, eat all.
[Contributors Sasha Mutchnik, Clayton Calvert, Eden Pritkin, Tim Latterner, Austin Weyant, Parker Calvert, Jake Rogers, Frankie Carattini, Mitch Neal]