A onetime “hardcore, gritty news producer” for ABC News, and former editor of The Georgetown Heckler, Jack O’Brien is now the Web editor of Cracked.com, the comedy wesbite and online presence of Cracked magazine, to hit newsstands in 2006.
Age, Occupation, Where are you from, Where are you now?
25, Editor of Cracked.com. Born in Oregon, moved around a lot, now at 7th Avenue South and Bedford Street.
A few for you:
Cracked magazine is relaunching in January, but its website went live last Oct 5. -- So what's happenin' over at Cracked.com?
Well Neal Pollack, one of our contributing editors, described us as a big dumb shambling comedy magazine, and while we won't be putting that on the masthead, to a certain extent I think that describes what we're doing on the website. Basically sitting around the office trying to make each other laugh out loud.
Wasn't Cracked just a Mad ripoff? How is new Cracked better than old Cracked?
It's funny, whenever I approach someone who I think is really funny about writing for us they all say, "Oh wow, I read that magazine growing up." I don't know if Cracked turned these people into funny grownups or if young funny people were inherently attracted to the magazine but the old Cracked must have been doing something right. I didn't read Cracked growing up, but then I'm not funny so there you have it.
I think that basically what we're trying to do is grow the magazine up with all of those folks who remember it so well from their childhood. There's really no national humor magazine for those of us who watch The Daily Show, Family Guy and Conan. There’s The Onion, and they’re brilliant at what they do, but they only do fake news. We’re trying to capture that space.
Is it weird for you to work at Cracked after spending six years in jail for possession of crack?
Believe me, the irony was not lost on me or my P.O. Despite the Pavlovian tic I get every time someone says the title of the magazine aloud, we all think steady work is a step in the right direction.
Why would anyone launch a magazine? Isn't print dead?
Is that what’s dead now? I thought that TV was dead and that print was making a comeback or something. I think no matter what format you’re working with, if you’re giving people something that there’s a demand for you’re going to be alright. Our editor-in-chief, Monty Sarhan is a really smart man and I don’t think he’d start a magazine if print were dead, so no, print is not dead.
How do you keep the short-attention spans of Internet readers when there's porn just a click away?
You give them porn they can view at work. I mean really the simple answer is you try to make them laugh.
Could a lion beat a shark if they fought on neutral territory?
I guess neutral territory would be outer space? In outer space a shark wins.
Best bargain to be found in NYC?
There’s this whole giant park up north of 59th street. It’s like a zoo with no animals with all these amazing paths and lakes and ponds and they don’t make you pay a single cent. Unless you get mugged, but even then you’re pretty much purchasing street cred with whatever money they take.
Favorite bar or restaurant in NYC?
I like the bar on the top floor of the Grammercy Park Hotel. It’s got this really odd feel, like you’re inside of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas if Stanley Kubrick had directed the adaptation. Not fun for long periods of time but good for a drink.
Best celebrity encounter in NYC?
My first job in NY was as a butler at the SoHo house so I had a couple pretty good ones. I was Hugh Grant’s personal assistant for a weekend and had to carry an umbrella around over his head. I felt like a Chinese peasant but also strangely cool.
What would you declare a landmark in the city?
The coffee shop from Seinfeld. That’s probably a bad answer. I’ve never been but I can imagine that it’s pretty disappointing. But then landmarks usually are. This kid who went to Georgetown with me, Dom, is supposed to have a petty sweet pad. I’ve never been invited but I heard it’s pretty dope. I guess that could be a landmark.
Any advice for Mayor Bloomberg?
I will offer the same advice my mother offered my father after she was bedridden due to complications from my birth. It was prior to my father’s rematch with Apollo Creed and she told him: “There’s something I want for you to do for me. Come here. I want you to win. Just win.”