Humorists at Noser, Jug are joining forces

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wells Fargo’s impending acquisition of Wachovia and other ownership changes in the financial sector signal economic woes and diminished job prospects. However, there is one consolidation that Brown students can still laugh about.

The Brown Noser, Brown’s student-run satirical newspaper, has “adopted” the Brown Jug, the University’s student-run comedy magazine, said Ross Stackhouse ’10, co-editor-in-chief of the Noser with Adam Wagner ’11.

Ian Spector ’09, of the Jug, said that he and his co-editors-in-chief, Riaz Gillani ’09 and John Rozehnal ’09, had shifted their priorities away from the magazine so they decided to hand over the publication to the founders of the Brown Noser. “Steve (Daniels ’10) and Mitch (Moranis ’10) are really good. I trusted in them,” Spector said.

The Brown Noser has found success since its founding in 2006, while the Jug has been suffering from low visibility on campus in this time, said Moranis.

Daniels and Moranis, current editors emeritus of the Noser, appointed Noser staffers Stephen Salisbury ’09 and Jon Hillman ’09 as co-editors-in-chief of the Jug for 2008-2009. While the publications will share staff, and the editors of the Noser will oversee the Jug’s content, “financial resources will remain separate,” Spector said.

The Noser has long been interested in working on magazine content, said Moranis. This acquisition is especially opportune because “we couldn’t fund another comedy newspaper, but the Jug can sustain itself” with University funding, he said.

While the Brown Noser produces fake news in the style of the Onion, the Brown Jug has been closer to a comic magazine in recent years. However, the new Jug will provide a longer-form, literary style of humor, Salisbury said, and will appeal to fans of McSweeney’s and the blog Stuff White People Like. The editors wanted to “make it a little smarter,” Moranis said.

The Jug has about 12 contributors, Salisbury said. In contrast, the Noser boasts upwards of 50 staffers. “All of our writers have the option to write for both publications,” Moranis said. This pooling of talent will allow writers to work with a wider range of comic styles.

There is an “atmosphere of real excitement and enthusiasm” about the acquisition among Noser staffers, said Stackhouse. The Jug staff is “all for it,” said Spector. Fraser Evans ’11, a photographer for the Noser, said she was happy to see the relationship between the two publications evolve from competition to collaboration.

For the initial transition, “we’re sort of leaning on the Brown Noser staff for technical help and suggestions,” Salisbury said. Evans said Jug writers have already asked her to photograph for the first issue of the Jug under Noser supervision.

“The Jug fits in perfectly” with the Noser’s publication schedule, said Moranis. Current plans call for the Noser to publish in October, December, February, and late April or early May while the Jug will publish in late November and March, said Stackhouse. While the number of issues for each publication has not changed, the coordination allows the editors to publish in different months.

Editors hope that distributing the Jug by hand, as the Noser is distributed, and doubling the magazine’s run to 2,000 copies will increase its visibility on campus, Moranis said. “They need to publicize a lot more,” said Skylar Polanski ’09, who had not heard of the Jug.

Dan Ain ’09 said he was also unfamiliar with the Jug, but added “The Brown Noser is actually quite funny.”

The Jug, Brown’s second-oldest publication after The Herald, has been published since 1918. Notable Jug staffers have included Frank Lesser ’02, a writer for the Colbert Report, and Spector, originator of the ubiquitous Chuck Norris facts.

The Noser would like to help “rebuild a tradition – an institution that should be here that should be successful,” Moranis said. “We’re optimistic that people are going to like it,” he said, and added, “who knows what’s going to come out?”