CRC ‘jerks’ to launch humor magazine next week in dorms

Bret Harper

Eight jerks are launching a new magazine early next week.

The Northwestern Jerk, a student-run comedy magazine, will be distributed in dorms and dining halls as the students’ effort to help NU lighten up.

“The Evanston election may be a big deal to some people, but to me, not so much,” said Greg Presto, editor of The Jerk and Medill freshman. “I’d rather write stuff that’s funny and fun to read.”

The magazine, which calls itself NU’s only humor magazine, tries to provide an alternative type of media.

“We won’t care about journalism,” Presto said. “This is something different.”

Presto said he wanted to implement a comedy magazine that he dreamed up in high school. He began working on The Jerk with seven friends during Winter Quarter. They did most of the work in the Communications Residential College, where many of “the jerks” live, and published the magazine in Pittsburgh, Presto’s hometown.

The jerks hope to avoid journalistic style and produce an unpredictable publication.

“I don’t think this issue is as wacky as we can get,” said Pat Michels, a Medill freshman and Daily assistant photo editor. “Stuff like dismembered moose, that’s what we’re going for.”

Michels said he hopes to avoid comparisons to the popular satirical newspaper The Onion.

“This week’s Onion had something about porn stars,” Michels said. “We’re not looking for something that high-minded.”

Instead, the jerks approach their publication with an unusual attitude.

“I don’t care, and this is my outlet for not caring,” Presto said. “We’re slapjobs, but I think we’re pretty funny slapjobs.”

Presto said the content of The Jerk also will differ from other student publications.

“There will be lots of testicle jokes,” he said.

The magazine features 13 pages of Jerk-style “comedy,” including articles on dorm voyeurism and alternative butter products.

Medill freshman Raphael Bartholomew wrote an article explaining his mother’s aversion to professional firefighting, pimping and forensic pathology.

“Writing a story, I try to start in truth and then work from there,” Bartholomew said. “I think it was really good for the first issue. I laughed a lot.”

But Bartholomew said he still sees possibilities for improvement in the future.

“We’re learning, but everything can be improved,” he said. “I’d like to see an increase in the variety of humor writing in there.”

Presto said he hopes kids whip The Jerk off the racks.

“The idea was to publish it for midterms and finals.” Presto said. “I’ll drop it in dining halls, Norris (University Center), wherever you can find a Daily.”

Although The Jerk seeks to be NU’s light-hearted comedy magazine, there is some concern that the magazine’s stories will be offensive.

“Any time you write humor, there’s a possibility of someone getting offended,” Bartholomew said. “It’s meant to be harmless and fun.”

Even so, Presto said he will not seek recognition as an ASG student group.

“I didn’t want to apply to be an ASG student group because I didn’t want to be put down by the man,” Presto said. “I hate the man.”

“If it’s funny we’ll keep it,” he said. “But we’ll definitely keep it in good taste.”