Evan Shapiro has found his next big comedy gig. Deadline reported today that the former head of NBC’s bold but short lived Seeso venture has been named president of National Lampoon. The brand was once the symbol of everything subversive in comedy and would have to be on any list of the forefathers (and mothers) of modern comedy. Belushi, Murray, Chevy, Gilda, Ramis, Belzer all came out of National Lampoon which came to life in 1969 given form by founders Doug Kenney, Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman. Michael O’Donoghue, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, John Hughes, Anne Beatts, P.J. O’Rourke were all cutting their comedy teeth at the National Lampoon. But the one time game changing publication faded and has existed in purgatory for years until a movie and a documentary reignited interest in the brand in recent years.
The brand was bought in 2017 by PalmStar media but all has been quiet since that acquisition made news. The deal included a massive archive of content that includes print, audio and film. Palmstar exec Raj B. Singh explained to Deadline, “We’ve been precious with the label since we acquired it. Evan rounds out the leadership we deemed necessary to make the greatest impact.”
Since leaving Seeso just shortly before the venture folded, Shapiro has been developing comedy projects via his eshapTV company which will now be a part of the Lampoon. Shapiro will be in charge of all content for the company including development, acquisitions and production across multiple media platforms. Prior to taking over for Seeso, Shapiro oversaw changes at IFC and has EP’ed an impressive roster of comedy television: Portlandia, Wyatt Cenac’s Night Train, Big Jay Oakerson’s What’s Your Fucking Deal,There’s Johnny, and a long list of specials that include Laurie Kilmartin’s killer hour, 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad, Brody Stevens: Live From the Main Room, Jena Friedman’s American Cunt, and specials from Doug Stanhope, Janeane Garofalo, Fahim Anwar, Nick DiPaolo, Joey Diaz, and more. Most recently, he executive produced Showtime’s hit special, Funny Women of a Certain Age.
Deadline also reported the National Lampoon Radio Hour will be revived as a podcast, and Lemmings is coming back too.
Shapiro plans to use the opportunity as a “megaphone for the next wave of young and diverse comedic talent”. Projects already in development include a series about a Mexico City neighborhood, a woke Japanese Game Show, and a story about two real life women coders who met at code camp and created a hit viral video game.