National Lampoon, Incorporated

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National Lampoon, Inc.
Industry publications, media
Genre humor
Founded West Hollywood, CA, USA (2002 (2002))
Founders Dan Laikin
This is about the modern company. For the original magazine, its related projects and the original company, see National Lampoon (magazine).

National Lampoon, Incorporated is a company formed in 2002 in order to use the brand name "National Lampoon" in comedy and entertainment.[1] In the words of its prospectus, the role of the company is to "develop, produce, provide creative services and distribute National Lampoon branded comedic content through a broad range of media platforms." Since its start in 2002, the company overhauled its corporate infrastructure several times. The "National Lampoon World Headquarters" is located in West Hollywood, California.

The CEO of the company was originally Dan Laikin, who was prosecuted in 2008 for illegal stock manipulation. After Laikin resigned, Tim Durham took over, but in 2009 Durham was investigated and charged with operating a Ponzi scheme.

Properties of the company[edit]

National Lampoon Press[edit]

National Lampoon Inc releases humor books and material under the umbrella of National Lampoon Press. These include republished collections of old National Lampoon magazine material, including True Facts, Foto Funnies, cartoons etc. from the 1970s and 1980s.

National Lampoon on radio[edit]

National Lampoon Comedy Radio.svg
Broadcast area United States
Frequency XM 154
First air date 2006-10-01
Format Comedy
Class Network
Owner National Lampoon, Inc.
Distributed by Premiere Radio Networks

National Lampoon Comedy Radio was a 24/7 all comedy radio network that was made available to XM Satellite Radio, AM-FM, HD, Cable Radio and Podcast.

Affiliated with Clear Channel Communications, National Lampoon Comedy Radio was first added to XM Satellite Radio, and began airing on the satellite radio service on October 1, 2006. Much of the programming is broadcast from National Lampoon World Headquarters in West Hollywood, California. The station has live comedy talk shows with host Nadine Rajabi broadcasting "Nadine @ Nite" five days a week. It also has had stand-up performances from famous comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, George Carlin, D. L. Hughley, and Bob Saget. The station also plays prank calls from Crank Yankers.

As of March 6, 2009, National Lampoon radio was dropped from the Sirius-XM line-up, replaced by talk programming.

National Lampoon.com and the web[edit]

The company's website, NationalLampoon.com, has been awarded "Best of the Web" from the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, USA Today, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, and was twice nominated by the Webby Awards for "Best Humor Site" in 2001 and 2005.[2] In 2002, the content of National Lampoon.com was officially registered into the Smithsonian Institution for best exemplifying American satire in the weeks following the 9-11 attacks. The website currently emphasizes original video content, both in-house and freelance, spread to viral video hosting sites such as YouTube.

In addition to the content created by The National Lampoon staff, The National Lampoon Humor Network is an affiliation of almost fifty comedy websites owned or partnered with National Lampoon. Collectively, they drew approximately 5 million monthly viewers in May 2007. This format has given it a consistent Comscore rating of #1 amongst comedy websites, barely beating out Comedy Central's web presence at #2.[3]

On August 19, 2008 National Lampoon issued a press release stating they have bought AllModelZone.com, AllModelZone which hosts models and photographers portfolios. The purchase created a controversy in the modeling industry as National Lampoon, Incorporated did nothing with the website, causing many to voice their disapproval of the new owners and to demand the old company Alle Von Technologies LLC to take it back.[citation needed]

During 2011, the website was redesigned to resemble the classic National Lampoon magazine format. NationalLampoon.com staff-writers and contributors include: Sandy Danto, Jessica Gottlieb, Phil Haney, Seth Herzog, Evan Kessler, Kevin McCaffrey, Nadine Rajabi, Garrett Hargrove, Travis Tack, Eddie Rawls, and Matt Zaller [1].

As of August 2012, the website just has a placeholder showing a wooden fence with classic covers and a sign reading "Pardon Our Appearance While We Change Into Something More Hilarious". [2]

National Lampoon on television[edit]

Originally formed in 2002, the National Lampoon College Network was revived in 2006 as a two-hour block of weekly television programming that is broadcast to colleges and universities. The format is similar to MTVu, the college-focused division of MTV.[4]

Feature films[edit]

Further information: List of National Lampoon films

After its purchase by J2 Communications in 1991, the National Lampoon franchise became predominately a name-licensing company, in which the company was paid for use of its brand on titles such as National Lampoon's Senior Trip, Dorm Daze, Blackball, and Barely Legal. Although this enterprise salvaged the company from bankruptcy, some believe it damaged the reputation of National Lampoon as a source of respected comedy. When the company was purchased from J2 Communications, this practice was eventually discontinued in 2007, with the last "licensed" film being TV: The Movie starring Steve-O.

In June 2007 National Lampoon Inc announced its intention to finance, produce and distribute its own feature films. In an interview with the New York Times, Dan Laikin stated that "the company really had just been a licensing company in the ’90s. We were just licensing the name and we had no creative input. When I came in, we had to re-energize the brand and cut back on the licensing, because the only way to take control of the brand was to make sure that ultimately we put it on projects that we are proud of." [3] Eventually, the company hopes to release four of its own movies annually and acquire up to eight more for distribution. The first released was Ratko: The Dictator's Son

National Lampoon has also begun to purchase independent films and re-release them under the distinctive title of "National Lampoon Presents". The first in this series was National Lampoon Presents The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell, which was released in 2007.

National Lampoon on the stage[edit]

In the fall of 2007, National Lampoon revived the live sketch comedy variety show, National Lampoon's Lemmings for a nationwide theatrical tour. The show consists of a multimedia presentation of live sketches written and performed by the cast, are integrated with related comedy videos.[5]

National Lampoon's Lemmings is currently[when?] in production with ManiaTV.com on a half-hour web-based sketch comedy show.

Other media[edit]

National Lampoon's Strip Poker
Released on pay-per-view in 2005 after being filmed at the Hedonism II nudist resort in Negril, Jamaica. The one-hour episodes featured various Playboy, WWE, and pin-up models competing in strip poker match-ups.
National Lampoon's Knucklehead Video
A video-sharing and social networking site featuring viral video content of extreme sports bloopers, "drunken debauchery" and the self-explanatory 'show us your butts'.
National Lampoon's Eye for an Eye
A syndicated television program that provides a variation on popular thirty minute courtroom reality shows.
National Lampoon's Chess Maniac 5 Billion and 1
A video game from the early 1990s for the PC platform. It was a 3-D chess game with animated battle scenes between the pieces when you attacked another piece, in the style of Battle Chess.

The GSN cable television network in 2003 produced a comedy game show National Lampoon's Funny Money, hosted by Jimmy Pardo. The game featured guest comedians and the more laughs in the "funny zone" were registered, the more points were earned. The winner went on to play for a National Lampoon vacation.

2008 and 2009 prosecutions[edit]

In December 2008, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia filed charges against Dan Laikin, the former CEO of National Lampoon Incorporated, with accusations that he and two third-party stock promoters attempted to artificially inflate the company's stock price. Prosecutors say the company manipulated prices by paying kickbacks to said stock promotors to buy and hold stock, an activity which created the illusion of market interest. Prosecutors charged a total of seven people with conspiracy and securities fraud.

Since the incident, Laikin has resigned from his position as CEO. Businessman Tim Durham, a dominant shareholder who claimed to have had no involvement in the stock scandal, took over duties as CEO of National Lampoon Incorporated[6] However the next year Tim Durham was involved in his own financial scandals, including what was alleged to be a mini Ponzi scheme.[7]

Daniel Laikin, 47, of Indianapolis and Los Angeles, the former CEO of National Lampoon, Incorporated (National Lampoon), pleaded guilty on September 23, 2009 to his role in a conspiracy to manipulate the company's stock price from March through June 2008. National Lampoon is a company based in Los Angeles that is involved primarily in media projects including feature films, television programming, online and interactive entertainment, home video and book publishing. National Lampoon owns interests in all major National Lampoon properties, including the movies Animal House and the Vacation series. National Lampoon also operates a college television network and humor website. At the time of the crime, National Lampoon was publicly traded under symbol "NLN" on the American Stock Exchange. Once this scheme became public, National Lampoon's share price lost approximately 80 percent of its value over three days. As a result, National Lampoon was removed from its listing on the American Stock Exchange and now trades as an over-the-counter or "penny stock."

As part of this conspiracy, Laikin enlisted a number of other individuals to help him artificially inflate the price of the stock. Specifically, Laikin paid kickbacks to individuals to generate buying in the stock, that was not based on free market forces, to make it appear as if there was significant interest in the stock when, in fact, there was little or no such interest. Laikin also provided non-public information to his co-conspirators, including information regarding the company's unannounced financial results. He also coordinated press releases to provide a pretext for their increased buying. Laikin's goal was to induce real buying from the public so as to artificially increase the price of the stock. As part of his plea, Laikin acknowledged that he intended to cause between $2.5 million and $7 million in losses through this scheme.

Laikin faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment when sentenced on Jan. 13, 2010. Laikin also faces separate civil charges from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Derek A. Cohen and Louis D. Lappen.[8]

In September 2010, a Philadelphia court sentenced Laikin to 3 years 9 months [9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ LA Weekly - News - The Punch Line, Please - Nikke Finke - The Essential Online Resource for Los Angeles
  2. ^ The Biggest Brand in Comedy Relaunches the Biggest Web Presence in Comedy: National Lampoon.com; Twice Webby-Nominated Site Features Work of Xylem Interactive and JamboWorks, Business Wire, June 19, 2006.
  3. ^ a b Andrew Adam Newman. National Lampoon Stakes Revival on Making Own Films, New York Times, June 25, 2007.
  4. ^ The Official National Lampoon Networks Website
  5. ^ http://www.nationallampoon.com/lemmings/ Official Website for National Lampoon's Lemmings 2007
  6. ^ Post article 16 December 2008
  7. ^ http://www.investorprotection.com/blog/2009/11/27/tim-durham-embattled-financier-tied-to-more-scandals/
  8. ^ http://news.prnewswire.com/ViewContent.aspx?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/09-23-2009/0005099957&EDATE=
  9. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/08/daniel-laikin-national-lampoon-ceo-sentenced_n_710021.html

External links[edit]