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First Annual Media-Slam Report: The Reader Wanted It More

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on May 21, 2007 6:40PM


Schadenfreude put media professionals and bloggers on stage at their near-monthly Rent Party Friday night for an Alternative Media Slam/ Free For All / Put Down Insult Tournament. The Schad organized this inaugural competition out of respect for our work and because they wanted to see four local institutions sling muck at each other. And sling we did.

Before we get into who called who what and who’s momma was being disrespected, let's be clear that we enjoy reading The Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, and Gapers Block. And, even after their reps called us drunken narcissists and all sorts of things that’d make a televangelist blush, we’ll continue to read these fine publications.

The Slam was a Final Four style competition where two “semifinal” winners face off for the championship. Each team delivers three insults, crowd noise determines the winner. The champion takes all: pride, supremacy, and a Plexiglas trophy that appears to have been stolen from The Players Ball. We fought hard and brought it to the finals, where The Reader eked out a victory. That's just as well since we've run out of shelf space in our parents’ basement. Congratulations to the venerable, victorious paper and to all the evening’s combatants.

Our incredible underdog story after the jump.

Round One: Chicagoist vs. Time Out Chicago

Chicagoist’s Caroline Clough and Justin Sondak squared off against TOC’s Steve Heisler and Scott Smith, the same Mr. Smith who once helped run the show at this humble site. As ‘fly white guys’, Steve and Scott tagged our staff as a bunch of drunks and artfully mocked our third person narrative style. Chicagoist didn't appreciate that joke and in response, Chicagoist explained how Time Out’s advertising is misleading and compared their marketing efforts to Scott's mom. That comparison earned us the crowd’s adoration, advancing us to the finals.

Round Two: Gapers Block vs. The Reader

This one could've gone either way, it was that close. GB proprietor Andrew Huff and sports writer Ramsin Canon compared The Reader to Playboy magazine (no one reads their articles either). The Reader’s Steve Walker and Kevin Bensley insulted Gapers in binary code and trotted out some classic riffs on internet geeks. The crowd noise meter tipped it to the Reader.

We were too busy talking Andrew down from the ledge to catch the sets by IO regulars Jet and Holly and Rent Party regulars Mike and Duane, but we heard they were quite funny. The good people at Time Out and Gapers jumped on our underdog bandwagon and then, it was time to get it on.

Final Round: The Reader vs. Chicagoist

wideshotslam.jpgThe crowd was loud, the mics didn't always work, and The Reader unloaded one extended comic riff after another. But we held our ground and nearly pulled off a new-media upset. We mocked their inability to grasp blogging. They called us “Chicago-cyst.” We suggested they take out an I Saw You ad to win back their missing readers. They laughed at our Gotham overlords. We reminded them their core demographic is geriatric and their insults are as long and useless as their cover stories. They called our theater coverage repulsive, refusing to touch it with the misattributed genitalia of a certain Sun-Times columnist.

The Reader’s cheering section exploded at each provocation. In retrospect, we should have brought more people. And, uh, actually promoting the event on these pages might’ve helped too. But we had so much damn fun, it almost didn’t matter who won or lost.

Schadenfreude will post jokes, pictures and videos on their site soon; we’ll keep you posted. If this becomes an annual event, we look forward to next year and another chance to conquer TOC, Gapers and, if they’re still around, The Reader. (We kid! We kid!!)

UPDATE: Schadenfreude has posted a 4-minute video of Friday night's fights.

Photos by Alicia Choi and Erin O’Neill