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The A.V. Club
Avclub logo.png
Type Alt-Weekly Entertainment Newspaper
Format Paper (included with The Onion) and Internet
Owner The Onion, Inc.
Editor Keith Phipps
Founded Mid-90s (see History)
Headquarters Chicago
Official website

The A.V. Club is an entertainment newspaper and website published by The Onion. It comes included with the print editions of The Onion, and maintains its own separate website. Unlike its parent publication, The A.V. Club is non-satirical, though it generally maintains a humorous, snarky tone. It reviews newly released films, books, comics, music, DVDs and video games, publishes an array of regular features and includes its own crossword puzzle. The A.V. Club, as bundled with The Onion, is distributed in print form, free of charge, in Madison, Milwaukee, New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver/Boulder, Austin, and Washington, D.C.[1]



The A.V. Club began, separately from The Onion, in the summer of 1993, as an entertainment section run by Stephen Thompson, then a student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 1995, The Onion underwent a redesign that included the debut of the "A.V. Club" name, a reference to the stereotypically geeky high school organization. The A.V. Club came to the internet more gradually throughout the mid- to late 1990s; not all of the sections found in the print edition were immediately available online.

In December 2004, Thompson left his position as editor of The A.V. Club. He currently holds a position as an online music producer at NPR in Washington, D.C. Keith Phipps took over as editor of The A.V. Club upon Thompson's departure.

In July 2005, The A.V. Club's website was redesigned, and the blogs and comments section were added, allowing readers to respond and contribute their own thoughts. Some commentators, such as ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER, have become infamous enough to be the topic of articles themselves.[2][3]

In September 2006, the website was again redesigned, with content being added on a daily rather than a weekly basis. According to Onion President Sean Mills, the website had over 1,000,000 unique users for the first time in October 2007.[4] In October 2009, The A.V. Club website was reported as having 1.4 million unique visitors and 75,000 comments a month[5]

Regular features

Interviews with people from a wide variety of fields within entertainment and the arts, including authors, actors, musicians, screenwriters and even a team of taxidermists.

Reviews, classified into the following five categories.

  • Cinema
  • Music
  • DVD
  • Words (fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels)
  • Games

Special features

Most special features now occur on a weekly basis. They include the following.

  • Savage Love, a syndicated sex advice column, by Dan Savage.
  • Red Meat, a syndicated comic strip, by Max Cannon.
  • Commentary Tracks of the Damned, a focus on the commentary tracks that accompany DVD releases of critical and/or box office flops. In this feature, an A.V. Club writer summarizes the commentators’ explanations (or lack thereof) for a movie’s failure, often focusing on the subtext of the speakers’ words and highlighting instances of hypocrisy and pretension.
  • Films that Time Forgot, a generally lighthearted focus on B-Movies, with an emphasis on their place in cinematic and cultural history.
  • Random Rules, interviews based around MP3 players set to shuffle.
  • Random Roles, interviews where actors share anecdotes on randomly selected films from their career.
  • Inventory, a list of notable examples of works that follow a theme, such as "15 True Comeback Albums" or "The 15 People You Meet Listening To DVD Audio Commentaries"
  • The Hater, a column written by Amelie Gillette, with a focus on popular culture and celebrity news. As its title implies, the author of this column generally takes a sarcastic approach to celebrities and celebrity lives, but she also frequently criticizes the editorial practices of the magazines and tabloids that publish celebrity news. The Hater is updated regularly online—more or less daily and sometimes more than once in a day—much like a blog. The Tolerability Index, a weekly offshoot of The Hater, is also available online having previously been available only in print. The Index is akin to a hot-or-not style continuum, but substituting tolerable for hot and unbearable for not. In print, The Hater appears weekly, with content unique to the print edition.
  • A.V. Club Crossword, a crossword puzzle edited by Ben Tausig with often humorous pop culture clues.
  • Newswire, a frequently updated, blog-style reporting of pop culture news items. Links to full stories and often accompanying video are included.
  • The A.V. Club Blog, a more casual forum for the thoughts of the A.V. club writers.
  • TV Club, which provides weekly and even daily blog-style reviews of television shows.
  • The Bulletin Boards, a forum open to any readers who wish to register. It allows readers to post their own thoughts and topics of discussion, or to comment on articles written by the A.V. Club staff.
  • My Year of Flops, an ongoing series of reviews on over 150 box-office bombs, written by Nathan Rabin.
  • Taste Test, in which the A.V. Club staff sample a variety of unusual foodstuffs, some sent in by readers. The feature has made a minor internet celebrity of Dave Chang, a member of the paper's business development department, due to his ability to stomach various bizarre or disgusting food items other staff members cannot. This earned him the honorary title "Internet Eating Sensation".[6]

The online version of the A.V. Club, in addition to the regular articles, features the comic strip Red Meat and the syndicated sex- and relationship-advice column Savage Love by Dan Savage. Though Savage Love and Red Meat may be found in some of the print incarnations of The A.V. Club they are absent from others, usually as a result of their having been syndicated by other publications prior to The A.V. Club’s arrival in these cities.

Following a recent redesign, the eight print versions of The A.V. Club have subsections called A.V. [City] (e.g., A.V. Milwaukee) that include comprehensive event previews, regular features, and dining guides. This section also features regular special issues with even more content (e.g. “Summer Concert Guides”). The print redesign also saw the addition of more comics, including a strip called Postage Stamp Comics by Too Much Coffee Man creator Shannon Wheeler, and “Wondermark” by David Malki. More additions are planned for the near future.

Current staff

  • Editor: Keith Phipps
  • Managing Editor: Josh Modell
  • Associate Editor National: Tasha Robinson
  • Film Editor: Scott Tobias
  • Associate Editor Local: Kyle Ryan
  • Head Writer: Nathan Rabin
  • Writing Staff: Andy Battaglia, Noel Murray, Scott Tobias, Amelie Gillette
  • Contributors: Donna Bowman, Chris Dahlen, Wil Wheaton, Bonnie Ruberg
  • Copy Editor Local: Genevieve Koski
  • New York City Editor: Andy Battaglia
  • Chicago City Editor: David Wolinsky
  • Madison City Editor: Scott Gordon
  • Milwaukee City Editor: Steven Hyden
  • Twin Cities City Editor: Lindsey Thomas
  • Denver/Boulder City Editor: Tuyet Nguyen
  • Austin City Editor: Sean O'Neal
  • Bay Area City Editor: Marc Hawthorne
  • Los Angeles City Editor: Chris Martins
  • Washington, DC City Editor: Matthew Borlik
  • Internet Eating Sensation: Dave Chang (retired)


In 2002, the A.V. Club released a collection of 68 interviews that had been featured in previous issues, entitled The Tenacity Of The Cockroach: Conversations With Entertainment's Most Enduring Outsiders (2002, ISBN 1-4000-4724-2).

On October 13, 2009, the second A.V. Club book, Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists (2009, ISBN 1-4165-9473-6) was released, featuring a combination of never-before-published lists and material already available on the AV Club website.


External links



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