Since joining the Theatre Within Workshop in the late 1970s, Joe Raiola has had a flourishing career as a comedian, comedy writer, speaker and producer.
After over two decades Joe remains a favorite on the lecture circuit and has appeared in his acclaimed solo program, The Joy Of Censorship in over 40 states at countless colleges, regional theaters, public libraries and professional conferences. He’s toured extensively in Almost Obscene, his comic rant on religion, which generated rave reviews from coast to coast. And his subsequent solo work, American Heretic, is a sharp comic analysis of God, country and belief.
In 1985, Joe became a member of “the Usual Gang of Idiots” at MAD, where he remains one of the creative innovators behind the magazine’s unprecedented longevity, success and stupidity. He is currently MAD Senior Editor, a title which he insists “means nothing since I work at the only place in America where if you mature, you get fired.”
Joe is also the Executive Producer and driving creative force behind Theatre Within’s Annual John Lennon Tribute, the only Lennon Tribute concert in America officially sanctioned by Yoko Ono. Under Joe’s visionary leadership the Tribute evolved from a small neighborhood gathering to a major New York City cultural event attracting many top artists, including Jackson Browne, Patti Smith, Steve Earle, Judy Collins, Taj Mahal and Cyndi Lauper. The Tribute has furthered John Lennon’s vision for a better world by raising money to help feed the hungry, fund education programs for homeless children, build music schools in the Third World and support hurricane relief.
In 2006 Joe founded Theatre Within as a not-for-profit whose mission is to further the performing arts as a positive social force through its Annual John Lennon Tribute, other productions and theater workshops, which Joe has been leading for over 25 years.
Joe can be heard most Sunday mornings on WDST, 100.1 FM, and streaming online at WDST.com, on the Woodstock Roundtable, which he has been a co-host of since 2000.