College senior Abigail Lowenthal is the founder of a new humor magazine on campus called Bluff. The Daily Pennsylvanian talked with Lowenthal to discuss her inspiration to create the magazine and her involvement with Penn’s comedy community.
Daily Pennsylvanian: How did you come to create Bluff Magazine?
Abigail Lowenthal: I transferred at the beginning of last year to Penn. I had worked for a satire and art magazine at my prior school. When I was in the transfer process, I was really intrigued by Penn’s different writing opportunities, like the Kelly Writers House and the DP. As school started up, I realized that I missed that old version of a satire and art magazine. With Bluff, I can create another alternative space for satire and art. There are voices that are missing from the spaces we do have.
DP: How does your experience in performing comedy translate to writing satire?
AL: In both spaces, there is always room to push limits in terms of what people think is funny and what people are expecting to see. I am interested in both of those spaces and to push that to allow people to see comedy in both a physical form, in performance and in a written form slightly differently. There is always room for growth and change in both of those areas.
DP: Do you prefer performing comedy or writing about it?
AL: I am interested in television-writing and script-writing, so that has been a focus of mine. Satire-writing can be so pointed and great. Especially in a college environment like Penn, where things are often taken so seriously, there is a lot of possibility and room for exciting pieces in satire. The Late Night [a student-run comedy show] is something we worked towards, we have guests and we recently introduced stand-ups to the mix. You end up working, working, working and then putting on a live performance. Bluff is similar though because you get submissions and sit down saying we are going to craft a magazine around this theme or idea. They do align, but they are also very different.
DP: What do you see Bluff being for your readers?
AL: I am interested in our first issue being zen style. Easy to distribute, easy to pick up, read a few pieces and then put down. Something to put a smile on people’s faces.
DP: Do you see yourself continuing to work with comedy after graduation?
AL: I am definitely interested in the entertainment industry. Whatever space people can find themselves after graduation that feels positive and related to what they are interested in is great. I would definitely not limit myself, and say, “I just want to go into writing scripts.” I think there are awesome opportunities in tons of different fields, but I definitely am interested in continuing something related to entertainment and comedy.
DP: What advice do you have for people who are interested in media and entertainment?
AL: I think the scariest part of the entertainment industry is before you have entered it. The advice that I have is just try it. There is nothing wrong with putting your neck out there and submitting to a magazine like Bluff or trying out for something that you end up not getting. My first two years of college I had a hard time wanting to be involved in all these different groups and realizing it is not possible to spread yourself that thin. That is really challenging to expect yourself to be perfect at everything and that is not the point. Just try. Share your work and get involved in things at Penn that you would never expect to try.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
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