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About The Funny Times Staff

Renae Lesser

I was raised in the weird, joyful, chaos of the Funny Times. My parents, Sue and Ray, founded the paper a few years before I was born. In fact, my mom was scrambling to finish layout for an issue when she went into labor with me! Back then, the Funny Times “office” was our dining room table, which meant my childhood home was bursting with stacks of mail, ringing phones, transient cartoonists, and lots and lots of laughter. Our family trips were often “funny” as well, because wherever we traveled we met up with local subscribers and contributors, some of whom have become old family friends.

Since flying the funny nest, I’ve lived all over the U.S. and had all sorts of adventures: I studied philosophy, helped a publishing startup get off the ground, directed middle school plays, rabble roused with activists, and even helped run a preschool based on a 6-acre farm. I’ve also worn many hats at the paper—everything from customer service, to editing, to digital strategy. These days, it’s been a pleasure to step into the role of “co-publisher” to carry the torch of this remarkable family business. I love collaborating with my brilliant colleagues to help this quirky little paper evolve and grow.

I now live in Bloomington, Indiana with my husband and fellow co-publisher Gabriel and our cat Mieko. When I’m not collabing with the Funny Times crew, I spend my time nerding out as a PhD student at Indiana University, where I study creative approaches to education. I also love to play in nature, cook without recipes, contribute to community projects, and goof off with friends and family.


As a child I studied clowning with Wavy Gravy and the Pickle Family Circus, and one time even took a class with Patch Adams. That’s where I learned how to make fun of myself and never let a day be entirely bad (although the day my appendix burst at work might be an exception). 

After that I thought I might become a computer programmer, but I found out you have to know math to do that so I became a community organizer and also an accountant (a rare and potent combination: making change in the world, and in your pocket!) I reside in New Orleans and I’m known for having “Jazz Fest Dad Energy,” which means I like loud prints, bad jokes and music from before I was born. 

My fancy job title is “Chief Operating Officer,” which means I spend way too much time on zoom and should collect a firefighter’s pension for all the fires I put out on a regular basis. If my personality was a newspaper, it would be Funny Times. I love this little paper and our whacky team making the magic happen. 


I grew up in the country, the youngest of five kids in a blended family – we joked that it was more of a family bush than a family tree. My family ran a funeral home, and I spent many of my afternoons as a kid stretched out next to a window there reading cartoons and graphic novels. My childhood crush was Opus from Bloom County; I am not sure what that says about me.  I’m still an avid doodler, voracious reader, and a staunch believer in the enduring magic of a printed page.

I am from the Midwest and still call it my home, but I ran away from home when I was fifteen and lived all over the country. I pretended to be a traveling Canadian from Grand Falls, New Brunswick for three years as a cover. My oldest child was born at home, in the hostel where we were living, and we raised him in a VW bus for the better part of his first year. I’m now all grown up with adult children, and a backyard full of ducks, bees, and chickens.

I worked for years as a photographer and editor. Today in my “spare” time, I produce two radio shows for our community radio station: Partisan Gardens and Kite Line, and serve on the board of Charles H Kerr Publishing, the oldest English-language radical press in the world. 

On any given day, I have probably danced like Kate Bush on the moors at least once. I love working with the Funny Times and its fun-loving crew. Working here brings together my passion for comics, adventure, the printed word, and art! 


Hi Folks, this is Karyn. I have been part of Funny Times for over 14 years and I must say, what a long strange trip it has been! Or was that life before FT?

I am a born and bred Clevelander and enjoy exploring off the beaten path, and discovering new eats in any hood is an added bonus! Working at The Funny Times has been an adventure as well. I enjoy talking with all of you to make sure your laughs arrive safely, or to help figure out why not. No matter how crazy it gets out there, I know that here it really is Funny Times!


Enjoys walks in the woods without the spider web interference, mud or stray rabid dogs. Listens occasionally to Tuvan throat-singing angels. Tries to overstand the Supreme Mathematics. Past accomplishments include ollieing out picnic tables, sock folding and birdhouse manufacture. Hopes to one day learn how to tie ties and sharpen knives properly. Relaxes by studying urban exploration, drinking limeade or a diet Dr. Thunder.


Hi! I’m Blayne, and I deliver everything the Funny Times needs delivered, from papers, to babies, to outstanding customer service. As Funny Times first employee circa 1985, I delivered big stacks of papers to local businesses from the back of my beat up 1978 Toyota Celica. I then became a midwife and assisted Sue and Ray with the births of two of their children. I recently retired after 20 years as a midwife, and am now the host of the Funny Times Facebook page!

I love working for Funny Times. My coworkers are all tons of fun and a wee bit nutty, and the office is always supplied with good strong coffee and plenty of chocolate to keep us motivated, if a little jittery. We laugh a lot and only swear a little. Okay, I lied. We swear a lot. But it’s all in good fun, especially when we have “swear bear” fights, or do naked jello wrestling in the back room. Okay, I lied. We don’t really do naked jello wrestling. At least not in the back room. But we do have fun, and we have the world’s greatest customers. So join us aboard the Good Ship Funny Times, where rocking the boat is half the fun.


I was born on October 23rd, 1959 in an army hospital in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This may seem like a really conventional way to start a biography, but actually it explains everything about me, and how I ended up doing the job I do (which no one will ever, and I mean ever understand), meeting the person I’m married to, which led to working for Funny Times and all kinds of unconventional adventures.

Suffice it to say that being born into a military family is basically the same as being a modern day Bedouin and whether you embrace or resist it, the inner nomad is always there. I chose to embrace the peripatetic life, so after college and working as a paralegal for three years, I looked at my bedside table piled high with law and business school applications and did the only sensible thing: I bought a one-way ticket to Europe and after six months traveling around “settled” in Madrid to teach English and learn Spanish. As luck would have it, I met (on Oct 23rd no less) my future husband, a cartoonist and originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He persuaded me to move to NYC, where I embarked on my publishing career (starting off as a Fulfillment Assistant, the only funny title I’ve ever had until my recent promotion to Circulation Czarina), and we took a 9 month sabbatical trip to Africa and Southeast Asia.

When Ray and Sue were hiring in 1993, it turned out they knew my husband from high school and for Sue, as far back as third grade and my life took yet another turn, as I opened the New York satellite “office” of Funny Times. Through them, I’ve been able to indulge my other passion, politics, giving out Dope Seed packages at conventions and anti-war protests. Most recently, the inner nomad took my husband, 9 year old daughter and me to live in Oaxaca, Mexico for two years, where I opened yet another far flung branch office and experienced political unrest, military invasion and the vagaries of the Mexican post office.


Having spent the last decade plus as a stand-up comic, and sometimes teacher of Language Arts, Nicole enjoys making people laugh, writing and reading. When the opportunity to work at the Funny Times was presented to her, she jumped at the chance to be a part of of the FTHQ crew. Nicole thinks it’s nice to have an office to go to and getting paid in US currency instead of beer and chicken strips is cool too.  Nicole genuinely loves talking to subscribers on the phone and looks forward to opening fan mail every week. She runs the Instagram account and does whatever is needed around the office. Her LinkedIn profile states that she is an “ Energetic Visionary / People Person” which is a nice way of saying “A Virgo with ADHD.” 


Sue, my wife, and I created The Funny Times in 1985. Before that I was born, learned to bowl, ate French Fries, and graduated from New College in Florida, which is now becoming infamous as the school that Ron DeSantis is trying to turn into a state-run factory for majors in Anti-Disneyism. Then I hitchhiked around the country, played music for drinks and tips, and spent many hours as a dishwasher and parking lot attendant while trying to write the Great American Novel.

Fortunately, I then got back together with Sue, who I had dated for one week in high school before she broke up with me by handing me a note that said, “I’m not ready for you yet.” We went on a trip to Europe and have shared our lives ever since, including a five-year stint of going “back-to-the-land” and many years being co-publishers and editors of Funny Times while raising three kids before turning them loose upon an unsuspecting world.

What’s the secret formula for the success of Funny Times? The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. We’ve been doing the same thing over and over for 35+ years and expecting the same results, and so far, fortunately, we’ve gotten them. I guess our secret is that we have sane expectations. We expect to have fun at work every day while trying our best to do something good for the world. We expect that everybody is going to continue to have a different sense of humor, and that we’ll always only be able to appeal to the segment of the population that shares our idea of funny. Most of all we expect that we’ll never run out of material and always be able to make fun of the world no matter who’s in charge or what’s going on.

Sue Wolpert

I live in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. My front yard is a big garden. I moved the garden from the back yard when all of the sun back there was lost to the shade of growing trees. For several years I imagined moving the garden to the front, and then one fall I got it going. Most of what I do in the world arises from visions of the future that call me forward.

I enjoy working in the garden early in the morning or late in the day when the sun is at an angle. In the fall, I layer my garden bed with wood chips, shredded Funny Times order forms, leaves and then cover it all with straw. Even as I am putting it to bed for the fall I am preparing for next spring. My idea of fun is to gaze into the garden (and the world) and discover what wants to happen next.

Ray is my best friend. I met him in High School. He was playing guitar with his friends. I invited them all home after a coffeehouse and they came. Inviting people to come together seems to be a life time mission. I like to gather people together for expansive conversations. When people exchange ideas about what they care about most, the world opens up. When we get in the present with each other the way forward emerges. I am constantly inquiring into the nature of people and the world. I am like a buzzing bee carrying messages and ideas from here to there.

I’m told that I came out of the womb smiling, curious, and eager for life. All of that is still true. My life story is getting too long to tell and I would rather talk about the present and future than the past. I am an organizer and a connector who fountains with possibilities and has a passion for people and our attempts to do things together.

Life is a party and a lot of work. Work is a party and a lot of fun. I am a ruthless optimist when I am not depressed. What a mystery.

A good laugh
is hard to find.

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