Photo credit Stefan Radtke
Phil Reisman began honing his politically charged humor as a kid growing up in Mamaroneck, when he’d listen to his father rage about the news of the day. “He was an inveterate Nixon hater, and he was pretty funny about it,” Reisman recalls. “This can only rub off on you.”
During his nearly 40 years with the Journal News, Reisman became a household name among political junkies, earning a reputation — not to mention accolades and a large and loyal fan base — for taking on New York’s most powerful politicos and their controversies with confidence and a devil-may-care sense of humor.
A Yonkers resident, Reisman says he’s drawn to politics “because it encompasses so many classic themes — aspiration, hope, mendacity, greed, sex, lies, and videotape.” In fact, Reisman once launched his own (short-lived) campaign for the US Senate, “in the pre-Twitter-Trumpian days of 2000,” in a write-in campaign against Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio.“I had campaign buttons and bumper stickers with the slogan: ‘Try ’N Stop Me.’ I only got about a dozen write-in votes — but I got a lot of funny columns out of it!”
His last column ran in October, after the paper eliminated his position due to cost-cutting initiatives. Now 62, the married father of two admits it’s tough being out of work after all of these years, but the huge outpouring of support from his fans, including many of the politicos he once lambasted, helps alleviate the sting. And it’s unlikely the prolific newsman will remain idle much longer. “Maybe I’ll train to run a marathon and write a book,” he quips. “I’ve got lots of newspaper stories to tell.” We’re intrigued, Phil. We’re intrigued.