Back in the late 2000s, when current Indiewire TV editor Alison Willmore was in charge of IFC.com’s film section and I was one of the site’s main writers, we basically had one goal: be like The A.V. Club. It was an impossible dream, but one worth aspiring to. I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I deeply admire The A.V. Club’s approach to its work: smart but accessible, comprehensive but quirky. It’s simultaneously one of the most serious and one of the funniest pop culture websites on the Internet. I envied their creativity and their inventiveness back then, and they’ve only gotten bigger and better since, adding valuable subsites devoted to television and gaming. I’m proud that I’ve gotten to contribute to The A.V. Club on a few occasions. And I still read the site almost every single day.
A big reason why is Keith Phipps, editor of The A.V. Club for the last eight years and a full-time writer for it for another seven before that. On his Facebook page, Phipps called the site, which grew out of (and is still owned by) the satirical newspaper The Onion, his “life’s work.” And though that work will go on, it will continue without Phipps, who announced today that he was leaving The A.V. Club after fifteen years at the company. Here’s the announcement he made on his Tumblr:
“After 15 years of employment at The A.V. Club, eight as editor, Onion Inc. and I have come to a mutual parting of the ways. I’m proud to have worked there and proud of the work I did and the role I played in making The A.V. Club what it is today. I’ve loved the opportunity to serve as its editor, guide its direction, and contribute to it as a writer and relished working with many talented co-workers and contributors over the years, too many to name here. I’m sorry to go but no party’s too fun if you stay too long and this is my time to leave the party.”
I reached out to Phipps over email regarding more details surrounding this “mutual parting of the ways” but so far, none have been forthcoming. In the meantime, here’s what I have to say: The A.V. Club will continue to be worth reading. There are a lot of other smart, talented people working over there. But one of the smartest and most talented is now looking for a new home. If I owned a pop culture website, I’d hire him on the spot.