Is This Really Boston’s Next Media Mogul?

Yes. His name is David Portnoy. And he’s building an empire – one blog post (and one babe) at a time.

LEDGE KITCHEN AND DRINKS is a three-minute walk from Portnoy’s office. There’s a crowd on this Thursday night, and it’s loud. Maybe it’s a jump-start to the upcoming Halloween weekend. Maybe it’s the warm weather. When I arrive, Portnoy is standing at the bar wearing what amounts to his version of formalwear: pressed white shirt, pastel plaid shorts, flip-flops.

I order a Sam Adams. He says he hates Sam Adams. We talk Halloween costumes: He’s going as Bodhi, the mystical surfer/badass bank robber portrayed by Patrick Swayze in the movie Point Break. “You’d never believe how hard it is to find a wetsuit in Boston,” he says.

In person, Portnoy is the antithesis of his online persona. He’s urbane, polite, and easygoing. He offers up a detailed description (at least for a dude) of his wedding in Newport a year ago, and of how he enjoys weekly dinner-and-a-movie dates with his wife, Renee. He talks about growing up on the North Shore, how he was an average athlete who played baseball at Swampscott High. And how, after getting an education degree from the University of Michigan (“They won a national title [in football] when I was there”) he moved back to Boston to work in sales.

He orders the steak tips. He wanted the burger, but decided against it because it’s too messy to eat in front of someone he “doesn’t really know.” On the flat-screen above, Bruins center Tyler Seguin scores against the Maple Leafs. “I haven’t been to a Bruins game in years,” he says. He doesn’t really go to too many Sox games, either. But on the occasion he does, he gets swarmed  by fans. “It takes me 45 minutes to walk down Lansdowne Street — so many people want to stop and take a picture with me.”

After ordering a Coors Light, Portnoy ruminates on one of Barstool Sports’s better-known contributions to American culture: “I invented the ‘Guess That Ass’ game,” he says, shaking his head. The daily trivia contest, a staple of the Barstool canon, is brilliant in its simplicity: El Prez crops a photo of a female celebrity so that only her backside is revealed. Readers then click on the photo to find out to whom said ass belongs. Tonight, his incredulity is directed at celebrity-gossip website TMZ, which  has taken to offering a “Guess the Badonkadonk!” feature on a semiregular basis.

“We’ve been doing it for years,” Portnoy says.

As we’re getting ready to leave, two twentysomething guys in baseball hats enter the room. Portnoy doesn’t know them, but as the two slide to the end of the bar, they chime in unison: “Hey, Prez.”

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  • csr

    So the guy the reprints articles from other sites and gives sophomoric, Internet forum users-style commentary is considered a media mogul? Who knew?

  • El

    Viva La Stool!!

  • Jason

    VIVA LA STOOL

  • Jeff

    Viva La Stool!

  • Steve

    Dear first commenter,

    You suck large goat penis.

    Good day sir.

  • andrew

    The girl on the left is HOT!

  • J

    That Boston Magazine would even stoop to interview this lowlife is beyond understanding. He’s misogynist of the highest order and gives his mentally challenged fans a venue on which they can spew hatred and venom. He’s not funny, he can’t write or spell, and he’s one of the ugliest looking dudes on the planet. He might want to see a plastic surgeon about getting rid of the penis on his face masquerading as a nose. That some poor woman would actually marry him is another mystery. Can’t wait til they have a daughter who can grow up looking at Daddy’s website while figuring out how much he hates women.

  • Joel

    a few points about the 1st commentator…

    1) tough to criticize someone for being vulgar with a vulgar comment yourself…kinda steals some of your thunder

    2) don’t use big words like misogynist…Dave doesn’t understand them anyway

    3) not all movies are real…they have acotrs…some people act to get a rise out of people…it happened with you

    4) way to give Dave ammunition…you are now being ridiculed on his site and helping generate revenue for for barstool sports…congrats!

  • michael

    all you haters of barstool can go to hell ! el pres is one of the funniest mother fuckers ever. period thats it you cant dispute it if you dont like it then dont read it end of story as for the rest of us we are all gunna continue staying loyal regardless of the dumbass things you write so you might as well not write them

  • michael

    all you haters of barstool can go to hell ! el pres is one of the funniest mother fuckers ever. period thats it you cant dispute it if you dont like it then dont read it end of story as for the rest of us we are all gunna continue staying loyal regardless of the dumbass things you write so you might as well not write them

  • max

    What a joke this article is. There is no way barstool gets 1.7 million monthly uniques. Portnoy doesnt even know what monthly uniques means. Compare barstoolsports.com to rollingstone.com and you will see rolling stone has double the traffic.

  • Black

    Yo all you haters need to get off elpres’ balls, haters gonna hate, anyways Davey, can you unblock me bro, i want comment on the boston site, viva la stool and yeah you fat chicks need to lose weight, that is all

  • Yeehaw

    How can you ppl hate on the stool? Dude built a ridiculous following from nothing, so you gotta respect that at least. I don’t see anybody else lighting the world on fire getting articles written about them in Boston Magazine. So all you tightasses out there with no sense of humor hatin on Barstool stick to sippin tea with your pinkies in the air, meanwhile us stoolies will be laughin our asses off over at Barstool and rubbin one out to pics of your daughter. VIVA LA FUCKIN STOOL DICKHEADS

  • a

    David Portnoy is a disgrace to Boston. No better than Michael Jackson with this child porn shit.

  • john

    viva la stool!!

  • vinny

    haters gonna hate, slaters gonna slate

  • Nick

    VIVA LA STOOL!

  • http://twitter.com/theWizzl3 Drew Waggoner

    viva la stool!

  • Eric Randall

    Viva la stool

  • oojr
  • John Lydon
    • John

      More cluelessness from people that don’t know a story from a hole in the wall.

  • Týr

    OH yeah a good media mogul….one who allowed a kid with Cerebral Palsy, who was trying to enjoy a freakin Bruins game with his father, to be turned into a laughing stock on his website….

    • John

      Get a grip and a clue. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Typical.

  • Kim Smith

    This guy is a real scumbag. Media mogul my ass. Most moguls at least have a shred of decency or knowledge of the law. This man ruthlessly commits slander and libel against people, knowingly posting horrific stories that are completely baseless. He is a joke to society and should grow up and stop stalking college girls and children. Get a life. Karma my friend.

  • John

    Examples?