Satire, You’re My Best Friend

When you’re good, that is.

Bad satire is one of the most painful things to read. At least when fiction writing or informative writing is kind of poor, you can still enjoy it. There are certain things that have to be true about a satire piece for readers to enjoy it, however.

The Target Market Has to Side With You

If most Americans think hummingbirds are cute, and you write an article poking fun at how ugly hummingbirds are, it is not going to be received well. It doesn’t matter if your article is hilarious to 5% of the population because they don’t like that type of bird. The other 95% will not be receptive to your clever writing.


If you write for a Republican blog and you satirize lawmakers who enforce cocaine regulation, it will not be well received. You can make great points, but people really just want to laugh or smirk at satire, and having views challenged just makes anyone salty.

Racism, sexism and other -isms are really obvious in satire. Some people can pull off being funny by pointing out a possible connection between a real job ad looking for a marketer for a Synagogue and a low hourly wage, if they get the context right. Very few people find you funny by implying Jewish people are straight up bad people, but there are plenty who will go out of their way to avoid your writing in the future.

Writing About Hummingbirds Won’t Cut It

People are just not as invested about most topics as they are about political and social commentary. Most people just plain don’t have a strong opinion on hummingbirds or most topics, actually. Why do you think The Onion does so well?

Yet, even The Onion has bad days, which goes to show there are other, more delicate factors to consider.

There are many other things that make great satire. But it’s very difficult to explain what makes things funny. That’s why in the professional world of satire writing, you either have it or you don’t. And if you don’t, you’re very lucky to get further criticism other than “it’s boring” or “no one cares about hummingbirds that much”. So if your satire is bad, it’s just best to let it die.


Author: writingisforbirds

I am a marketing professional who loves to write. My interests are everything from crafts to social issues to birds to SEO.

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