On Writing Satire

At the core of every person, deep down, below all the fabricated aspects of our existence, is emptiness. There is loneliness and distance from every other person. We do so much to distract ourselves from that inevitable truth. We socialize, we browse the Internet, or we self-medicate. My favorite, and what I find to be the most useful, way to cope is through comedy.

Comedy gets us out of our heads. It allows us to look from the outside in, especially self-deprecating humor. A big tenet of comedy is analysis, but in a way that points out the absurdity of life. Comedians tend to be some of the most intelligent people.

In writing comedy, I find a big release. Instead of dwelling on the pointlessness of my own existence, I’m able to laugh at it. I’m able to joke about the silly things I, or other people, do. It’s not cynical, in fact, if done right, it’s the opposite of cynical.

I’ve been working on a lot of comedy through satire. I write for the blog Democratic Rochester, a mock-news site for the city of Rochester. What I typically do is find something that is just so stupid or ridiculous about the city, and instead of complaining, I joke about it.

There are two layers to satire. You can complain in a lighthearted, funny way, but that’s not satire. We, as satirists, go a step farther. We create a situation that mimics reality, but is not reality. It is just barely distanced enough from reality to point out the absurdity. Sometimes it’s hard to walk that line. It can be tricky not to offend some people (impossible at times), but satire makes change happen and lightens the mood in the face of despair.


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