Write It Humor
Write It Home
Chat With Fellow Writers
Publish Your Work
Build Your Portfolio
Teacher Center
Educator Resources and Community Subscribe to classroom magazines
Humor from Satire

One of the most popular kinds of humor amongst teenage writers is satire. Satire is a literary form that uses sarcasm and sharp wit to attack something the author deems foolish. What makes satire different from other types of humor is that it can be truly mean-spirited. Often, the satirical writer is not just trying to mock the subject; he is trying to destroy it. For obvious reasons, teenagers make excellent satirists.

Take, for instance, Alexandra Petri’s fake newspaper story “Colleges Examining.” In her story, Alexandra attacks the Ivy League admissions process. Notice how she employs a tongue-in-cheek journalistic voice in order to expose the absurdity of applying to college.

New Haven, CT, November 15, 2003 — Spokespeople from major Ivy League colleges announced today that they plan to look at “new criteria” when evaluating students for admission.

“SAT scores are all very well,” said press secretary Linda Beckner, “but we’ve been getting a lot of very convincing results from studies across the country, saying that the real indicator of how a student is going to perform in college and in life is his or her behavior in the kindergarten years.”

Read Alexandra Petri’s “Colleges Examining.”

The most common form of satire is political satire, such as the satirical cartoons and poems found in magazines and newspapers each day. An outstanding example of political satire, Brendan Drischler’s humorous poem tells the story of a mischievous elf, Pringle, who tries to get Santa Claus detained at the U.S. Border as a possible terrorist.

“Pringle thought hard and harder
‘Something drastic’s in order!
I know! I’ll get Santa delayed
At the U.S. Customs border!’

Pringle snuck very sneakily
To where the sleigh was kept
A plot to stop Christmas
While all the children slept!

From his pocket Pringle produced
Some clippers for fingernails
He slipped them under Santa’s seat
So Christmas would fail”

Read Brendan Drischlers’ “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t But Then, at the Last Moment, Was.”

Your Turn

Satires are usually playful in form and tone. But don’t be deceived! Satires are anything but playful in the end. Behind satirical humor resides a strong political conviction or belief. Satire makes a specific point by attacking its subject with humor.

Make a list of political or social issues about which you feel strongly. Choose your subject and attack it with humor.



Need More Inspiration

Ready For The Next Step