Interview in The Millions! by Caitlin Kunkel

The awesome writer Julie Vick interviewed me for the VERY GOOD website The Millions. I love the title they chose, and it was cool to talk about my journey as a writer and process with Julie. Read it below!

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TM: I often think of humor writing as nonfiction (which some is), but satire lives more in the realm of fiction. Do you think of yourself as a nonfiction or fiction writer or a little of both?

CK: That’s a very interesting question. I almost never write myself into my satire pieces, but I write topical a lot, which means there’s a decent amount of research and facts in a lot of my pieces. We did this for the book as well, especially when we did things like write a parody of a “My Day” column by Eleanor Roosevelt, and when we wrote about Pierre and Marie Curie for the Historical section. I think the fictional part comes in in terms of the creativity of the format— here’s a piece I wrote on Brock Turner in 2016 using math word problems—and the nonfiction element is responsibly using facts to create your satirical point of view on a topic. If asked, I would say I’m a satirist, but that definition to me (and I stress this when I teach as well) does include accurate research and employing facts in service of your piece.

The Very First Satire & Humor Festival! by Caitlin Kunkel

I co-founded the festival with my pals and great writers/producers James Folta and Tulio Espinoza, and it’s this weekend March 22-24 in NYC! Please read an interview with us for Vulture on why we founded the festival, check out tickets and events on the festival site here, and come have some fun with us (and get some merch!).

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On Sunday, I’ll be moderating this panel on writing, selling, and promoting the humor book with a great panel of authors, agents, booksellers, and more. It’s at Magnet Theater, and you can buy a ticket here. If you can’t make it this year, then plan to come in 2020 - we’re hoping to make this an annual thing!

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New Erotica for Feminists Named a Best Comedy Book of 2018 by Vulture! by Caitlin Kunkel

WOW A LOT HAS HAPPENED! All the book press can be found on the book site here, but this was so major for us - we’re number 4 with a LOT of people we respect on this great list!

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The Belladonna is the new Onion, a combination humor/fake news/lifestyle parody site from a sharp, female and/or feminist point of view that delivers precise, critical blows to toxic masculinity, the dumbass patriarchy, and dumbassery in general. In that spirit, Belladonna editors Caitlin Kunkel, Brooke Preston, Fiona Taylor, and Carrie Wittmer wrote a piece for McSweeney’s that rightfully went viral for its relatability and hilarity: “New Erotica for Feminists,” in which women’s constantly unfulfilled wish for equality and decency and to not be treated like sex objects is expressed via short erotic stories, like a paragraph from a romance novel, or a letter to Penthouse. Well, they turned the idea into a whole book of inspiring and vital “erotica.” For example, when Juliet dumps Romeo because their relationship is clearly toxic, or a fantasy about Tom Hardy filling one’s fridge with LaCroix and then playing with a rescue dog.

Great Write Up on New Erotica for Feminists in Johns Hopkins Magazine by Caitlin Kunkel

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Beyond the excellent title, which I want on my gravestone, this piece by Bret McCabe hits on a lot of what we are trying to do with this book. I especially liked this excerpt:

New Erotica for Feminists operates in a similarly heady, if less autobiographical, register as Nanette, the Netflix special in which Tasmanian comedian Hannah Gadsby dissects the form and content of standup comedy to burn a hole through the dismissive, misogynistic, and abusive cultural attitudes that underlie certain jokes. Kunkel and her co-authors are taking a genre—that niche of ostensibly sexually arousing material—and using humor to spotlight the political and cultural norms that prop it up. It’s not the preposterous scenarios of erotica—those ridiculous encounters from a guy’s perspective involving a co-worker, a delivery man, a plumber, whatever, that lead to sex—that are problematic. Everything that centers heteronormative maleness at the expense of everybody else is.