Readers in search of a laugh may soon have to look elsewhere. This week researchers at Carleton University published a study that proves what many have suspected for years: that the golden era of satire news is dead. The study, which was conducted over six months, asked 112 participants to rate various comedic media from “hilarious” (ie. Bill Cosby in The Cosby Show) to “appalling” (ie. Bill Cosby in real life).
Of the comedy formats that were judged, satire news articles came in last, scoring slightly less than prop humour and wedding speeches. Conversely, researchers found that new forms such as $5 comedy specials scored very well, and classics such as “videos of people doing stupid things and getting hurt” remained popular.
Many people are not surprised in the slightest by the rankings. Audiences will always laugh at videos of a cat acting like a person or a song full of puns, but fake news will continue to struggle to be not unbelievable enough. Furthermore, satirical news sites have a long history of causing outrage and angering their readers. When asked for a statement, an editor at Ottawhat? News stated “That’s a terrible idea for an article,” adding, “Don’t write that up, Keegan.”