Political satire[ edit ] In the late s, Borowitz began e-mailing humorous news parodies to friends. In , he founded The Borowitz Report, a site that posts one word news satire every weekday. The site led to greater fame and widespread attention for Borowitz as a political satirist. The Wall Street Journal devoted a page-one story to him and his site in and readership ultimately grew to the millions. It is also one of the longest-running features at the Newsweek website.
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Save Story Save this story for later. In the fall of , Andy Borowitz, the humorist and New Yorker contributor, unexpectedly found himself in the hospital for emergency abdominal surgery. Over a matter of days, he was shocked to observe his condition become life-threatening. The experience prompted Borowitz, whose work is typically reticent about his private life, to publish his first autobiographical essay. What led you to choose the Kindle Single format for this story?
About six months after I got out of the hospital, I performed a live ten-minute version of the story. The performance was posted on YouTube and went viral. A friend of mine, the writer Gretchen Rubin, said to me that when she posted the link to my performance on her blog she got a huge response from her readers, and she recommended that I write the story up as a Kindle Single. And, as someone who can never resist an assignment that seems to involve little or no work, I took her up on it.
Once I started writing the Single, though, I realized that what worked as a live performance would have to be changed significantly to work on the page. So I was in for a little more effort than I bargained for. What were some of the challenges for you in writing nonfiction?
The biggest challenge of this piece was that it was a new genre for me: I never write anything autobiographical. I never write anything factual, for that matter—I always make everything up.
But this story was an example of the truth being more interesting and bizarre than anything I could have invented. Even as I was experiencing it, I was aware of how surreal everything was. So I just had to try to capture it as accurately as I could. One way I tried to do that was by telling the story in the present tense. Events came at me very fast and I wanted to recreate that sense of immediacy and velocity. When you found yourself in a similar situation, to whom or what did you turn for distraction, or peace?
My son, who was thirteen at the time, did the sweetest thing for me: he sent me YouTube links to clips from the debates Barack Obama had against Alan Keyes when the two men were running for U. Keyes would say one idiotic thing after another and Obama could barely keep a straight face. My son correctly thought that I would find this entertaining.
Not Funny: Andy Borowitz’s Hospital Nightmare