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Chicago-Style Satire — The Chicago Genius Herald

Carolyn Ten Eyck
・4 min read

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Project overview

We're a group of Chicago comedians dedicated to celebrating and lovingly satirizing our great city through articles, videos, cartoons and whatever other multi-media projects we can think up. We've found success on Twitter and Instagram with viral posts riffing on current (and local) events. Our goal has always been to run this outlet as a democratic creative collective, with the sustainable ability to compensate the ridiculously talented comedians, writers and artists of Chicago.

Project team

Beyond our main staff of six, who write, format and photoshop the majority of the site's content, we work with a group of contributors who bring new angles and jokes to our brand. We're always looking for new talent to spotlight and one of the most exciting parts of our Grant for the Web experience has been being able to compensate people fairly.

What we are doing

If you've heard of us, it's probably from a headline or photoshop that did numbers on social media. We love writing jokes above all else, and we're also writing them into forms beyond articles and headlines. Check out our Deep Dish Pizza Restaurant Simulator for an absurdist Choose Your Own Adventure:

https://thechicagogenius.com/pre-covid-deep-dish-pizza-simulator

Or watch one of our videos to get a sense of how we are looking to grow:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdxEaHM6X99rWv9lcU4RzQg

One of the benefits of being a smaller name is our freedom to experiment, and we're doing just that by using our talent pool to showcase all the skills of our team, be it performing, making comics, photoshopping--we're trying it all!

We believe that hyperlocal civic-based satire and multi-media projects are important beyond just entertainment value. Through our work, we're able to keep our audience informed about local events, engaging them in ways traditional media can't. Our goal is never to trick our readers into seeing our stories as fact-based. Rather, exposure to satire increases media literacy and promotes healthy skepticism towards news sources. Injecting more overt absurdity into routine political or bureaucratic happenings reveals the absurdity already present within our institutions, and provides a valuable lens to question the systems that shape so many aspects of our lives.

How community support benefits our project

To continue growing and retaining our pool of contributors, it's important that we're able to keep compensating them fairly. We're all writers, and are familiar with the low rates that come with many comedy-writing gigs (exposure really doesn't count as payment). Growing our audience in a number of ways will help us along the way towards being able to benefit from advertising money and eventually make our website profitable.

Sometimes seemingly arbitrary numbers can get in the way of a website's success. On Instagram, for example, accounts with under 10,000 followers (we currently clock it at around 1,800) are unable to share links in their posts. This means that though most of our Instagram posts get high levels of engagement, none of that translates into website views. Continuing to grow our website on social media platforms, through your help, will get us closer to reaching these thresholds and opening up doors.

We also have a bimonthly newsletter giving our readers content round-ups as well as new-letter specific jokes and looks behind the scenes. If our website sounds interesting, we encourage you to sign up through our home page to get the inside scoop!

Link Round Up!

Check us out on social media, where you'll get topical memes, videos, and other things you won't find on our main site!

https://twitter.com/chicago_genius
https://www.instagram.com/chicagogenius/

You can support us and other great satire sites like Reductress and The Hard Times financially on Coil:

https://coil.com/?ref=chicagogenius4581

And here's our main site, which is Coil-enabled. There, you'll find two year's worth of Chicago jokes:

https://thechicagogenius.com/

Other projects we love

We want to shout out some of the other Grant for the Web comedy projects!

Widget has a great theme-based approach, and their priority of fair rates for writers is something all of us in "the biz" should be emulating.

https://widgetmag.com/

Ladyspike Media's platform is refreshing in a lot of ways and we love their interviews and method of showcasing talent, in addition to their great jokes.

https://www.ladyspikemedia.com/

Discussion (1)

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scallemang profile image
Sam

Thanks for the shout-out!!