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I need help finding a satire

It can be from any of these:

television shows
humor magazines
comic strips
political cartoons
any other appropriate source


The political cartoon in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times is always pithy and satirical. Also, check out Monty Python--anything at all!

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13 Answers

A satire is, "a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn." Basically, you are looking for a work that makes fun of human behavior. The ideas in the previous comments are great, but it's important to remember that there is a difference between satire and parody. Satire makes fun of human behaviors and absurdity, while parody makes fun of a specific work. For example, Saturday Night Live often parodies movies and commercials.


Hi, Amy!  Great suggestions, Ella!

Two of my favorites from the movies are Office Space (satirizing corporate America, a satire which, sadly, I can really appreciate) and Austin Powers (satirizing James Bond, the proud British people, and spies the world over).

One of my favorite sources of satire from classic literature (I am an English teacher, after all) is the hilarious play The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.  It's over a hundred years old, but still as funny as the day it was written, in my humble opinion!

I hope this helps!  Thanks for posing the question, Amy!


But how do I find the satire? The satire will be the whole show or a part of the show?

Finding the satire will hinge on what you identify as the target of criticizm and ridicule. Keep in mind, although satire (as a genre) employs irony and wit as a weapon its purpose is to provide constructive criticism for its target. If the target is present or reoccurs throughout the tv series or book then the whole tv series/book is satirical. If the target is unique to one episode or chapter then that chapter/episode alone is satirical.



If my response was not sufficiently clear or you would like more assistance with this problem then feel free to email me. :-)

First, any political cartoon is satire.  You can find these in the editorial section of your newspaper.

Second, if you wish to use television as an example, I would use the television show "Mad" on Cartoon network.

My main recommendation, however would be the website "How it Should Have Ended," which points out major plot flaws in movies.  They point out how much shorter the Lord of the Rings movies would have been if they had just ridden the great eagles to Mordor.  Content is G/PG rated.

I would suggest a number of British satire programs, particularly "Have I Got News For You" and "Mock the Week" from television (you can find them on YouTube), and "The News Quiz" on BBC Radio 4 (this latter is available as a podcast on iTunes, look for "Friday Night Comedy" from BBC Radio 4). There may be occasional strong language, but typically all three are quite clean. They will deal with both British and international subjects, so it won't be entirely alien to you - America comes up quite a lot and all three of these are very funny.

I would not necessarily look to Monty Python for satire - although they were occasionally satirical (certainly in "The Meaning of Life" and "The Life of Brian"), more often they were surrealist, following in the tradition of "The Goon Show", a 1950s radio comedy in which Peter Sellers got his start.

An excellent book on the British satire tradition was published in 2000: it is called A Great Silly Grin: The British Satire Boom of the 1960s, by Humphrey Carpenter. 

Satire has deep roots, you might also consult works on Classical satire, found in writers like Petronius, Juvenal, and Lucian. One such book on my shelves is Roman Satire: Its Outlook on Social Life, by J. Wight Duff (University of California Press, 1936). Or read these writers in translation: Lucian is still funny, and the translation of Apuleius' The Golden Ass (as in donkey!) by Robert Graves is an excellent read in any language.

Another commenter suggested Mark Twain, and of course he is excellent. Some of his satirical short stories will be particularly useful to you. 

Good luck!

Other people have mentioned two of my favorites, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and the Daily Show. Another one, that I have taught as an example of satire, is the short story "Harrison Bergeron," by Kurt Vonnegut.

The Taming of the Shrew is a great example of satire in a play. Huckleberry Finn, certainly an easily recognized classic, could be an interesting subject.  A more modern example can be found on youtube, and is called Man in the Box. Political cartoons are great examples of satire as well. Looking into historical satire is an adventure in itself and can be very interesting. One of my favorites examples of satire would be the cartoon series Bloom County. I can almost guarantee you that delving into that comic strip will make you a fan of satire. The character Binkley's anxiety closet monster is a perfect example.

If you want to have some fun, try "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" which speaks to everything from English customs to mythology. Completely over the top and very easy to spot the satire. If you are looking for something a little more classic in nature, there are many books that would work. Try Candide.

I agree with Richard, "Catch 22" is a great book, but... If you want something shorter read Jonathan Swift's"A Modest Proposal." One of the most famous satires ever written in the English language. In it Swift proposes that the British eat Irish babies as an added food source ,and to control the population! (Among other things.) Short and fantastic! Read "Catch 22," Richard is right!

Television provides you with some fabulous choices. You have shows like American Dad, Family Guy ,The Simpsons and great oldies like Roseanne.  I think you will have a lot of fun with this if it is a school project! Best of luck Amy!

Mark Twain is one of the greatest satirical writers there is.  I recommend looking at his short stories, like "Extracts from Adam's Diary" and "Eve's Diary" or even his underrated novella Puddin'head Wilson


I love Puddin head Wilson for Mark Twain's satire.