Last week, a friend e-mailed me a link to the news that The Onion A.V. Club was looking to hire contributing writers. All they asked was for interested candidates to write a sample story and send it in. I figured, What the hell? Why not? Then I procrastinated for a week before throwing something together an hour before samples were due. I’m sure I won’t get a call-back, but I had fun writing this, so rather than just let it die in The Onion‘s slush pile, I figured I’d post it here for y’all’s reading pleasure. As you’ll see, I went kind of meta with the whole thing. Enjoy!
Onion Search for Contributors Leads to Much Hand-Wringing, Few Actual Applicants
By Justin Goldman
Underemployed humor writers across America were sent into extended paroxysms of hope last week, when The Onion’s A.V. Club announced it would be looking for contributors.
The consequences of the announcement were devastating. Internet connections slowed to a glacial pace in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Portland, and parts of Chicago and Los Angeles, as underemployed writers and comedians logged on to their neighbors’ un-password protected networks to send in their faux news stories.
“Goddammit,” said James Hertzfeldt of Silverlake, Los Angeles. “I wish the guy in 4B would get a better router already. Cheap bastard.”
Baristas across America found themselves overwhelmed, as self-described writers went back to the counter for second rounds of double and triple espressos, “fuel” for writing the sample stories that would get them their long pined-for, high-prestige, low-wage positions.
“I mean, sure, it hardly pays anything, and I still won’t be able to make my rent next month,” said Jerry Caldwell of Bushwick, Brooklyn. “But how awesome would it be to tell people at parties that I write for The Onion?”
The announcement was devastating for bars and pubs in the “hip” neighborhoods of America’s major cities, as the usual Saturday morning and early afternoon patrons streamed back to their closet-sized apartments to dash off witty takes on current events.
“This is it,” cried Carlos Alvarado as he stumbled, already three Bloody Marys deep, from the patio of Zeitgeist, a popular bar in San Francisco’s Mission District. “I hope I can find my laptop.”
The frenzy of typing and e-mailing continued unabated until Sunday evening, when hopeful writers took a collective break to go to the houses of their employed, cable subscriber friends to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones. Though the submission deadline was set for Tuesday, as of Monday evening, the wave of productivity appeared to have slackened, and editors at The Onion expressed surprise at the paucity of applications they had received.
“I really don’t get it,” said Managing Editor Sarah Sanderson. “This is a great opportunity. And we gave people plenty of time to get their applications in.”
“What?” said Steve Grisman of Wicker Park, Chicago, when asked if he’d finished his application. “Eh, fuck it. Nobody’s gonna get that shit anyway.” He passed a joint to a friend of his who introduced himself as “Fraggle.”
“Did you see Thrones last night?” Fraggle said. “Dragons are sick, yo.”