Gift us a good title.
Our ideal title is punchy and sets up the premise of the piece for the reader. It should make the reader interested, set the tone for the piece, and guide expectations. As short humor dogma goes, “Lead us into temptation, and deliver us the premise.”
Make sure you’ve read the site and know what kind of humor we publish.
You don’t have to read everything we’ve ever published (though if you have, get in touch and we’ll send you a sticker and our thanks), but if you’re not already reading PIC, a thorough skim of our stuff should give you a sense of the premises and styles we go for.
Our favorite pieces include subliminal messages hidden in the text.
We love writing that includes difficult-to-decipher word games that drive a reader nearly mad trying to solve them. Fun fact: 70% of PIC’s budget goes towards emergency psychiatric treatments for our editors.
Make sure your premise is clear.
There’s not a lot of room to be coy in short humor. Your premise should be pretty clear to the reader at the top of a piece, and it’s something we look for in submissions.
Include a brief, labeled intermission.
Editors are notoriously weary creatures who require built-in breaks. Your intermission can be about anything really—how your day’s going so far, your weird dream last Saturday—we’re not going to read it. This is our chance to zone out and recharge while you ramble about whatever.
Make a strong formatting choice.
We love to read pieces with a novel format, or that are parodying a unique form. But even if you’re not doing something new, the best pieces make a clear and distinct choice of form. Try a letter, or a series of diary entries, or a survey, or a safety poster, or a contract—anything specific is great!
Pieces that are pitching us ideas for mascots will be rejected without review.
We’ve said it a thousand times, people: we will never, ever have a mascot. Stop sending us pitches for things like “Points the Porcupine” or “Casey the Briefcase That Was Kissed by a Witch and Cursed to Live.”
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While we’re taking a break here from the article, might be a good time to share that this morning I tried something really crazy and put cinnamon in my coffee and it was really good! I couldn’t believe it. I told my friend about it and he was like, “Have you ever even been to a Starbucks?” I said no, why would I go there when I have Folgers at home. He gave me a weird face and changed the subject. Anyway, I think I’ll probably put cinnamon in my coffee again soon, but I’m not going to tell anyone else about it. Just my little secret.
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Make sure your piece isn't unfairly punching down.
In comedy, “punching down” means attacking or criticizing someone in a less powerful position. If your piece is just being cruel to be cruel, it’s probably not going to land for us.
Don’t quote our own private emails back to us.
We’re impressed by your hacking abilities, but re-reading the things we wrote to our romantic partners in college isn’t as interesting as it once was.
Be sure to flag for an editor if your piece proposes new and experimental surgeries.
We’re gonna want to get eyes on any brand-new ways to improve our bodies ASAP. Especially new and improved eyes that don’t fatigue after staring at word after word after word on these godforsaken screens.
Do a quick search to see if there’s anything similar to your premise that’s already been published.
There’s always plenty of room to explore alternate angles or ideas around the same topic or theme without stepping on toes or beating dead horses, but it’s worth double-checking if you’re pitching something that we’ve already seen lots of takes on.
Take a proofreading pass.
Somesmall errors or hiccups are, compeletely understandable—but—if their is eggregious grandmatical and spelling errors in ur piece its distractin 4 us
Make sure any recipes in pieces are tasty.
Sometimes we’ll get submissions that are cookbook or food website parodies that feature recipes. As a savvy reader, you probably know that editors are required to cook any and all recipes featured in submissions. So please make sure they’re tasty! Fun fact: the other 30% of PIC’s budget goes towards emergency food poisoning treatments for our editors.
Gift us weird!
We like weird and silly, so don’t be afraid to send us stuff that may be more out there! Even if a piece isn’t ultimately a fit for us, we’re always more interested in seeing the stranger side of your writing.