Satire” has become a bit of a catch-all term for any kind of fact-based comedy, particularly the late-night riffs on news stories seen on shows like The Daily Show or Full Frontal. Traditionally, satire refers to “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” To be satire, comedy needs to have a critical purpose, not just a humorous one. So, a joke that makes fun of a politician might be humorous, but if it doesn’t make a point about that person, it wouldn’t be true satire. For example, many jokes in The Onion are simply surreal or goofy humor, but when they make an argument about a particular policy to do my paper for cheap or someone’s fitness for office, those jokes rise to satire.

Currently, satire is most popular on TV and social media, but that doesn’t mean that satire can’t be found in essays and articles as well. Many humor columnists like Andy Borowitz have used satire in addition to genial humor in their printed work, and as mentioned The Onion offers a number of satirical articles alongside more purely humorous ones.

But what does it take to write a satirical essay? In this article, we’ll take a look at a few tips and tricks to help you write a great satire.

Before You Begin: Learn about the Topic

The first place you need to start is with the topic itself. You can’t write a great satire without a deep knowledge of the subject you are satirizing. Begin by researching your topic thoroughly and becoming familiar with every part of the topic. If you are satirizing an issue, you will need to read many perspectives on the issue and understand the details of many sides. If your target is a person, you will need to know what that person says, that person’s views, and how other people perceive the person. In other words, in order to succeed in satire, you need to become an expert on the subject you plan to make fun of. The best place to do that is by reviewing high-quality sources, including popular magazines and newspapers and scholarly perspectives, where applicable, in academic journals.

Once you are comfortable with the topic, you will be able to write an outline. A satire generally works best when you pretend as though you were writing an essay making the opposite point you really want to make. Then you add jokes in, to show that you are not being serious and that the reader should understand that the “conclusion” of the satire is actually the opposite of what the reader should think.

For example, if you want to talk about how great cats are versus dogs, you would frame your essay as an essay about how great dogs are while using exaggeration and humor to show that the points you raise are actually false.

Deploy Hyperbole

When you write your essay, you will want to use hyperbole strategically in order to push the reader to think about your points. Hyperbole is not the same as lying, however. Hyperbole is the intentional overstatement of fact for humorous effect. For example, if you are satirizing the length of the Academy Awards ceremony, which often runs much longer than its scheduled three-hour time slot, you might say, “Producers this year have added a second week to the telecast to make room for categories like ‘Best Lack of Makeup in a Period Drama.’” No one reading this would take it literally since everyone knows that the broadcast is not a week long.

Deploy Irony

By far, however, the strongest tool in the satirist’s arsenal is irony. Irony says the opposite of what you mean to great effect, or deploys reversals of expectation to make a point. Ironic language, often paired with sarcasm, can be a devastatingly effective way of puncturing an inflated ego or pointing out the hypocrisy in someone’s position. Irony and sarcasm are often used in spoken comedy, particularly televised satire, and they can be easier to use in that format because tone of voice carries a lot of the weight in distinguishing literal from humorous statements. When you use irony and sarcasm in a written work, you need to deploy it in a way that it is obvious to your audience that the intent is sarcastic. Otherwise, they might take you literally and undermine your point. Beyond this, you must also be careful about overusing sarcasm because too much sarcasm can make your satirical essay seem mean rather than humorous.

Consider Professional Help

Satire doesn’t come naturally to most writers. Indeed, that’s why late-night comedy shows draw from a limited talent pool of truly great satirical writers. If you find that you are having difficulty writing great satire, you might consider whether you should pay someone to write satirical papers and essays for you. If you need help, online websites like have experts who can write original satirical essays on different topics and ideas. These services match you with a writer who can deliver sharp, funny satire, without the kind of groan-inducing cheap shots that can make a satirical essay seem less than sophisticated. Reading how a professional writer might approach your topic satirically can spark new ideas and provide some great insights that can give you a sharper satirical edge in your next essay.