How Can You Parody Buzzfeed?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 11:32 AM

Yesterday, the Onion told the New York Business Journal that it would be producing a parody of sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy called "Clickhole." Sure, those sites are ripe for a takedown, but how do you parody sites that are already basically self-parody? Here are 20 ways that will astound you.

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See what I mean? The vocabulary of these sites is so familiar that the internet has already made them punchlines. Clickbaity headlines have been picked over in thinkpieces and endlessly parodied, sometimes to great effect on the internet. 

Setting that aside, Buzzfeed/Upworthy/Viralnova listicles and articles are already so ridiculous by design that they defy parody. The list from the New York Business Journal article of forthcoming Clickhole stories simply don't sound crazy enough to look out of place on any of these sites:

  • Quizzes like "Which pizza should I have for dinner tonight? (presented by Pizza Hut)"
  • Uplifting personal tales in list forms: "Seven pricks that defied the odds and didn't go into finance."
  • The aww factor: A video titled "What this adorable little girl says will melt your heart." (It's actually a cogent explanation of how brands monetize adorable little kids, as spoken by an adorable little kid.)
  • And finally, photo slide shows with no words: "Six kinds of hay."

All that said, The Onion has managed to get a lot of mileage out of the standard news format, and continues to play with the medium in ways that surprise me (and unsettle) me (link NSFW). So I'm hopeful that it finds its footing. But Clickhole has an uphill battle ahead of it, trying to shame websites that don't have any shame.

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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