Jermaine Affonso is the editor of ClickHole, The Onion‘s spinoff site that sharply parodies Internet clickbait and has become a massive destination of its own. We asked him how he stays creative and focused to keep the on-point, offbeat satire coming. Here’s what he said:
I find that deadlines are pretty much the best way to guarantee I’ll ever actually sit down and come up with any ideas. Beyond that, it helps to have a talented team of writers that I can slave-drive into coming up with ideas that I can shamelessly take credit for.
At this point, there’s basically no gap between me opening my eyes in the morning and me staring into my iPhone screen.
I think people are sometimes surprised how much of a well-oiled machine my workplace is. People hear you’re working for The Onion and ClickHole and assume a lot of lax, fun goofing off (and there’s plenty of that), but the place runs because of tight deadlines and a very rigid editorial process.
At this point, I don’t use social media for any individual accounts, but instead as a way to see what people are talking about and what’s generally in the zeitgeist.
Whenever a news story breaks, you can see pretty quickly that people across social media sites tend to start forming one single opinion on something, and start to coalesce around one or two general comedic takes. When we’re looking at our jokes as a room, it’s good to know what angles have already been played out, so we can avoid them at all costs and keep our stuff feeling original.
Honestly, we have such a good organizing system at ClickHole and The Onion that I never have to remember how to do anything. Our coordinators are magical wizards or something. Every morning I look at a convenient Google doc that lists the things that are waiting for me to edit, which is helpful because I’m not very organized and have never kept any sort of to-do list.
Ok, so out of everyone in the world–authors, humanitarians, entrepreneurs, innovators, Elon Musk, scientists curing AIDS right this second–I’m going to say Kanye West. I know, I hate me too.