SHARE
Babylon Bee Editor-in-Chief Kyle Mann speaks on humor on Sept. 8
Courtesy | Kyle Mann

Humor in the news is more important than ever, said Kyle Mann, editor-in-chief of the Babylon Bee in a speech to Hillsdale stu­dents on Sept. 8.

“Satire is prophetic,”  Mann said. “It simply takes people’s beliefs to their next logical con­clusion. When you look at the worldview of pro­gres­sives, their entire worldview demands that they progress, that they keep pushing…so if we’re taking their current beliefs and pushing them to the next logical con­clusion. Well guess what, they’re going to inevitably fulfill our satire almost each and every day.”

The Babylon Bee is a satirical, Christian news source founded in 2016. It is often com­pared to The Onion, a satirical news pub­li­cation founded in 1988.

In the speech, Mann focused on the power humor has to “help people see that they’re not alone in the world.”

“The blessing side of it is really that, because we have all these targets, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit to make fun of,” Mann said. 

Mann touched on the pol­itics of the Bee itself, and the “void” that it fills in the world of comedy.

“How did nobody think of cre­ating some­thing similar to The Onion, com­menting on the head­lines and news of the day with satire, in a way that doesn’t nec­es­sarily hate the right?” Mann asked. “We’ll make fun of con­ser­v­a­tives, but it’s done in a way where it’s clear that it’s coming from within the movement.”

Mann showed slides of popular Babylon Bee head­lines, most of which were met with resounding laughter from the crowd. He showed one of his favorites from the beginning of quar­antine, which read: “Inspiring: Celebrities Spell Out ‘We’re All In This Together’ With Their Yachts.”

Mann went on to describe the left’s current inability to make good jokes about pol­itics due to the seem­ingly per­manent effects of the Trump administration. 

“They saw it as a drama, this serious drama where they were these freedom fighters,” Mann said. “And so, they were unable to tell a funny joke because they were taking it so seriously.”

Mann circled back to his points on modern news stories being so close to satire, and explained the role the Bee helps to play in such an already comedic news cycle. 

“When people are able to consume news and infor­mation with this layer of comedy and satire, it helps them to kind of avoid the anxiety in the stress that comes with con­suming news,” Mann said.

Mann also dis­cussed the neg­ative responses the Bee receives, including its initial problems with demon­e­ti­zation, and the many times its stories have been “fact-checked” by snopes.com. 

In fact, the Bee was threatened with demon­e­ti­zation at the same time in which Mann quit his pre­vious con­struction sales job. 

“I got a notice on my phone that our Facebook page is going to be deplat­formed and demon­e­tized because we com­mitted the sin of sharing fake news and mis­in­for­mation,” Mann recounted.

The headline which brought the pub­li­cation its initial pushback read: “CNN pur­chases indus­trial-sized washing machine to spin news.” Mann then shared a handful of other articles which were fact-checked. He said this pushback only encourages the Bee staff to con­tinue joking. 

“I mean, who’s a better target for a joke than someone that’s sitting there glaring and saying ‘you can’t joke?’” Mann said.

Mann ended his speech with a call to action for young con­ser­v­a­tives everywhere. 

“There is so much of a hunger and thirst for this kind of content,” Mann said. “Whatever God has called you to do, whatever you have been gifted in, let’s go out and create that kind of content.”

“I had never heard of the Babylon Bee, so it was all new for me,” freshman Jack Walker said. “I was thor­oughly enter­tained though. It seems like they’re doing some­thing very good for a market that is starved.”

John J. Miller, director of the Dow Jour­nalism Program, was also pleased with the event. 

“Kyle Mann writes great jokes, but he also has a strong under­standing of what satire can accom­plish,” Miller said. “He quoted G.K. Chesterton: ‘Humor can get under the door while seri­ousness is still fum­bling at the handle.’ He has thought deeply about these things and it was great to see him share his ideas.”