Episode Information

CMS: Speaking on Snark
Share this Content

In this episode:

From Groucho Marx to Steven Colbert, snark is a mainstay of American humor.


Episode Audio

49:28 minutes (23.75 MB)
Download this Episode

Lewis Carroll may have been the first to coin the term "snark" in his late 19th-century nonsense poem, "The Hunting of the Snark."

What is snark? It's what Americans regularly see on The Daily Show and The Office. It's what Ambrose Bierce wrote about in his watershed 1911 satire, The Devil's Dictionary. For better or worse, snark is an integral part of our comic heritage, and it's not going away anytime soon.

Authors Lawrence Dorfman (The Snark Handbook) and Gina Barreca (It's Not That I'm Bitter ...) join us to discuss the joys of snarking. We'll talk about what makes good snark and what makes bad snark. And how is snark becoming more and more a part of our daily pop culture?

Join the conversation. Do you have a favorite snarky line? Enjoy a certain degree of rudeness in your comedy or is snark just downright disrespectful? Comment below or e-mail [email protected].

Related Content:

Listener E-mail from Karl

On how mean one can be and still be snarky:

Akin to what Gina said ("Snark is smart, truthful, insightful mockery."), the more truthful the basis of the wisecrack, the more vicious it can be.

For that reason, Maureen Dowd's reputation will be used up any week now.
Her predictable joke about Every. Single. Male. Democrat. to come along ("He is too feminine-hahaha") has been detached from reality for about a decade ago.

Listener E-mail from Ann

The person who said, to the effect, If you don't have something nice to say, sit by me, was Alice Roosevelt Longworth, NOT Eleanor Roosevelt. Big difference.