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Chris Karkowski, a writer for the satirical newspaper The Onion, will present “Minds Behind the Onion,” an interactive slide presentation, 7:30 p.m. today in the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights Council Room.

Sponsored by Lafayette Activities Forum and the McKelvy House Scholars program, the event is free and open to the public.

Founded in 1988 in Madison, Wis., The Onion is led by editor-in-chief Scott Dikkers and publisher Peter Haise. In 1994, The Onion launched local offshoot editions in Milwaukee and Chicago, and by 1995 was distributed nationally through chain bookstores. The Onion has a readership of more than 500,000 people per issue of the regionally and nationally distributed print publications, which is published 46 times annually.

In 1996, The Onion launched its own website,, which is visited by about one million readers each week, producing over six million page views per week. The Onion won the Webby Award for “Best Humor Website” in 1999 and 2000, and the Interactive Achievement Award for “Entertainment Site of the Year” in 2000 as well.

The Onion published its first book, The Onion Presents: Our Dumb Century, on April 1, 1999. The book compiles 165 never-before-seen front pages from The Onion dating from January 1, 1900 to January 1, 2000. Our Dumb Century was a number-one New York Times Best Seller, spending over 20 weeks on the Best Seller List. In 1999, the book earned the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

A second book, The Onion’s Finest News Reporting, Volume One, was released in 2000, spending seven weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List.

In fall 2000, DreamWorks optioned the rights to the Onion article “Canadian Girlfriend Unsubstantiated” to be made into a feature film with Ivan Reitman and Montecito Pictures attached to produce.

In January, The Onion opened a New York office and relocated the humor writing staff to the city. A New York edition is planned for the summer.

The Onion has just signed a first-look film deal with Miramax to develop scripts and feature films.

Categorized in: News and Features