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Release: Aug. 28, 2002

Snooty East Coast Humor Magazine Editor Deigns To Speak

Robert Siegel, editor in chief of the satirical magazine The Onion, will discuss whatever drivel he manages to jot down on the back of the barf bag during his flight from New York when he kicks off the University of Iowa's 2002-03 Lecture Committee series on Monday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. in the second floor ballroom in the Iowa Memorial Union.

"Remember to remind everyone that they get what they pay for," he said. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Actually, Siegel will discuss the people and processes that lead to the creation of America's funniest magazine in his lecture, "The Minds Behind The Onion." Siegel will look back at the origins and history of the magazine as it went from a Madison, Wis.-based alternative weekly to a national forum for satire and parody. He will also provide a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day routine at the magazine, as well as discuss his favorite articles and how they were written.

Siegel joined The Onion's staff in 1994 and has been editor since 1996. He failed at a variety of other jobs before joining the magazine, including stand-up comedian, substitute teacher, museum docent and office temp. He was also named one of People magazine's 100 most eligible bachelors in 2000.

With a half-million readers online (, more than 350,000 readers of the print edition, and millions of listeners to "The Onion Radio News" (broadcast on 72 stations nationwide), The Onion has been called "the most popular humor periodical in world history" by The New Yorker. The paper recently made headlines when a satirical story it published about U.S. Congressional representatives demanding a new Capitol to replace the current aging building was mistakenly reported as legitimate news by a Chinese newspaper.

The newspaper has also published three best-selling books, "Our Dumb Century," "Dispatches from the Tenth Circle," and "The Onion's Finest News Reporting," which won the 1999 Thurber Prize for Humor.

The UI Lecture Committee enhances the learning environment with a series of lectures by prominent guest speakers for the university's diverse community. Speakers deliver presentations in a forum that facilitates audience participation and encourages an exchange of ideas and opinions. All of the committee's lectures are free and open to the public.