It’s like an Onion headline come to life: With Nothing More to Accomplish, Billionaire Tech Mogul Who Just Shot a Car Into Space Starts Satirical Newspaper.
Elon Musk—the man who launched an electric car to Mars last month and plans to build a high-speed electric pod-based underground mass transit system—poached six staffers from the Chicago-based media company the Onion with plans to create a comedy project of some kind.
“It’s pretty obvious that comedy is the next frontier after electric vehicles, space exploration, and brain-computer interfaces,” Musk told the Daily Beast. “Don’t know how anyone’s not seeing this.”
On Wednesday, Musk tweeted that the name of what he called his new intergalactic media empire would be Thud! (“exclamation mark optional” he clarified later). That’s if you can take what the Tesla and Space X CEO says on Twitter seriously. Last year, he also tweeted a joke about how chemtrails were actually “a message from time-traveling aliens describing the secret of teleportation.”
That’s the name of my new intergalactic media empire, exclamation point optional
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 14, 2018
Musk initially wanted to buy the Onion back in 2014 according to a report published on Tuesday by the Daily Beast, but the deal fell through—potentially because Musk wasn’t interested in the A.V. Club, the Onion’s pop-culture-obsessed sister site (disclosure: I was a regular freelancer for the A.V. Club). The Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications ended up buying the entire company in early 2016—including the Onion, the A.V. Club, the satirical website ClickHole, and various book and video projects.
But Musk was still determined to enter the comedy world—even while setting his sights on, well, Mars colonization. Last last year, he hired former Onion editor in chief Cole Bolton and executive editor Ben Berkley as well as two senior writers, a copy editor, and one additional staff writer, according to a source at the Onion who asked to remain anonymous. The source noted that all the staffers hired were “married to the idea of the print edition of the Onion,” which may indicate that there will be a print component to Musk’s project.
In the meantime, the Onion is having some fun with all of the headlines involving it and Musk. It published a fake editorial from Musk in Clickhole entitled “I Did Everything I Could To Buy ClickHole, But Their Editorial Integrity Won Out Over My Billion-Dollar Offers, And I Respect Them Even More For That (By Elon Musk).”
UPDATE: The Onion published a story this afternoon with the headline: “Elon Musk Embarrassed After Realizing He Proposing Idea For A Thing That Already Exists.” Musk quickly responded on Twitter with “Oh you guys. Your cruel taunts cut me deep. Deep. But, I love you.”
Your cruel taunts cut me deep. Deep. But, I love you too.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 15, 2018
If Musk is right and we’re all living in a computer simulation, maybe this could be proof.