The Onion is one of the funniest, and ubiquitous sources of fake news around today. But there’s one part of the 21-year-old paper that’s not faux: The A.V. Club, which explores pop culture ephemera, along with music, television, and film reviews in a funny, irreverent manner.
This Christmas, the A.V. Club has released its first book, based on their listicle subsection Inventory, entitled Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Ruined By Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists, a title that really exemplifies the level of obsession the A.V. staff puts into their work. FishbowlNY spoke to A.V. Club editors Josh Modell and Keith Phipps about the book, the paper’s online audience, and plans for the techno-future of The Onion‘s cool culture guide.
FishbowlNY: How did you guys come up with the standard concept for Inventory?
Phipps: We were seeing the same kind of films and music appear on lists everywhere, and the A.V. Club wanted to get a little niche, a little stranger, and give an outlet for our storage of useless knowledge. The first list we ever did we probably wouldn’t do now, but it set the tone for being fairly down the rabbit hole of pop culture, which was a list of songs about people named Kim or Jim. We only did about five of them, and it kind of grew from there.
Modell: I think it was something people responded to… immediately online. People responded quickly and we took that as a challenge to make [the lists] bigger, stranger, and put a twist on each one. We put out ones that are more straight-forward, but we like the ones that come out a little bit strange. So we’d like to add a little twist, instead of “Great Songs About Driving” we’d do “Great Songs About Driving That End Tragically.”