Satire is one of the most difficult forms of humor to master, because it is subtle, topical, and specific. In order to write successful satire, a writer must be knowledgeable about current events. She should also be willing to embrace controversy without going too far.
Satire is the use of humor to critique an individual, group or situation. It is most commonly associated with political and social topics. There are many different methods for writing satire, and successful modern satirists, such as the writers of The Onion or The Daily Show, usually employ a variety of tactics. Satire may involve directly addressing the "elephant in the room" and saying what everyone else is thinking. It can also involve comical overstatements or the use of irony.
To write a satirical piece, the writer must first have a strong grasp of the issue at hand. Then she must decide the funniest way to approach the topic which works in context and makes sense to the audience. Satirists avoid being unnecessarily vicious or negative, though they often highlight controversial aspects of the topic. They usually approach important details as if they are frivolous, and vice versa.
It is important for satirists to avoid libel lawsuits by targeting only public figures and using facts to back up their humor. It's essential to make sure the audience understands that the satirist is lampooning the truth, which is why context is important.