This Twitter account wants to be ‘The Onion’ of Philadelphia

PhillySnark has hilarious takes on the ridiculousness of everyday life in this city.

Perfect use for old tokens: the SEPTA Arcade

Perfect use for old tokens: the SEPTA Arcade

Courtesy Michael Hanisco
michaelawinberg-square-crop-feb2018

So far, the soda tax hasn’t brought in quite as much money as Mayor Jim Kenney first anticipated. In March, the city announced the revenue from the sugary beverage tax — slated to fund the repair of public libraries, parks and recreation centers — fell 15 percent short.

How might the city come up with the rest of the money? One Twitter user suggests taxing people each time they chant for the Eagles.

We know what you’re thinking: This looks kinda official — but it can’t possibly be serious.

You’re right. It’s not serious. @PhillySnark is a parody account. Michael Hanisco is a 29-year-old Bella Vista resident who works in nonprofit communications. On the side, he delivers satire of Philadelphia so poignant you know he has to be from here.

There’s the one that claimed Wawa was selling a citywide special on its secret menu.

And the one that revived the SEPTA token.

Can’t forget this Philly construction-themed burn.

Jim Gardner without a mustache. Indego dirt bikes. Protected car lanes. Awareness logs.

How does Hanisco come up with this stuff? He keeps a running list of ridiculous Philadelphia news — to which he adds line items quite frequently. He pairs his best jokes with whatever he can accomplish in Photoshop, and voila.

“Sometimes the news stories seem to satirize themselves,” Hanisco said.

He first secured the @PhillySnark handle in July 2017 — but back then, he didn’t use it much. He’s been busy finding a new job and moving twice. He didn’t have the time to make fun of Philly with the care it deserves.

Last week, Hanisco revisited the account, and he decided he ought to post to it once every day. Since then, he’s gained about 100 followers.

The dream, Hanisco said, is to turn this account into a Philly local version of The Onion. In the meantime, he’ll work on building his fanbase and creating a website to host his content.

“I’ll continue going after stories about the ridiculousness of everyday life in Philadelphia,” Hanisco said.

At its core, his motivation is pure. As a born-and-raised Philadelphian, Hanisco wants to help make the city better. He hopes he can do that by poking fun at Philly news — making it even more absurd than it often already is.

“We all want the same things: better transit, better roads, for our leaders to be honest,” Hanisco said. “Satire punches up. We want to challenge people to be better.”

And the account is not fake news, he insists. In fact, Hanisco used to be a journalist with the now-defunct Spirit News. He didn’t make the account to trick people.

“I’m presenting this with a wink,” he said. “If you’re winking back at me as a reader, that’s awesome.”

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