Baratunde Thurston's Headshot

Baratunde Thurston

Comedian, Author, Longtime Digital Director at The Onion - Panelist Blurb

Baratunde Thurston is a Harvard-educated, politically active, technology loving comedian who has been recognized "for changing the political and social landscape one laugh at a time." He co-founded the black political blog Jack and Jill Politics, and served as Director of Digital for The Onion before launching the comedy/technology startup Cultivated Wit. His book, How To Be Black, is a New York Times bestseller.

Named one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business, in 2012 Thurston founded Cultivated Wit, a startup that combines the power of comedy to address complexity with the power of digital to create engaging stories.

His bestselling book, How to Be Black, incorporates "satirical self-help" with a personal memoir and has been called "a practical guidebook for anyone looking to befriend or work with a black person, become the next black president or challenge anyone who says they speak for all black people." He is also the author of three self-published books, including Better than Crying: Poking Fun at Politics, the Press & Pop Culture (2004), Keep Jerry Falwell Away from My Oreo Cookies (2005), and Thank You Congressional Pages (For Being So Damn Sexy!) (2006). He currently writes the monthly back page column for Fast Company. He's also been known to live hate-tweet about the Twilight movies to his 100,000+ Twitter followers.

When Thurston isn't performing stand-up comedy in New York City, he's traveling the world, speaking and advising on the subjects of our digital future and storytelling, satire and democracy, and race and politics. His stage presence has earned him emcee duties at South by Southwest, the National Conference for Media Reform, and Netroots Nation, and he has been featured on various media outlets including NPR, the BBC, CNN, The Boston Globe, The UK Independent, The New York Times, C-SPAN, and ComedyCentral.com.

Raised in Washington D.C., Thurston attended Sidwell Friends School and Harvard University, where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy.