Story by Kelsey Bungenstock
Featured photo courtesy of Jared Koshiol
There’s no arguing that when it comes to current politics, America is divided. With the constant debate and discourse from both sides, some may find it difficult to see the fun that may come from them. However, after President Donald Trump sent out a tweet with a confusing typo, social media users sure did try.
If you’re not familiar with the infamous ‘covfefe’ tweet at this point, you haven’t been online this week. Though the original tweet was eventually deleted, Cincinnati-area resident Jared Koshiol caught it as he scrolled through Twitter at 3 a.m.
His first reaction was bemusement at the President tweeting a typo. However, just as this small blunder snowballed into the latest meme fodder, Koshiol took what was supposed to be a simple goof and turned it into an opportunity.
Koshiol is no stranger to poking fun at life. In his free time, he runs a prank blog, ShenaniganOfTheWeek.com. As one of his latest shenanigans, he started a petition to have the city of Covington, Kentucky change its name to ‘Covfefe’.
An excerpt from the Change.org page states, “Since its inception, Covington has always strived to honor the presidents of this great USA […] but today we are presented with the opportunity to honor the words of the president and the 40,000 people of Covington by changing its name to “Covfefe”, president Donald J Trump’s newest catchphrase. This new name will allow us to honor the legacy of the 45th leader of the free world and make (what was formerly known as) Covington into the bigly-est and most beautiful must-see place from sea to shining sea.”
River City News caught onto the petition when it had just 18 signatures. After publishing a story of their own, the story got some momentum and as of now, the petition has nearly 180 signatures.
“I guess the word looked like Covington to me when I glanced at it real quick, perhaps a dyslexic moment,” Koshiol commented, when asked about his inspiration behind the petition. “And then from there I thought it would be funny to involve the local community into a national story about ‘Covfefe’.”
With part of his degree focusing on Public Relations, Koshiol decided to turn this joke into a fun exercise. His goal was to see if he could turn a goofy little petition into, in his own words, ‘a thing’. And boy, did he.
With news that President Trump will be paying the Queen City a visit on Wednesday, Koshiol has dedicated himself to spreading the petition even further, with pleasing results. Coverage of the petition includes publications from Fox 19, Cincinnati.com and DeviantWorld.com, as well as an on-air segment from Fox 19. Koshiol had also been told WVXU’s NPR briefly discussed it, but soundclips haven’t surfaced as of yet.
Another one of Koshiol’s motives behind the petition was to “rustle some jimmies” within the community.
Political comedy and satire isn’t a new concept, but there has been debate as of late on when a joke goes too far. While some may find jokes at the president’s expense to be disrespectful, Koshiol would have to disagree.
“There is always a place for humor in politics! Politics are about people, and people need laughter! Much of [political humor] is just speaking truth to power, I think, and the other part of it is often just a good chance for a joke to make a situation less tense.”
Koshiol cites the funniest responses to the petition are from “elderly Facebook users” who “sincerely insist the idea is stupid and clearly miss the joke”. Despite the criticism, he gets a kick out of the hilarious responses from those who have signed the petition.
One anonymous user even went as far as to change the name of Covington City Hall on Google Maps to “Covfefe City Hall” on June 2, though it was eventually changed back around midnight that night.
“I just want to Make America Laugh Again. Laughter brings people together, walls tear people apart,” Koshiol said.
Cincinnati Culture has reached out to Covington City Hall for comments, but has yet to receive a response.