In an interview on To the Best of Our Knowledge on Wisconsin Public Radio, author Douglas Copeland referred to a magazine article he had once read that said only 20% of human beings are hard wired to “get” irony. 20%! That leaves 80% of the population taking things at face value. Can this possibly be? I have always assumed that everyone gets irony. But maybe not. I don't get those cartoons in the paper. I don't even try. Maybe I'm not wired for newspaper comics. Maybe other people aren't wired to get irony--to contain opposites in their brains at the same time.
He said, "People who don’t get irony interpret it as sarcasm.” I do think there's a rampant desire to be hip and clever, which brings sarcasm and irony into play. Sarcasm, though, often has a mean edge, and irony is witty. Jon Stewart is the reigning king of irony.
So “Honk if you know the difference between irony and sarcasm.”