Jessica Burbank is using her deadpan sense of humor to take jabs at greedy corporations and leaders.
Jessica Burbank, a 27-year-old who goes by the username @kaburbank on TikTok, has a background in data-driven public policy, international history and political economy, is using her deadpan sense of humor mostly to take jabs at greedy corporations and leaders. She has since gone viral for her videos on the platform, where she translates the biggest news of the week for Gen-Z.
Titling some of them as "Big News Energy" in reference to a popular Gen-Z slang term, she delivers the news of the week with some hilarious Gen-Z zingers. In one instance, she mentioned, "Joe Biggs, a leader of the Proud Boys and organizer on January 6, got 17 years. Despite identifying as a proud boy, he was tried as an adult." In another, she described Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's recent freezes as "it's giving cognitive decline." Many viewers enjoy Burbank's format of news delivery, with @kistta saying, "This is how I like to hear my news." @xhxhxhxhxhaa added, "You gave us more big information than any other news." Even those who are not part of the Gen-Z generation tune in to watch. @bs.jessi wrote, "I am not Gen Z, but I appreciate you so much."
Burbank told BuzzFeed that she was surprised to get so many positive comments. "I remember scrolling the comments with my boyfriend — never read comments alone, use the buddy system — and we were like, 'Uh…they're all…positive? What?'" she shared. "We kept scrolling, almost looking for hate. 'They really like it. Okay.' That's really rare. I hadn't reflected on that much, but it's so cool. I love all of the people who comment on funny stuff and join in on the jokes. Not only is it not hate, it's jokes. Best-case scenario."
The idea for these videos came to her out of the blue one night. "I figured people might want a weekly news roundup. Cable news is a mess; streaming isn't as concise as content on social media. I love teaching and entertaining. I also really wanted to reach young people, especially from working-class backgrounds. I had to do it in a way that felt authentic. It just made sense."
The biggest news of the week breakdown⬇️ pic.twitter.com/BCAupGVrf6— Jessica (Ka) Burbank (@JessicaLBurbank) September 11, 2023
A few years ago, she worked on Senator Bernie Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign as a field organizer. She began making TikToks about economics and international affairs that helped her get her current gigs, which include news commentary and political sketches on The Hill TV, The Young Turks and More Perfect Union. While speaking of her current projects, she shared, "My job is [to] analyze what's going on and communicate it. Basically, I get paid to say what I think about stuff. I didn't know it was a job, but I'm really glad it's mine. I also don't know anyone else from a working-class background doing what I do, and that perspective is so important to be a real person and know what it's like to struggle to get by in the US."
Her first-ever video in the "biggest news of the week" series, she said, made her realize that "people are tired of fake professional uptight personas delivering the news, and Gen Z/young millennials want to get their news on social media. I think the information is super important, but I also like entertaining people. So when people comment that they laughed and learned stuff, either is a huge win, in my book. That makes me so happy."