You can thank Baratunde Thurston for @TheOnion. Not the website, that is — that's over two decades old — but the 5 million follower-strong (and growing) Twitter account. For five years, the author / satirist / comedian / public speaker (it's a lot of titles) worked at the publication and served as its director of digital, pushing its social media presence.

Last year, Thurston left The Onion and, along with two former Onion editors, founded Cultivated Wit. The startup looks to merge humor and technology in various ways, such as sponsoring Comedy Hack Days to bring together comedians, designers, and developers (one recent example includes Citation Needed, which quickly helps you create mock Wikipedia pages and win arguments even when you're wrong). The next one starts September 21st at the MIT Media Lab.

Thurston describes comedy as "an important special power," and he's been using that power to inform and enlighten audiences around the globe. We sat down with him to discuss the projects he's worked on, our favorite Onion stories, and his continued belief in the importance of Twitter.