Rescuers are battling to free a team of 33 professional comedy writers, who became trapped when a seam of potential satire that they were exploring collapsed after being practically mined hollow.
According to colleagues, the team began digging for material following the news that a group of Chilean miners were trapped underground. 'The theme of several men, stuck for months down a mineshaft... well, it's no surprise that these writers chose to exploit it,' explained one leading internet satirist. 'With all due deference to those miners and their families, that's comedy gold that is.'
Experts have accused the satirists of probing the meme without first taking the necessary precautions. 'The situation had already been extensively mined by amateur joke writers and freelance bloggers, so the whole thing was shaky from the start. Scraping any useable punchlines from the bottom of the meme would have taken the kind of skill that many writers lack. At the very least they should have secured the services of a physical comedian and used props to keep the ceiling from falling in.'
The satirists are currently said to be in good spirits and are maintaining morale by coming up with ideas for a new topical review show, provisionally called 'Down the Tube - a sideways look at being trapped down a mineshaft'. They are also being regularly supplied with copies of Private Eye and tapes of Mock the Week. In response the trapped writers have sent up a recording of them singing their national anthem - the theme tune to That Was the Week That Was.
Leading the rescue effort is Hilary Shearbourne, producer of Have I Got News for You? Her crack team of stand-up comedians has started to drill a relief shaft through a nearby stratum of Pakistani cricketing news, but has found that the going is tough. 'It looks like we might have hit a hollow pocket of binned cat jokes, which might compromise the entire operation unless we can divert the drill into Tony Blair's memoirs sometime soon.'
Rescuers are said to be considering a back-up plan, where proof readers from the BBC Writers' Room will send rejected material from a BBC Radio 7 topical sketch show down a supply chute. 'If this doesn't force them to claw their way screaming back to the surface, nothing will.'