After the initial premiere, Virtual Bill returned to MTV on December 17, 1998 with another TV special and an interactive web special produced by Pulse that ported the 3D data into a web compatible format using Pulse's proprietary plug-in. It was kind of like a slightly awkward, but successful, first date.In January 1999, when Jon Stewart became the host of The Daily Show he tapped former Onion writer/editor Karlin to be head writer of the newly restructured show. When I got back to Los Angeles, they offered me the head writer job." From March 3 to March 7, 1999, writers and editors of The Onion attended U. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado in part to promote the forthcoming Our Dumb Century anthology and were met with effusive praise for their work from notable comedians such as Conan O'Brien, Dave Foley and Dave Thomas as well as cartoonist Peter Bagge and musician Andy Prieboy.s first fully original book, Our Dumb Century was released.In the spring of 1996 The Onion began publishing online.
After the sale, founders Keck and Johnson became publishers of other, similar alternative weeklies: Keck of the Seattle weekly The Stranger and Johnson of the Albuquerque Weekly Alibi.
In its earlier years The Onion was successful in a number of university locations (e.g. Originally the bottom three inches of the newspaper could be cut off for coupons to local establishments, such as inexpensive student-centered eateries and video rental stores.
In the wake of Karlin's departure, long time staff writer Robert Siegel Sometime after The Onion appeared online in 1996, the publication was threatened with a lawsuit from Janet Jackson because of the article "Dying Boy Gets Wish: To Pork Janet Jackson." "We were very nearly sued out of existence by Janet Jackson", said Siegel, adding that in the past he was forbidden to talk about the legal matter and the celebrity involved.
On January 27, 1998, MTV premiered Virtual Bill, a collaboration between writers of The Onion and 3-D character studio Protozoa.
According to Bolton, the most plausible explanation is that The Onion was mocking a campus newsletter called The Union.s longest-serving editor-in-chief (1988–1999, 2005–2008)—joined the two-person staff to draw comic strips.