Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the subject of a satirical article that suggested he was involved in a drunken romp with a solar panel, chose to play along with the joke.
The Onion article described a "hungover" Chu who "awoke on Thursday morning to find himself sleeping next to a giant solar panel he had met the previous evening."
"'Oh, Christ, what the hell did I do last night?'," Chu asked himself, according to The Onion. "'This is bad. I really need to stop doing this. I've got to get this thing out of here before my wife gets home."
The Onion also jokingly noted that "Chu's encounter with the crystalline-silicon solar receptor was his most regrettable dalliance since 2009, when an extended fling with a 90-foot wind turbine nearly ended his marriage.
In a note on his Facebook page, Chu, who will depart President Obama's cabinet after his successor is confirmed, showed that even Nobel Prize-winning physicists have a funny bone. "I just want everyone to know that my decision not to serve a second term as Energy Secretary has absolutely nothing to do with allegations made in this week's edition of the Onion," he wrote.
While he joked that he cannot "confirm or deny the charges specifically," he did take the opportunity to once again hawk the renewable energy technologies that have been a focus of his tenure as Energy Secretary: "I will say that clean, renewable power is a growing source of U.S. jobs and is becoming more and more affordable, so it's no surprise that lots of Americans are falling in love with solar."
Chu is only the latest member of the administration to be satirized by The Onion, which has had a field day with Vice President Joe Biden over the last four years, culminating with the publication of a satirical autobiography, "The President of Vice."