The Harvard Lampoon has a new editor and her name is Alexis Wilkinson.
For the first time in the 137-year history, Harvard University’s famous undergraduate humor publication elected an African-American president, as well as its first Black female president.
During an interview with NPR, Wilkinson, a junior and inspiring comedy writer, said she is excited about her new opportunity in light of the recent discussions about diversity in comedy.
“Growing up I wasn’t allowed to watch, like, ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘The Simpsons’ and a lot of things that sort of inform Lampoon writers’ sensibility. But I was allowed to watch ‘SNL’ if I stayed up late enough. And so, like, Maya Rudolph and, you know, Kenan Thompson and all those people meant a lot to me. And so the discussion definitely made me think more about representation and what it means in comedy,” she said.
She added that the lack of diversity is off the screen, too.
“As a writer, I think we pay a lot of attention to the performative aspect of comedy, but as far as the number of performers go, there’s way more gender and race equality in performance of comedy than there has ever been in writing,” she explained. “Like, no one is paying attention to the fact that, like, there are absolutely, like, no people of color writing for – and, like, shows – a lot of shows that are predominately black don’t have any writers of color in the writers room. And to me, that’s insane, like, it’s 2013. And so those are sort of things that I get more riled up about.”
Alumni of The Harvard Lampoon included John Updike, Conan O’Brien, B.J. Novak, and the magazine’s first female president, Lisa Henson.