The Harvard Lampoon, Harvard University’s popular student humor magazine, has just named its first black president — and she happens to be a woman too. Alexis Wilkinson takes over the helm at the undergraduate publication along with vice president Ellie Parker, making the two the first set of women to ever run the Lampoon.
Even though the Lampoon is a small college publication, it has churned out many famous writers and comedians, including Conan O Brien, Simon Rich, who wrote for Saturday Night Live, and John Updike.
Wilkinson, who wants to pursue a career in comedy writing, spoke with NPR’s Michel Martin about how excited she was about her new position, especially in light of criticism towards SNL for lack of diversity.
“SNL was one of the few shows I was allowed to watch growing up,” Wilkinson said. “I wasn’t allowed to watch Seinfeld and Simpsons and things that sort of inform Lampoon writers sensibility.”
She also added that she hopes to bring more focus to the writers behind many black shows, which are often crafted and produced by people who are not of color.
Parker added that she hopes their placements will inspire more change on campus.
“We’re hoping that this changes the landscape…of people applying to be on the magazine, hoping that just having two women at the lead of the magazine encourages people to apply and get involved and get excited about writing comedy.”