Alexis Wilkinson Becomes 1st Black Female President of Harvard Lampoon Magazine

Wilkinson_AlexisThe Harvard Lampoon, a respected humor magazine founded in 1876 and that serves as a pipeline to major comedy shows, has selected two women that are making a lot of history at the publication.

Alexis Wilkinson and Eleanor Parker represent the first time two women are leading the venerable magazine. Wilkinson is the first African-American president and the first black woman to earn the top job.  Parker, also African-American, will serve as vice president.

Wilkinson told NPR she didn’t set out to make history for the magazine, but along the way realized it was going to happen.  Parker said she thinks their place atop the magazine will make it easier for other women to get involved. They’re “hoping that having two women at the lead of the magazine encourages women on campus to apply and get involved and get excited about writing comedy.”

The moves come as Saturday Night Live has faced criticism for not having any black women in its cast. Recently, it held auditions exclusively for African-American women, and there are reportedly three finalists in the running.  Wilkinson said she paid attention to the conversation because of how important Saturday Night Live was to her growing up.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Many alumni of The Harvard Lampoon have gone on to have successful careers in comedy, including John Updike, Conan O’Brien, B.J. Novak, and the magazine’s first female president, Lisa Henson, daughter of Muppets creator Jim Henson.

article by Adrian Carrasquillo via buzzfeed.com

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