'The Harvard Lampoon' elects 1st black, female president

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Alexis Wilkinson was elected as The Harvard Lampoon’s first African-American and the first female president.

For the first time ever, Harvard University’s famous undergraduate humor publication will be led by two women, Wilkinson and Vice President Ellie Parker.

During a recent interview with NPR, Wilkinson discussed the lack of diversity on sketch comedy shows like Saturday Night Live, saying it “hit home.”

SNL was one of the few shows I was allowed to watch,” Wilkinson said.

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.

Wilkinson also noted the lack of diversity, not just on screen, but off screen.

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. 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.

The young writer has been a member of The Lampoon staff since her sophomore year at Harvard and aspires to a career in comedy writing.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals

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