By Sandra Mauro '19
“I was a nerdy kid. I loved books and reading and was chock full of facts — if you punctured a hole in me I’d start spewing information about William of Orange.” This is how Alexandra Petri ‘06 describes herself as an NCS student, where she enjoyed reading and writing plays and showed her sense of humor. In high school, she entered an Arena Stage playwriting competition and three of her plays were chosen to be performed there. Her first play was about two unicorns waiting for the already departed Noah’s Ark.
After graduating from NCS, Petri attended Harvard. She initially planned on on majoring in math. However, she quickly found she “didn’t understand what was going on,” and followed her passion for writing, switching her major to English. Her love for comedy and journalism further developed through the extracurriculars she participated in. She joined the Harvard Stand-Up Comedy Society and the Harvard Time, a student TV show. During her time at Harvard, she also wrote a comedy column for the college newspaper, The Crimson. The summer before her senior year, she interned for the Washington Post, writing about technology because “as a Millennial, [she] had a stake in making a coherent position in that area.” After graduation Petri interned for the Washington Post again, and after being offered a job there, she became their youngest columnist, at age 20.
Her Washington Post column, The ComPost, “offers a lighter take on the news and political insanity of the day” through her skillful use of both satire and cringe-worthy puns. In addition, she also runs two successful Twitter accounts. The first is an award-winning parody account called “Emo Kylo Ren,” which includes tweets such as “dear diary, I think Chewbacca could always pilot That Ship by himself and he was just letting my dad do it because he felt bad.” The second is her personal Twitter account (@petridishes), and it has over 100,000 followers. Recently, she has been tweeting about the Olympics and writing creative puns like: “skating to anna karenina? I bet she really had to TRAIN.” In 2015, she published her first book called A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, a collection of comical essays about her life. This year she was recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, joining four other NCS alumnae who have also made the list in the past. But through all this, she hasn’t given up her love of theater and still writes plays in a playwrights collective called The Welders.