TODAY

TODAY   |  March 17, 2014

Iconic Harvard magazine now run by two women

TODAY contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager sits down with the two women now running the Harvard Lampoon, long a breeding ground for some of the funniest people in show business.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we know that harvard university tends to crank out some of the smartest people on the planet. but did you know it is kind of a breeding ground for some of the funniest people, as well? "today" contributing correspondent jenna bush hager has more on that.

>> good morning. the " harvard lampoon " comedy magazine has been a breeding ground for the funniest people in show business . when they announced two women would be running the show, i had to pay a visit.

>> submissions.

>> there must be something in the water here. harvard lampoon alumni include b.j. novak , conan o'brien and colin jost. and writers for " 30 rock " and "the simpsons" started at the "lampoon." this is a legendary clubhouse of those very funny people who are very secretive about their activities. in fact, this library is the only room we were allowed to see.

>> talk to me a little bit about what goes on in here. am i allowed to know?

>> we do a lot of reading in this room.

>> but that's not exactly true. we quickly discovered fun comes first at the " harvard lampoon " and the truth comes second. for example, all of this happened when we innocently asked to take an average editorial meeting. what we recorded could be called historic. for the first time since the "lampoon" was founded in 1876 , the magazine is being run by two women.

>> this is completely unusual.

>> i'm on fire. i am on fire right now.

>> who is also the first african-american female ever elected president.

>> elections were a great rallying point. and she's also a hilarious writer.

>> alexis and ellie elected to do their nails during our interview.

>> hot pink frenzy.

>> hot pink frenzy.

>> as am i.

>> but they do a lot more than their nails. alexis and ellie oversee production of the magazine and the parody books. they say their election sends a signal that women are welcome into what's traditionally been a testosterone filled culture.

>> i have a full family filled of loud, funny women . i was always very funny looking, before i got boobs, i looked like a pez dispenser . i was very tall, skinny.

>> the former pez dispenser is an economics major. but it wasn't "the lampoon" that brought her to cambridge.

>> what made you choose harvard?

>> money. coming from a single parent, sort of low income background, that was the most important thing to me. if you're poor, you can get a world class education in harvard.

>> henry louis gates jr .

>> former slaves when they could wrote books.

>> seemed genuinely proud the first female african- american president was taking his african- american studies class.

>> new president of the "lampoon." give it up for the new president of "the lampoon."

>> it is likely there'll be more applause in her future.

>> what's your dream job ?

>> i would love to write for television or film. just figuring it out. it all sounds great. sounds amazing and definitely something --

>> something tells me that alexis and ellie will figure it out.

>> these women were really hilarious. obviously, i spent the day laughing. but it's really changing the dialogue about women and comedy. and they're young women and i think we'll see a lot more from them coming up.

>> they let you inside there.

>> they let me inside. but i wanted to go up to where the keggers happened and they said no.

>> you're a mom. you're not allowed.

>> that's our jenna.

>> they didn't let me up there. but anyway, i'm so excited for you more importantly.

>> we had a little bet going and i lost.

>> i know. in russia, the girls were a little bit on to me.

>> well, you liked a good saltine a lot.

>> yeah. you want to have my vodka shot?

>> there you go, you figured it out. a month late.