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Alexandra Petri

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Alexandra Petri
Petri hosts a discussion at the National Archives and Records Administration in 2019
Petri hosts a discussion at the National Archives and Records Administration in 2019
BornAlexandra Attkisson Petri[1]
(1988-03-15) March 15, 1988 (age 36)
Wisconsin, U.S.
OccupationHumorist and writer
Alma materHarvard University (BA)
(m. 2018)
ParentsTom Petri
Anne D. Neal

Alexandra Attkisson Petri (/ˈptr/, born March 15, 1988) is an American humorist and newspaper columnist. In 2010, she became the youngest person to have a column in The Washington Post. Petri runs the ComPost blog on the paper's website, on which she formerly worked with Dana Milbank.[2] In 2017, a piece of satire she wrote about president Donald Trump was miscategorized as news and included in one of the White House's daily press briefings.[3] She was recognized in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2018.[4]


Early life and education[edit]

Petri grew up in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., the only child of Wisconsin congressman Tom Petri[5] and nonprofit executive Anne D. Neal,[6] and attended the National Cathedral School.[5] In high school she wrote plays for a competition at Arena Stage; three of hers were chosen for performance. She would also perform standup comedy.[2] She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa[5] from Harvard University with a degree in English, concentrating in classics, in 2010; while there she joined the Harvard Stand Up Comedy Society, worked with the Hasty Pudding Club, and wrote for the Internet comedy series On Harvard Time and for the The Harvard Crimson. Her college roommate was Megan Amram. She was a summer intern at The Washington Post prior to receiving a job with the paper. She is also a member of a playwrights' collective in Washington, D.C., called The Welders.[2]


Her book of essays A Field Guide to Awkward Silences was published in 2015.[7] She has appeared on Jeopardy!, won prizes in the O. Henry Pun-Off,[8][9] and performed at an international whistling competition.[10] Her play The Campsite Rule, a sex comedy whose title is derived from an idea taken from Dan Savage,[11] was premiered at the Capital Fringe Festival in 2013.[12][13]

In December 2015, Petri created the parody Twitter account "Emo Kylo Ren", which envisioned the Star Wars: The Force Awakens character Kylo Ren as an angsty teenager obsessed with Darth Vader.[14] The account went viral after being retweeted by Hot Topic and receiving attention from media outlets such as USA Today and People Magazine, soon gaining more followers than Hot Topic.[15] During the 8th Shorty Awards in 2016, the account won the award for best parody account.[16] Petri revealed that she created this parody account in an interview with Syfy published on January 25, 2018.[14]

Of her writing, Petri has said, "My goal is to be weirder than everybody else and hope that no one stops me. So far no one has."[2] Writers and comedians she has listed as influences include James Thurber,[5] Dave Barry, Mitch Hedberg, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde,[17] and William Shakespeare.[2]

She made her comic book debut by writing the one-shot She-Hulk Annual #1, released on August 28, 2019.[18]

In June 2020, Petri released her second book, Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why, a collection of essays on the Trump presidency years.[19] In April 2023, she released her third book Alexandra Petri's US History: Important American Documents (I Made Up)[20]

Personal life[edit]

In June 2018, Petri married Stephen Stromberg, an editorial writer at the Washington Post.[1] They welcomed their first child in February 2022.[21]


  • A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, New American Library, 2016. ISBN 9780451469618
  • Nothing Is Wrong and Here is Why: Essays, W. W. Norton & Company, 2020. ISBN 9781324006459
  • Alexandra Petri's US History: Important documents (I made up): Essays, W. W. Norton & Company, 2023. ISBN 9781324006435


  1. ^ a b "Alexandra Petri, Stephen Stromberg". The New York Times. June 24, 2018. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Get That Life: How I Got My Own Humor Column at the "Washington Post"". August 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Quigley, Aidan (March 17, 2017). "White House links to Washington Post satire slamming budget". Politico. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  4. ^ WashPostPR (November 14, 2017). "Alexandra Petri named in Forbes's 2018 30 under 30 list". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "The Washington Post's New Comedienne?". July 18, 2011.
  6. ^ "August 2015 - Alexandra Petri '10". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Cooper, Matthew (July 8, 2015). "Alexandra Petri Is Both Washington and Funny".
  8. ^ "Alexandra Petri - Penguin Random House". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "Winners Roster". March 27, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "Alexandra Petri and the "Awkward" memoir". June 11, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  11. ^ "The making of Petri's 'Campsite Rule'". The Washington Post. October 22, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  12. ^ Treanor, Tim (July 29, 2014). "The Campsite Rule". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Jeff. "Alexandra Petri's The Campsite Rule". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Busch, Caitlin (January 25, 2018). "The creator of Twitter's Emo Kylo Ren takes off the mask (and eyeliner)". Syfy. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  15. ^ Grygiel, Jennnifer (January 11, 2016). "Emo Kylo Ren Has Eclipsed Hot Topic". HuffPost. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  16. ^ Lee, Ashley (April 11, 2016). "Shorty Awards: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  17. ^ "The Harvard Crimson - Magazine - The Comedy Issue - An Interview with Alexandra A. Petri". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  18. ^ "WaPo Columnist ALEXANDRA PETRI Rises to the Challenge with SHE-HULK ANNUAL #1". Newsarama. Archived from the original on November 2, 2019. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved May 29, 2024.
  20. ^ "Alexandra Petri's U.S. History: Important American Documents (I Made Up)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  21. ^ Lizza, Ryan; Bade, Rachael. "POLITICO Playbook: Exclusive poll: Answers to the midterm's 2 big questions". POLITICO. Retrieved February 16, 2022.

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