Alexandra A. Petri is an American humorist and newspaper columnist. In 2010 she became the youngest person to have a column in The Washington Post; she also runs the ComPost blog on the paper's website, on which she formerly worked with Dana Milbank. In 2017, a piece of satire which she had written about president Donald Trump was miscategorized as news and included in one of the White House's daily press briefings. She was recognized in the 30 Under 30 list by Forbes in 2018.
Petri grew up in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., the only child of Wisconsin congressman Tom Petri and nonprofit executive Anne D. Neal, and attended the National Cathedral School. 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. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa 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 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.
Her book of essays A Field Guide to Awkward Silences was published in 2015. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, won prizes in the O. Henry Pun-Off, and performed at an international whistling competition. Her play The Campsite Rule, a sex comedy whose title is derived from an idea taken from Dan Savage, was premiered at the Capital Fringe Festival in 2013.
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. 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. During the 8th Shorty Awards in 2016, the account won award for best parody account. Petri revealed that she created this parody account in an interview with Syfy published on January 25, 2018.
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." Writers and comedians she has listed as influences include James Thurber, Dave Barry, Mitch Hedberg, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and William Shakespeare.