Harvard Leader of the Week
For this week’s Leader of the Week, we spoke with the president of the Immediate Gratification Players (IGP) comedy troupe, Karen Chee ’17. Karen is History & Literature concentrator in Quincy, and spent her last summer interning for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
What/who inspired you to get involved in comedy?
I wasn’t really aware that television comedy was a genre until I was in 8th grade. I was only allowed to watch PBS Kids until I was 13 so I just thought Arthur was the greatest show in the world (not wrong). A family friend recommended The Office to me, which was honestly life-changing and so funny in a way that I couldn’t believe. That led to shows like Whose Line is it Anyway?, A Bit of Fry & Laurie, and The Colbert Report. I started researching comedians and analyzing jokes and taking notes on shows I liked – I got pretty obsessed.
Who do you model yourself after as a leader?
Gandhi. Every day I wake up and remember that I’m leading India to independence from British Imperialism. It’s a lot of pressure, but I manage.
What’s the most important thing you learned at Harvard?
You can do anything if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. It’s all about the hustle. Also, you have to cite your sources properly or else you have to meet with the TF again, Karen, seriously, it’s not that hard.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?
I have no idea. Hopefully hanging out with my grandpa. He’s such a smart and funny dude. We’re in a book club, but it’s just the two of us, and we always read biographies of dead political figures even though I keep suggesting Lord of the Rings. Ideally we’d just hang out all the time.
If you had advice for freshmen at Harvard, what would it be?
Do the things that scare you! Failing is actually really good and helpful. Watch The West Wing when you need motivation. Do not tell your crush that you like him on your birthday because he will awkwardly laugh and you will awkwardly laugh and you can’t leave because you chose to do this in an elevator. Also, practice a fake laugh that doesn’t sound awkward to help you escape from uncomfortable situations. Avoid elevators.