Somewhere in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, a 9-year-old girl named Alice has become known to the world as a comedy gold mine.
When her mother’s issue of The New Yorker comes to the house, Alice, fresh off a day from third grade, grabs the issue and immediately goes to the back and writes an entry to the magazine’s cartoon caption contest. Her entries, written in typical 9-year-old handwriting, are what my 12-year-old son would call “savage AF.”
Alice’s mother, Kim Kassnove, told Kveller she has always taken great delight in her daughter’s entries, posting them online regularly. (A favorite is Alice’s caption for a scene with a man holding a cigarette, staring angrily at a duck popping its head out of a coffee mug: “OMG, everything is going RONG.”)
But when Kassnove’s cousin, Jimmy Kimmel comedy writer Bess Kalb, asked to post some of Alice’s captions on Twitter? Kassnove said yes: “I figured, she’s having a kind of rough year at school academically, and if nothing happens with it, she never has to know it even happened.”
“Everything is terrible but my cousin’s 9-year old daughter Alice has been quietly and masterfully slaying the @NewYorker’s caption contest and it’s pure delight,” Kalb tweeted.
Everything is terrible but my cousin’s 9-year old daughter Alice has been quietly and masterfully slaying the @NewYorker’s caption contest and it’s pure delight. pic.twitter.com/Lhzmq7Pnsb
— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) April 4, 2018
Alice’s humor was heard around the world, as the tweet quickly went viral.
“So it turns out, people think she’s really funny and it brought a lot of people happiness and that was very moving to see,” Kassnove said. “As her parents, we’re just overwhelmed.”
How does Alice feel about all this?
“I think Alice feels like, ‘well, if people think I’m funny, then WHY AREN’T I WINNING THE CONTEST?’” her mother laughed. “She has no idea that it has gone viral. She has no idea how many thousands of people this has reached. She doesn’t really have that concept yet. She’s in third grade.”
(For the record, her mother is no comedic slouch either, and writes a blog called, “Quick, While The Kids Are Sleeping!” She will be performing in Listen To Your Mother’s evening show in Maplewood, NJ on April 28).
“My cousin Bess is a champion for women and female writers and women in comedy and women being taken seriously,” Kassnove said. “And it all starts with parents and teachers supporting and advocating girls voices. So I love that this is where that story is headed.”
Surely, Kveller contends, a kid who runs home from school and picks up The New Yorker at the age 9 can be considered indicative of highly successful parenting.
“I do actually feel like if Alice’s two favorite things in life are Hamilton the musical and writing New Yorker cartoon captions, I’ve done something right with this parenting thing,” Kassnove confided.