After graduation, Allen headed back to her hometown of New York City and penned articles for the New York Observer, ARTNews, and Modern Painters before landing at The New Yorker in 2012. First, she was editor Susan Morrison’s assistant, then assistant editor of the “Talk of the Town” section—the magazine’s familiarly punchy, urban slice-of-life vignettes—and “Shouts & Murmurs” section, the humor column.
It was in the latter, though, that she identified a problem—and solving it became her focus. “With Shouts, we had the real estate problem: You get a page a week, and that’s it,” Allen explains. “But there are so many incredible talents and so many diverse voices in humor that we wished we could incorporate. We could fill the whole magazine with humor content, given the number of great submissions we have.”
Her solution became Daily Shouts, a section of The New Yorker’s website that would publish one to two pieces per day from a range of up-and-coming voices, among them Emma Rathbone, Cirocco Dunlap, Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, duo Nehemiah Markos and Jed Feiman, Nomi Kane, and Susanna Fogel. The initiative was well-received, and The New Yorker’s editor-in-chief David Remnick took note, promoting Allen to helm the section. “Then David asked if I want to take on cartoons as well, and it created this full-pan humor gig,” she shrugs, endearingly nonchalant about a gig that many twenty-somethings might kill for.
It’s a new role at the magazine. While Mankoff focused on cartoons, Allen has a fuller plate, overseeing Cartoons, Daily Cartoons online, Shouts & Murmurs, Daily Shouts online, and humor videos and podcasts. She and the magazine’s associate cartoon editor, Colin Stokes, also star in a video series, “Cartoons, Etc.,” in which they engage with a rotating cast of guest cartoonists “so that fans can put a face to the squiggle signature,” Allen explains. They also have plans to introduce Daily Comics, or “multi-panel, longer-form funny things” to the website’s comic ecosystem.
“Some part of my brain self-protectively has made me forget what it was like the first couple months,” Allen says when I ask how she’s acclimated to wearing this rather Herculean number of hats. “After the initial blitz, it’s been more of a regular job that I can come in and do, and go home and not collapse in a heap or cry or drink a bottle of scotch.”