Hasty Pudding

The Hasty Pudding Club at Harvard University is the parent to Hasty Pudding Theatricals, a performance company beloved for its annual drag shows, featuring comedy, music, and many pairs of stilettoes. Every year, students write and produce a drag musical burlesque. This tradition has been upheld for over 165 years.

How better to sample Hasty Pudding than with a taste!

Hasty Pudding is currently run by at least 50 Harvard undergraduates. Students take care of everything, from composing music to designing show posters to writing the show itself.

History of Hasty Pudding

Hasty Pudding was first conceived in 1795 by 21 juniors from Harvard College. It was founded as a way for club members to foster social relationships, make friends, and develop a sense of patriotism within their newly-independent country.

By the 19th century, the club’s meetings had become the stuff of comedy, with members verbally roasting each other for fun. This led to the scripting of some of their favorite jokes, which usually involved putting a historical figure like Queen Elizabeth I or Brutus on trial.

In 1837, a Hasty Pudding trial was held for a male club member dressed as Abby Roe, introducing the element of drag that has become central in Hasty Pudding Theatricals performances today.

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Drawing of original Hasty Pudding Clubhouse

But why pudding? The proof (and the name) was found in Harvard’s dining hall, which was best known for its unsavory dishes. To combat these culinary catastrophes, club members mandated that for every meeting, club members would provide a pot of “hasty pudding” to feed to rest of the club. True to its statement, every meeting was supplemented by a couple of students toting a giant cast iron pot full of pudding across Harvard Yard. The dish is still eaten by the club to this day.

(Editor’s Note: If you are interested in a hasty pudding recipe, click here.)

Hasty Pudding’s Woman and Man of the Year

Hasty Pudding has dedicated part of its energy to celebrating the work of performers who have made important contributions to the entertainment industry. Hasty Pudding’s subsequent Woman of the Year contest was introduced in 1951. Past honorees include Katherine Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, Jodie Foster, and Cher.

Man of the Year didn’t come about until 1967, with past honorees like Bill Cosby, Jimmy Stewart, Steve Martin, and Martin Scorsese.

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Former Woman of the Year Anne Hathaway with Hasty Pudding. Photo by Tom Stohlman

Alumni of Hasty Pudding

Past alumni of this celebrated club include former presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and John. F. Kennedy. Other big names include Mark O’Donnell, the film writer for Hairspray, Francis Attwood, a former artist for Cosmopolitan and Life Magazine, and Rashida Jones, a film and television actress.

Contact Information for Hasting Pudding

To contact Hasty Pudding, email club@hastypudding.org or write to the Hasty Pudding Clubhouse at:

96 Winthrop Street
Cambridge, MA 02138