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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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WEB EXTRA: Mo Rocca: ignore the suburbs, load up on coffee

Mo Rocca, well known for his work on shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Larry King Live, and VH1’s “I love.” series was recently in Bethesda, MD in a show called “Satire in an Absurd World,” performed at the historic 6th and I synagogue.

Rocca, who does these types of small shows about once a month, was on for about an hour, during which he joked about the Jewish tradition (he even made his own Sukkoth), D.C. politics, and of course himself.

Right off the bat Rocca stated, “I’m an expert at being an expert. I know a lot about a few things-mostly useless things.” He invited members of the audience to come on stage and try their hand at being experts when he showed them a picture of a random celebrity and had them give their “expert” opinion. Rocca also revealed the secret behind how all of the VH1 specials really operate. “They give you the topics the night before, so it’s a lot like cramming for a test and trying to figure out as much about each thing as you can. And then oftentimes, you have to improvise during the taping,” Rocca explained.

Although the show was worthwhile, it wasn’t as funny as expected. There was the usual batch of political jokes, but when he tried to engage the audience it didn’t really work out. Rocca spent much of the time just talking about himself, which seemed a bit egotistical, and then led to a rather long Q and A session where for some reason half the time was spent seeing if Rocca really could name the capitol of every country in the world. He could.

Rocca, a native of the D.C. area, grew up in Bethesda, Md. “I remember that I hated going to the museums and monuments. I had to be dragged there kicking and screaming. It was only when I moved to the suburbs in Dallas that I really appreciated all that D.C. had. I missed the history of it all; the suburbs were just like a different world,” Rocca recalled.

After receiving an undergraduate degree in Literature at Harvard University, Rocca went on work on a variety of projects, including being a writer and producer on the children’s show “Wishbone.” When asked about his involvement in TV, Rocca replied, “I always saw myself in the entertainment industry, but more as an actor. I would still like to act, but I’m happy with where I am now.”

Rocca has appeared numerous times on The Daily Show, most often talking to people on the street. Having contributed so much to these various “pseudo-news” shows, it is only logical to assume that Rocca will one day come out with a show of his own.

“I would like to one day have my own show,” Rocca said, “but not like The Daily Show. I always enjoyed doing ‘man on the street’ bits, just going out and talking to people, which is similar to what I do on Whoa!Sunday. But I haven’t really given it much thought.”

Rocca is currently a celebrity judge on Iron Chef America, and has also released a book entitled “All the Presidents’ Pets: The Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over,” about the secret influence that animals have had on the White House, and why it’s such a covered-up topic. When asked about how he was chosen to be a judge on Iron Chef Rocca answered, “I have no idea. I make them tell me the secret ingredient before every show. It’s very nerve racking.”

Rocca is himself an avid history buff, having made it a hobby to visit as many presidential homes and gravesites in America as he can. “American history fascinates me so much,” Rocca replied when asked about the reason behind this strange hobby. If able to choose any other profession, he “would love to be a tour guide.” According to Rocca, “Mt.Vernon has some great historical spots to look at.”

And although his college years seem like so long ago, he still had some words of wisdom for GW students. “I don’t think it’s really that hard to survive it[college],” Rocca said. “School itself isn’t that bad, it’s just making sure that you stay alert. Listening is always good. My greatest flaw, I think, was zoning out. So whatever it takes, coffee or whatever, use it.”

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