Maurice Alberto (Mo) Rocca is an American writer, comedian, and political satirist, is known for his off-beat news reports, satirical commentary, and as a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1998-2003). Originally from Washington, DC, Rocca graduated from Harvard University in 1991 with a B.A. in literature. He served as president of Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals, performing in four of the company's notorious burlesques and even co-authoring one (Suede Expectations). Later, he worked as a writer and producer for the children's television series Wishbone (1995), The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (1996) and Pepper Ann (1997), and also as a consulting editor to the men's magazine Perfect 10. Rocca is a regular panelist on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! and a regular contributor to CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. He is a regular correspondent for NBC's Tonight Show, most recently providing 2008 election coverage, as well as for MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He was a celebrity commentator on VH1's Best week ever, as well as the I Love The... shows. He was the host of Things I Hate About You on Bravo. Rocca was an on-the-floor correspondent for Larry King on CNN at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which he called an "Obamarama." He returned as a correspondent for the 2004 Republican National Convention.
Question: How has “The Daily Show” affected other news broadcasts?
Mo Rocca:I don’t think it’s had a dramatic effect. I think one of the effects, which is not a probably great effect, is that a lot of the news shows now try to show that they have a sense of humor; and that they can be rascals as well or make fun of themselves. And I’m not sure how . . . I’m not sure how valuable that is. I think probably their anchors on these shows are less likely to say things without thinking if they’re concerned that they might be made fun of on a show like “The Daily Show”, so that can’t be bad. I don’t think . . . I don’t think that’s made them gun shy. I don’t think that’s made them gun shy in a way that the audience isn’t being served. I mean you know I think . . . I think . . . I think that the . . . The sad reality remains that they are . . . that they respond to what they think their audience wants. And this current campaign is so riveting that they’re sort of on their best behavior right now. And I actually think that the cable news nets, which are sort of flawed because they feel that they need to keep filling all this time, at least it’s being filled with more substantive politics than usual.
Recorded on: 2/14/08