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 Washington changed?
Mo Rocca:Well Washington was far less glamorized. I think Washington was very boring and really was kind of sleepy. There was no more boring day to me in Washington than a Sunday because nothing was open. And I think that’s maybe the way it was in a lot of cities. But it was dead at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. I mean downtown when I was growing up was in bad shape. Washington is still . . . Washington is . . . Washington has . . . Washington is a lot slicker now. It’s still one of the most unsexy cities on the planet. No matter how good looking you are, if you’re in Washington you just become less sexy. It’s the opposite of New York. It just kind of leeches the sex appeal out of everything. And so you know Aaron Sorkin did his best, I think, to make it seem sexier than it is, but no. But it certainly has . . . It has decent food now. It has decent shopping. It’s always had great parks and monuments. I mean it’s a city that is essentially about parks and monuments, and I would say that it’s verging on becoming too much of a memorial city now that everything has to have a monument and a memorial. I mean some of the ones . . . Maya Lin’s . . . The Vietnam Memorial is the last really great one, really ballsy, really like . . . I still remember the controversy when it . . . when it appeared at first. And what a remarkable achievement that she could have created a monument revered by both veterans and critics of the war, which are obviously sometimes the same people. But . . . And then they followed it up with the Korean War Memorial, and now the World War II one. And now it’s just becoming too much of a mall of monuments – I mean literally the Mall, but yeah.