Mo Rocca Speaks at UVM

Friday night’s student speaker series was a phenomenal success when thousands of students, faculty, and staff packed into Patrick Gym to see Mo Rocca.

In case you did not make the show, Mo Rocca is a correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, NBC’s Today Show, and VH1’s I love the 80’s, in addition to many other credits. Rocca is known for his satiric news related reports and his offbeat attitude.

For the last nine months, Rocca has been taking a break from The Daily Show to write his new book, All The President’s Pets. Rocca, who is an American history enthusiast, is especially interested in the lives of past Presidents.

In a pre-show interview, Rocca described his book as “All the President’s Men meets Charlotte’s Web.” He imagines that the people at The White House are running around begging for bits of this and bits of that, just like pets.

So, what if animals were really running the White House? Rocca enjoys writing, and he will continue to do so after his new book. Rocca wants to make American history more accessible to the general public by doing a show for the History Channel.

He explained that European history is more of a cultural part of the European people, and “Europe’s history is seen through them.”

Americans are more future oriented, and they are not as educated about their own history. Rocca believes that if everyday people were more educated about American history, the US would fare better in international affairs.

Another one of Rocca’s projects will be a show for Bravo titled, Things I Hate About You. The show is centered on long time couples that want to prove that their partner is maddening. One spouse will say things about the other and vice versa, and Rocca will serve as a referee.

It will be a very entertaining and comedic American addition to the Bravo network.

Before Rocca was a success in New York, he was broke in Hollywood.

And it is because of this reason that he became involved with the magazine, Perfect 10. It all started with a plumbing accident in Rocca’s building that sent all of his neighbor’s sewage into his apartment.

The super of his building, Britt, who was an ex-soap opera star, came up to his apartment to supervise the cleanup of the waste. Britt asked Rocca to work for the magazine, and he showed him some pictures.

The magazine was more cheesy that pornographic. Since Rocca was short on funds, and the job paid well, he accepted the position. He became the chief grammar expert for the magazine, and he was able to pay off his student loans early.

At Harvard, where he earned a B.A., Rocca wrote for the Hasty Pudding Show. This is a famous theatrical production that is student written and performed. In the show, men play all of the roles. Rocca acted in the Hasty Pudding Show for all four years of college.

Rocca thought that performing in and writing for the Hasty Pudding Show was a “totally fun” experience in college.

Rocca was very interested in the student body and campus life at UVM because it is very different from Harvard. Rocca was able to walk around downtown and check out the college scene somewhat before the show, and he was impressed by how vital students are in Burlington. Rocca noted, “people are really attractive here.”

However, he was slightly disappointed when he could not find a hacky sack. So, he decided to check out a head shop on Church Street.

Rocca has never smoked weed in his life, but now he thinks, why not? Rocca found the shop interesting because the store employees insisted that the hardware was only to be called “water pipes” and was to be used only for legal substances such as tobacco.

Rocca is fascinated by the UVM’s involvement in politics. Unlike many other colleges today, there is a lot of dialogue about different political parties and issues on campus. Rocca thinks that it is unfortunate when there is not this healthy dialogue.

Rocca explained that when he attended college in the early 1990’s, there was a trend towards being politically correct. During this P.C. era at Harvard, there was not a sense of activeness as there is at UVM now.