Humorist, journalist and actor Mo Rocca is best known for his off-beat news reports and satirical commentary. Currently a Correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning News, he’s also a panelist on NPR’s hit weekly quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and the host and creator of the Cooking Channel’s My Grandmother’s Ravioli, in which he learns to cook from grandmothers and grandfathers across the country. Rocca spent four seasons as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and four seasons as a correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Rocca’s latest project, Electoral Dysfunction, is a feature length documentary exploring voting in America and the consequences of a Constitution that doesn’t include the right to vote. (Really.) Throughout he encounters a range of activists, experts, and election administrators, along with some highly opinionated third graders, who offer commentary on how voting works—or doesn’t work—in America.
The former president and author of Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Show, Rocca’s stage credits include Vice Principal Douglas Panch on Broadway in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Doody on the Southeast Asian Tour of Grease.
Rocca’s book All the Presidents’ Pets: The Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over is a tour-de-force of investigative journalism that blows the lid off of a long-held Washington secret: Presidential pets are more than just photo-ops. Equal parts All the President’s Men, Charlotte’s Web and The Da Vinci Code, Pets is the journalistic watershed event of the decade. Really.
“Too many Americans are lazy when it comes to studying low-brow culture. I’ve given all these shows—Punky Brewster, Webster—the thought they deserve.”
Rocca began his career in TV as a writer and producer for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning PBS children’s series Wishbone. He went on to write and produce for other kids series, including ABC’s Pepper Ann and Nickelodeon’s The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss—a pre-school series combining the whimsy of Seuss characters with the magic of Jim Henson puppetry.
“I know a lot about a few things—mostly useless things.”
Rocca also served as consulting editor at the adult men’s magazine Perfect 10. These experiences prepared him for the broad range of topics he’d tackle on The Daily Show, where his profiles ranged from a man so obsessed with First Ladies he dresses up as Florence Harding to a husband/wife pet-mummification team.
Rocca is a judge on Iron Chef America and was a frequent guest on cable news shows Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Larry King Live. He was a regular on the VH1 retrospective I Love the… series, served as host of Things I Hate About You on Bravo and Animal Planet’s Whoa! Sunday with Mo Rocca. Rocca also once played the role of Turista #2 on telenovela Amor Descarado on Telemundo.
“I’ve been on Telemundo ’cause I’m half-Colombian. I have not been on BET, but that’s just because I’m especially pale right now.”
A native of Washington, D.C., Mo Rocca earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard and resides in New York City. He is famed for his wacky, tongue-in-cheek “fake news” reports.