One on One with Mo Rocca
By Samantha Spicer
This year for Homecoming weekend, Daemen College was lucky to have Mo Rocca pay us a visit. I had the special treat of being able to sit down with Mr. Rocca and get to know him a little better. This is what he had to say.
How did you get started in this business?
Mo Rocca: “I originally wanted to do musical theater. That has always been a love of mine, but I was also a news junkie. So I tried to find a way to combine my love for news and entertainment.”
Did you ever pursue this love for theater?
Mo Rocca: “Yes, I did pursue it. I moved to New York after college at Harvard. While I was in New York I started auditioning for different productions the old-fashioned way. I would just open up the newspaper and see who was holding an audition for what and where, and go audition. Then I got an opportunity to audition for the musical, ‘Spelling Bee,’ and I leapt on it.”
So how did you get from that to what you’re doing now?
Mo Rocca: “I worked on the Daily Show on Comedy Central and I also worked for the Jay Leno Show.”
Where did you go to school and what’s your degree in?
Mo Rocca: “Harvard and English Literature.”
English Literature? Why not theater?
Mo Rocca: “Well, Harvard didn’t really have a theater program, so with English literature it still allowed me to stay in touch with my love of theater by being able to read dramas.”
Did you play any sports in college?
Mo Rocca: “I did crew in college, which is like rowing. I took dance classes and I also did gymnastics. I love the Olympics and I am intrigued by synchronized diving.”
What would you say was your big break for getting where you are today and why?
Mo Rocca: “I would say getting on the Daily Show, because it put my face on TV and showed how I was on camera.”
What advice do you have for young people trying to get into this industry?
Mo Rocca: “I would say you have to work on your writing skills. People who can write have a huge advantage over people who can’t, because the ability to tell a story is such a crucial skill for this industry. If the story doesn’t work then no one will watch. In this day and age, producers in general are much more likely to want someone who can tell a story rather than someone with just a pretty face, because someone who can write and tell a story can really add to the show.”