Comedian Mo Rocca entertains sold-out crowd

Sporting lime green pants, comedian and political commentator Mo Rocca entertained a sold-out audience at the 1,500-seat Lisner Auditorium Friday night.

Rocca followed Welcome Week’s headline acts, Godfrey and Seth Myers, who performed in the Smith Center Wednesday night in keeping with this year’s Welcome Week theme, “Laugh Out Loud.”

Students paid $10 to attend Rocca’s politically centered comedy performance, sponsored by the Student Activities Center. While Marisa Tjerandsen, student involvement coordinator for SAC, would not disclose how much they paid Rocca to perform, she said SAC booked him at a “great price.”

She added that SAC chose Rocca for his politically oriented style. “SAC has a relationship with his agency and they contacted us first,” Tjerandsen said. “We booked Mo Rocca first and then continued with the comedy theme for the rest of Welcome Week with Godfrey and Seth Myers headlining.”

Maurice Albert Rocca, whose stage name is Mo, was born in D.C. and grew up in Bethesda, Md. After earning a degree in English literature from Harvard University, Rocca’s career took some varied turns. His resume now runs the gamut from working on the PBS kids series “Wishbone” to his editorship at the adult magazine “Perfect 10.”

Rocca then went on to play Doody in the Southeast Asian Tour of the musical “Grease.” His career path then took him to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” where he does satiric reporting. After four years at “The Daily Show,” Rocca recently left to work as a commentator for VH1’s “I Love the 80s” and “I Love the 90s,” a series that discusses cultural highlights of the decade. He has also worked with Larry King during the Democratic National Convention.

On Friday night, Rocca displayed two power point presentations, describing the pre-election political playing field and autobiographically tracing his path to success.

“He was really funny, especially with the power point slide,” freshman Folasade Oyeabola said.

Rocca also showed clips from past interviews and debates in which he participated, including one from “The O’Reilly Factor,” in which he argued for the value of a racy toy called Lingerie Barbie.

“Would you rather your daughter pretend to be a hooker or crackwhore or actually be one?” Rocca said.

Although Rocca focused on politics, sophomore Rachel Lahoff said she was pleased with his universal humor.

“It was really good,” Lahoff said. “He remained neutral so everyone could enjoy it.”

Junior Adam Conner thought Mo Rocca was an appropriate choice with a presidential election three months away.

“I thought he was good, particularly during an election year,” Conner said. “I think his ticket sales were helped by cheaper tickets, a smaller venue and being on a Friday night.”

Welcome Week has typically featured musical performances in the past. Bands Guster and Jason Mraz headlined last year’s event.

“I would’ve liked a concert,” Lahoff said. “It was a bit of a disappointment after last year’s amazing one.”

The choice of comedy routines as opposed to a concert did not upset sophomore Ariel Kaye.

“They made up for it with really good comedians, and we have Fall Fest on Saturday,” Kaye said.

Rocca used the stage to promote his new book, “All the President’s Pets,” which goes on sale Sept. 28. Before leaving, he also satisfied a student’s request to sign her breast. After the autograph, Rocca said, “I just spelled my own name wrong.”

Finally, he promised the crowd that at some point on the taping of “I Love the 90s Strikes Back: ’98” he would say “I love GW.”

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