Guests: David Litt, speechwriter & Rudolph Herzog, author
Politics, power, and comedy. We speak with David Litt, former Senior Presidential Speechwriter for Barack Obama and Head Writer/Producer at “Funny or Die” DC, and author Rudolph Herzog who’s book “Dead Funny” documents humor in Hitler’s Third Reich.
The US election coverage has reached a peak and we wanted to ask - how important is humor in politics and how does political comedy shaped public perception? The candidates have recently made visits to media outlets of all kinds. Hillary Clinton sat down with comedian Zach Galifianakis on Funny or Die’s “Between to Ferns” and in its first 24 hours was viewed more than 30 million times. And Donald Trump visited Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” which was heavily criticized in the press and with viewers alike for being a jokey, hair-tussling and issue-less chat.
Former Obama speechwriter Mr. Litt shares with us some of the highlights of his time in the White House, including writing jokes for the last four White House Correspondents dinners, helping produce viral videos for the Obama administration and why politicians are choosing outlets like Funny or Die. His book “That Hopey Changey Thing” comes out this year for even more behind the scenes White House moments.
Award winning director, producer and writer Rudolph Herzog (son of director Werner Herzog) writes about humor in the "Third Reich” in his book ‘Dead Funny’. It explores how soft, toothless humor might even have helped Hitler’s rise to power. We ask – are there similarities in the humor now during the US election? Should Jimmy Fallon have interviewed Donald Trump in the way he did? And much more!
David Litt is a former speechwriter who starting at the White House in 2011, where he served as special assistant to the president and senior presidential speechwriter for Obama. He was the lead joke writer for the last four White House Correspondents Assn. dinners, which included “Luther the Anger Translator,” featuring Keegan-Michael Key. He has now joining Funny or Die as Head Writer and Producer of the comedy site’s Washington, D.C. operations. He is also the author of the upcoming “That Hopey Changey Thing”.
Rudolph Herzog is an award-winning director, producer and writer. He is the author of “Dead Funny” which documents humor in Hitler’s Third Reich and the critically acclaimed “Short History of Nuclear Folly”. He helmed a National Geographic special on the mysterious death of polar explorer Roald Amundsen and “The Agent” on the double agent Werner Stiller who escaped East Germany and became a millionaire at Goldman Sachs. As a producer, his most recent credit is “The President”, winner of the Chicago Film Festival.