Mo Rocca, Mo Rockin’

Cutting dish service (the TV variety, folks, not plates and such) was a tough call for our family, but saving a huge chunk of change pushed us over the top and we called it quits with the cable guy. What saddened me most was losing the Cooking Channel. While never a Food Network fan, I adored CC and couldn’t get enough. (More on that love affair over at food for fun.)

It was the hosts that hooked me and a best of the best—in my humble opinion—is Maurice Alberto “Mo” Rocca. Mo reeled me in with his Food(ography), a one-hour show where he delved into a single food topic—cheese, beer, ice cream, etc. His sarcastic, dry wit and goofball-nerd charisma made for entertaining viewing and he never failed to crack me up.

More recently, he created and hosts My Grandmother’s Ravioli; Rocca has also been an Iron Chef America judge.

But Mo’s presence in the food world is but an add-on to an already successful career as a political and journalistic funny guy. He’s hilarious, for sure, but this man has some serious smarts to back it up.

Rocca grew up in Washington D.C. and attended Georgetown Prep as a wee lad. He graduated Harvard with a B.A. in Literature in 1991. While there, he was president of the school’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals and performed and co-authored burlesque productions.

His acting career kicked off with the Southeast Asia tour of Grease (1993). Rocca went on to write and produce in television, winning an Emmy and Peabody Award for his children’s series, Wishbone. He also scored a funny-name title with The Wubblous World of Dr. Seuss on Nickelodeon. Another Emmy came his way in 2011 as writer for the 54th annual Tony Awards.

If you know Mo, you would recognize his voice in VH-1’s I Love the ‘70s and I Love the ‘80s classics, where he put his penchant for (good-natured) snark to fine use.

He was correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1998-2003), including campaign coverage for Indecision 2000 and regular feature, “That’s Quite Interesting.” In 2004, Rocca served as floor correspondent for Larry King Live at both major party political conventions. As well, he was regular correspondent for NBC’s The Tonight Show (2004-2008) and covered the 2008 election for NBC. Fast-forward to now and Rocca is reporting correspondent to CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. In 2012 he became a regular contributor to the new CBS This Morning.

But wait, there’s more: Rocca appeared on Broadway as Douglas Panch in The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and on the silver screen as E! reporter in Bewitched (2005). Another feather in his cap: Rocca penned his satirical novel, All the Presidents’ Pets: The Story of One Reporter who Refused to Roll Over, in 2004.

I’m admittedly partial to Rocca’s food show appearances, but knowing there’s so much more behind the man makes him a bit of a superhero to me.

mo's the man!

mo’s the man!

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About Liz

Owner of deLizious Food Communications. Projects include recipe development, editing, and formatting; food writing and editing; nutrition analysis; public speaking and cooking instruction. Past and present clients: General Mills, Green Giant Fresh, Hormel, Minnesota Beef Council, Minnesota Soybean, Minnesota Pork Producers, Norwood Promotional Products, Pillsbury, Tad Ware, and Weight Watchers Publishing. Mother of two young girls.
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29 Responses to Mo Rocca, Mo Rockin’

  1. wdydfae says:

    The critics speak:

    “. . . deft, confident, sprightly . . .”

    “. . . Liz hits all the right notes in this skillful, career-spanning review . . .”

    “. . . this delightful thumbnail proves that Liz likes Mo, but most of all that we want mo’ and mo’ and mo’ . . . from Liz!”

    “. . . as Liz stretches and limbers up, we find out what we always suspected but could not confirm until now: the lady has range, versatility, and deep and still untapped reserves of pizazzy prose . . .”

    “. . . Liz is hardly off her ‘Rocca’ with this tightly written and seemingly effortless tribute . . . Bravo!”

    • Liz says:

      nice work, diddy! especially like the “off her Rocca” line–you do write these well 🙂 Here’s the really cool part: I tweeted this link to Mo and HE READ IT AND THANKED ME AND SHARED IT!!! So hopefully he caught your comment and you’ll be first in line to write his back-of-book reviews. Yeehaw.

      • wdydfae says:

        Oh, yeah, Mo’s really gonna want a blurb from me. I can see it now:

        “Mo Rocca’s latest simply Roccs my world!”
        –wdydfae, ridiculously obscure blogger whose opinions are of absolutely no interest to just about anybody in the world

        • Liz says:

          no one will accuse you of having a big head, diddy 😉 quite honestly, I don’t think any of us will hear from him again. But was glad to have connected even that tiny bit.

      • wdydfae says:

        Congrats on the response, btw Liz!

      • Bonnie says:

        That is just seven kinds of awesome!!! Wow…so very cool Liz!! Great post, completely, and while NOWHERE near the literary elegance found above…awesome job!! I love Mo also..have watched him on food shows also!!

        • Liz says:

          Thanks, Bonnie. I don’t need “literary elegance” in comments–appreciate you coming by even if you just brought a grunt (’cause that is so your style, haha) and a thumbs-up. Agreed Mo is awesome (could you tell that I’m a fan? 😉 ). Am wishing we had Cooking Channel again… Though I’ll always have YouTube 😀

  2. Kudos to Diddy for the great review! (How is any comment supposed to follow that?)

    I’ve seen Mo Rocca, but had no idea of his range and depth. Nice post, Liz!

  3. Dave says:

    So impressive Liz! You’re a master!

    I actually remember this guy from back in the days when I was following politics closely. Didn’t know he was food-related too!

    • Liz says:

      Thanks, Big D 😉 Always fun to see posts take shape–had no idea Mo had so much going on. Going to follow him more closely now. He seems to find a good balance between respect and snark. Though he’d make us all look like neanderthals with his highly developed sense of humor, Mo would make an excellent guest blogger here!

  4. ksbeth says:

    excellent post liz, i’ve always been a fan, didn’t know his whole story, such an interesting guy…

  5. Arto says:

    Liz! Awesome post! I wasn’t really familiar with Mr. Rocca but he’s now right up there with Al Gerio as one of my favorite named-nearly-after-african-countries folks. Ok, weak joke. But what a great post, and awesome job getting the tweetention. (Twitter attention…i have to stop making stupid words.)

    Also, Sir Diddy, those are some ultra wonderful reviews. Spectaculario!

    • Liz says:

      Thanks, Arto. Liking those exclamation marks. Makes me feel a bit less sad for amb not being here 😉 Weak or no, I like your named-nearly-after-African country jokes. heehee. And “tweetention” is brilliant. It that is not already part of urban dictionary, it should be. Outside of my deLiz facebook posts, which filter through twitter, I never tweet. So this was a big step for me 🙂

      So, keep it up with the stupid (your word, not mine) words. This is how our language moves forward. Woohoo.

  6. wdydfae says:

    Thanks, guys!

    Of course, I was just jealous that Liz did such a fantastic post and was trying to steal attention. Me, me, ME!!!!

    • Liz says:

      And didn’t I just say that you don’t have a big head? Just for that, I’m not going to whine for you. Ever.

      For real, though, those are really great quotes. You make me feel like I accomplished a lot of what I aspire to as a writer (tight sentence structure, etc) in this post 🙂

      • wdydfae says:

        I think that’s kind of slippery, Liz. You promised not to whine for me, but it leaves open the possibility that you will whine at me, at some yet to be determined time.

        Prrrrrrrrreeeetttttttyyyyy sly there, Ms. Culinary Expert Lady.

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  8. amb says:

    I know we say this all the time around here, but I can’t decide which I like more, the post or all of the awesome comment threads that came after it!

    Wait, yes I can. It was the post. This was such a fun read! I love how all of your research gets woven into your stories so deftly – I always feel like we’re chatting, and you’re not just hitting me over the head with a bunch of facts. Not that you’d ever hit me over the head. But you know what I mean 😉

    And we haven’t even gotten into all of the “tweetention” (thanks Arto) you got from writing it !!! So very cool.

    • Liz says:

      thanks for coming by, amb. (like you had a choice after my Hint) needed you here to get those Likes up 😉 Really, needed you here because you’re awesome, but gotta say this was one of my fave FNiFoods (excepting Crescent of course) and was curious why more folks didn’t show up. Blogging is funny that way. Have heard you say it, too, that the posts we like the best aren’t necessarily the most popular. I learned last week that if you put a picture of a pretty lady up and tag it as Hot Girl, the readers come in droves 😉 heehee

      Regardless, I enjoyed writing it so am glad you enjoyed the read. Have you heard of this guy? I can not say enough how cool I think he is. And not just because of that tweetention. (the word could also mean tweeting from detention, but am only thinking that because we were in visiting with Clare’s teacher this morning–haha) He’s just so derned smart and funny in a sly, dry way. Like he’s mocking us, but only because he likes us so much. Yep, reading way too much into Mo. Obviously quite a fan. So thanks for being here for my Mo Party 😀 It is never the same without you.

      • amb says:

        I would have come by even if there was no Hint – as if you’d be able to keep me away!! As for folks showing up – pfft. All the cool kids are here now anyway! 😉

        But I know what you mean bout those views. I love the little family that we’ve built for ourselves here … but who are we kidding, I love the attention too. It’s a great feeling to know that something you’ve written resonates with other folks, and it always surprises me to see when that does – and doesn’t! – happen.

        I hadn’t heard of Mo before, and am definitely going to be looking him up now (and following him on twitter!) And I totally get the “mocking from a place of love” attitude – I feel like my darling Jeff Winger on Community does that too 🙂

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  12. markbialczak says:

    This is soooo cool, Liz. My hero. And yes, I mean you, no Mo, this much later. 🙂

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