HOST, POD SAVE AMERICA
Jon Favreau served as Barack Obama’s head speechwriter from 2005-2013, a role that was far more senior and influential than Jon Lovett’s. Since leaving the White House, Favreau has written and spoken about politics and speechwriting to audiences throughout the world. In 2017, he co-founded Crooked Media, where he’s a co-host of Pod Save America and host of The Wilderness. Jon grew up outside of Boston, graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Emily, their son Charlie, and their dog Leo
HOST, POD SAVE AMERICA | HOST, LOVETT OR LEAVE IT
Jon Lovett is a former presidential speechwriter, as well as a TV writer, podcast host, and straight shooter WIDELY respected on both sides. In 2017, he founded Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor, to build a progressive media network with shows, analysis, and sweet, sweet content that informs, entertains, and inspires action. There, he co-hosts “Pod Save America” and hosts “Lovett or Leave It,” two of the most popular political podcasts in the country. Before Crooked, he served as a presidential speechwriter in the Obama White House, co-created a comedy on NBC called “1600 Penn” (which was cancelled after one perfect season), and wrote speeches for Hillary Clinton. Jon was also once named “Washington’s funniest celebrity” before he left the nation’s capital forever.
HOST, POD SAVE AMERICA | HOST, POD SAVE THE WORLD
Tommy Vietor is a cofounder of Crooked Media, cohost of Pod Save America, and the host of the foreign-policy focused Pod Save the World. In a past life, he worked for President Obama for nine years, including a stint as White House National Security Spokesman. Originally from outside Boston, Vietor now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Hanna and their dog Lucca. He tweets too much.
HOST, POD SAVE AMERICA
Despite several members of the Morning Joe panel calling for his firing, Dan Pfeiffer served President Obama for eight years as his Communications Director on both the 2008 Campaign and in the White House and finally as Senior Advisor to the President. He is a CNN Political Contributor and the author of Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump. Dan was born in Delaware and has been banned from traveling to Russia by Donald Trump’s friend Vladimir Putin.
Ahmed Ali Akbar
Ahmed Ali Akbar is an audio journalist, James Beard Award-winning writer, and host of the “See Something Say Something” podcast.
Co-host, What A Day
Tre’vell Anderson (they/them) is an award-winning journalist, social curator, and world changer who always comes to slay! Named to The Root’s 2020 list of the 100 most influential African Americans, they have dedicated their career to centering those in the margins, grey spaces, and at the intersections of life through a pop culture lens. Tre’vell is currently Editor-At-Large for Toronto’s Xtra magazine and co-host of the Maximum Fun podcast, FANTI. Formerly the Director of Culture and Entertainment at Out magazine, Tre'vell got their start in journalism at the Los Angeles Times where they created the beat of diversity in Hollywood with a focus on Black and queer film.
Co-host, What A Day
Priyanka is a writer, editor, and the first person at Crooked to make the leap from the “Team” page onto the “Network” one! Exciting! Before joining the What A Day podcast, she started the What A Day newsletter, oversaw Crooked’s brand voice, led Vote Save America’s partnerships, and cooked with Jon Lovett on Instagram. She made it here in the first place because Lovett slid into her Twitter DMs (at first she thought he got hacked), and now, four years later, she’s co-hosting one show with more fun projects in the works! Dreams do come true! Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Real Simple, and her newsletter/brainchild, Shit I Bought And Liked.
NEWS CONTRIBUTOR, POD SAVE THE PEOPLE
De’Ara Balenger is an attorney, strategist and co-founder of Maestra, a social impact, communications and content strategy firm. She put in over a decade in public service including both domestic and international work to eradicate inequities in criminal justice systems, voting and politics. Her point of view is rooted in uplifting communities of color, holding institutions that claim to champion equity and anti-racism accountable, and building wealth and opportunity for people of color. De’Ara is also an advocate for getting organizations and individuals out of their silos – from the political world to the art world – she is a bridge – to arrive at a collective vision for the world we all want to see.
HOST & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TAKELINE
Jason is a writer, editor, gamer, reader, and NBA superfan who is best known for creating and hosting the Emmy-award winning digital series NBA Desktop, and co-hosting the popular podcast Binge Mode at The Ringer. Here at Crooked, he is leading efforts to expand our sports and entertainment content. Naturally, Jason wins the award for most eagerly anticipated arrival of all time to our “#athleticsandsporting” Slack channel.
HOST, MOTHER COUNTRY RADICALS
Zayd Dohrn was born underground and raised in New York City. His plays have been produced off-Broadway, across the country, and internationally, including in Brazil, Germany, Panama, Sweden, and China. Awards include the Horton Foote New American Play Prize, the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, the Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award, the Sky Cooper American Playwriting Prize, Theatre Master’s Visionary Playwright Award, and Lincoln Center’s Lecomte du Nouy Prize. Zayd has developed TV pilots for HBO and Showtime, and is currently writing feature screenplays for Netflix and FilmNation. He attended Columbia University, received his MFA from NYU, and was a two-year Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at Juilliard. He is a Professor and Director of the MFA in Writing for Screen + Stage at Northwestern.
HOST, AMERICA DISSECTED
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed gained national attention after leaving his post as the health commissioner of Detroit to run for governor in 2018 as a direct result of the public health crises’ sweeping across the United States. He ran a campaign that was backed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and his forthcoming book, “Moral Medicine” (Abrams Press) diagnoses our country’s epidemic of insecurity and the empathy politics we will need to treat it.
Host, Dare We Say
Yasmine Hamady is a trained actress with a BFA in theatre performance from Chapman University. Her most recent projects include an upcoming indie movie Pretty Boy from [production company tbd]. Standing at just 5’2 tall, Yasmine gives all the 6 ft energy to everything she does from social and political activism to her love for Shakespeare to her Arab pride.
NEWS CONTRIBUTOR, POD SAVE THE PEOPLE
Kaya Henderson has brought her love of people and her commitment to solving problems to every job she has ever held. She is most known for serving as the Chancellor of DC Public Schools from 2010 through 2016 – the only time in the district’s history when student results, student enrollment, and student satisfaction saw unprecedented gains. More recently, she led Teach For All’s Community Impact Lab, a global effort to ensure communities have the opportunity to participate in their students’ educational success. Kaya started her career as a middle school Spanish teacher in the South Bronx. She went on to lead early recruitment efforts for Teach for America and to revolutionize human capital policy and practice through her work at The New Teacher Project. Kaya has served as a board member and advisor to an impressive range of influential organizations from The Aspen Institute to the Robin Hood Foundation. She graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Foreign Service, a M.A. in Leadership, and was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Myles E. Johnson
News Contributor, Pod Save The People
Myles E. Johnson, also known as Rapture, is an artist, public intellectual, and spiritual advisor. Their work has been featured in New York Times, Buzzfeed, MTV, and more.
Patrick Radden Keefe
HOST, WIND OF CHANGE
Patrick Radden Keefe is an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker, and author of New York Times-bestseller Say Nothing (which received the Orwell Prize for Political Writing and was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the “10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade”) and of two previous books, The Snakehead and Chatter.
Co-Host, X-Ray Vision
Rosie Knight is a journalist and author who’s been writing professionally since 2005. Her career has taken her around the world and, although she hails from London, she currently resides in Los Angeles where she writes full time. She started her journalism career at the Eisner-winning WWAC in 2016. Since then she has written for sites including Nerdist, IGN, The Hollywood Reporter, Esquire, Den of Geek, DC Comics, /Film, BuzzFeed, and Refinery29. She’s the author of Cougar and Cub and The Haunted High Tops. A lifelong comic book fan, Rosie has carved an award-winning career out of writing about comics and now takes great joy in writing them herself.
Host, Strict Scrutiny
Leah Litman is an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School. She clerked for Judge Sutton on the Sixth Circuit and Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Leah researches and writes about constitutional law and federal courts. She also maintains an active pro bono practice. In addition to federal sentencing and all things SCOTUS, Leah’s other favorite conversation topics are her mini goldendoodle puppy, Stevie Nicks, and reality television, particularly RuPaul’s Drag Race. In her quiet moments, Leah reminds herself of Bianca Del Rio (or Sasha Velour, during her finale lip syncs).
Ira Madison III
HOST, KEEP IT
Ira Madison III is a cultural critic, TV writer, and host of the podcast Keep It. His work has been featured in GQ, Vulture, The Cut, and MTV News. As a television writer, he’s written for Uncoupled, Q-Force, Nikki Fre$h, and Daybreak. His debut essay collection Pure Innocent Fun will be published by Random House in 2024
Alyssa Mastromonaco’s first book, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea, about her time working for President Obama and being a short woman with gastrointestinal issues and an advocate for free tampons was a New York Times Best Seller and she is very proud of that. She followed that book up with So Here’s the Thing, a compilation of essays addressing everything from her first acid trip to very sound career advice! (No, seriously. It’s good!) Her favorite segment on #Hysteria is Fuck That Guy because — honestly, Fuck that Guy. She loves pinot noir, making jams, Persian rescue cats, jambands generally, the Grateful Dead specifically and if she could have lunch with one person it would either be Stevie Nicks or Jennifer Aniston. FEATURES Politico: What My Friendship With Monica Lewinsky Taught Me About #MeToo Refinery29: Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco On Democratic Candidates… & Bachelor in Paradise
HOST, POD SAVE THE PEOPLE
DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds an honorary doctorate from The New School. DeRay has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and the co-founder of Campaign Zero and OurStates.org, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies to ensure equity. Spurred by the death of Mike Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, DeRay has become a key voice in the effort to confront the systems and structures that have led to the mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations. DeRay was named as one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and as one of the 30 Most Influential People On The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016.
Host, Strict Scrutiny
Melissa Murray is a Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, where she teaches constitutional law, family law, criminal law, and reproductive rights and justice and writes about the legal regulation of intimate life. Melissa clerked for Judge Stefan Underhill on the District of Connecticut and for Justice Sotomayor when she served on the Second Circuit. When she’s not reading the SCOTUS tea leaves, she’s practicing the violin, reading People magazine, and keeping up with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. Seriously.
HOST, THIS LAND
Rebecca Nagle is an award winning advocate and writer focused on advancing Native rights and ending violence against Native women. Nagle is a citizen of Cherokee Nation and a two spirit/ queer woman. You can find her views on issues of Native representation and tribal sovereignty in Washington Post, USA Today, Teen Vogue, the Huffington Post and more. In 2016, Nagle was named one of the National Center American Indian Enterprise Development’s Native American 40 Under 40 for her work to support Native American survivors of rape and abuse. Nagle lives in Tahlequah, OK where she works for her tribe on language revitalization by day and does freelance writing by night.
Co-Host, Another Russia
Zhanna Nemtsova is a Russian journalist and social activist. Nemtsova is the co-founder of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, located in Bonn, Germany. The foundation aims to promote the ideas of freedom and democracy and keep alive the memory of her father Boris Nemtsov, who was a member of the Russian opposition and was killed in 2015. She is the author of the Russian bestselling book “My Father’s Daughter,” an intimate story about Boris Nemtsov and her family. She has received the PEC Prize for the Protection of Journalists (2016), the International Women of Courage Award (2016), and the Solidarity Prize (2015) for advocating for democracy and human rights. Her work has appeared on Deutsche Welle, RBK, among others.
Host, Dare We Say
Alycia Pascual-Peña is an up and coming Afro-Latina actress who’s on track to becoming one of young Hollywood’s ones to watch. From the Bronx, New York, she fell in love with performing at just three years old and has continued to develop a strong passion for the arts. She made the move to Los Angeles after booking her debut role as ‘Aisha’ in Peacock's Saved By The Bell. Alycia also starred in Amy Poehler's Netflix feature MOXIE. Alycia’s Dominican heritage fuels her passion to amplify marginalized voices and bring about social justice.
Anne Helen Petersen
Host, Work Appropriate
Anne Helen Petersen writes the popular newsletter and substack Culture Study, and is the author of four books, most recently Out of the Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working From Home (co-written with Charlie Warzel) and Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation. Anne received her Ph.D. in media studies from the University of Texas, and was formerly a senior culture writer at BuzzFeed News.
HOST, UNHOLIER THAN THOU
Phillip Picardi is an award-winning journalist and editor, best known for his role in helping to rebrand and reinvigorate Teen Vogue. Under Picardi’s leadership, the digital audience of Teen Vogue grew from just 2 million unique visitors per month to over 12 million, making the Condé Nast title the fastest-growing women’s magazine in America for two years running. Picardi was dubbed “The Prince of Condé Nast” by The New York Times, and went on to launch a community-driven platform for LGBTQ+ youth called them, which amassed over 200,000 Instagram followers organically in under a year’s time. It was during them‘s growth period that Picardi was tapped to rebrand and relaunch Out Magazine, the largest and most influential publication for the queer and trans community. During Picardi’s editorial work, he has contributed to brand campaigns and experiential for clients like Levi’s, Madewell, Express, Burberry, and Nike. He is also the recipient of multiple accolades and awards, including Fast Company‘s 100 Most Creative People, the Forbes 30 Under 30, the AdWeek Hot List, ASME nominations, and more.
CO-HOST, POD SAVE THE WORLD & Another Russia
Ben Rhodes is a writer, political commentator, and national security analyst. He is currently a contributor for NBC News and MSNBC; co-host of Pod Save the World; a senior advisor to former President Barack Obama; and chair of National Security Action, which he co-founded with Jake Sullivan in 2018. From 2009-2017, Ben served as a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in all of President Obama’s key decisions, and oversaw the President’s national security communications, speechwriting, and public diplomacy. He led the secret negotiations with the Cuban government that resulted in the effort to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, and supported the negotiations to conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, “After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made,” and “The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House.” His work has also been published in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs. A native New Yorker, Ben has a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A from New York University.
Josie Duffy Rice
Co-host, What A Day
Josie Duffy Rice is a journalist and law school graduate whose work is primarily focused on prosecutors, prisons, and other criminal justice issues. Until May, she was President of The Appeal, a news publication that publishes original journalism about the criminal justice system. Currently she is working on her first book. Josie co-hosts the podcast Justice in America. She is a 2020 New America Fellow, a 2019-2021 Type Media Fellow, and a Civic Media Fellow at University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Slate, among others. She was recently named one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in Government and Politics. Josie received her law degree from Harvard Law School and her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children.
Jennifer Romolini is an award-winning writer, editor, and author of "Weird in a World That's Not: A Career Guide for Misfits" and the upcoming memoir, “Ambition Monster” (Atria Books, 2024). A longtime media executive, Romolini is the host of Crooked Media’s latest series “STIFFED”, which tells the true story of VIVA, one the first erotic magazines for women, and co-host of the “Everything is Fine” podcast with former Lucky Magazine editor-in-chief, Kim France. She started her career as a magazine fact checker working at Talk, Lucky, Glamour, Cosmo, and Allure. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, ELLE, Vogue, Fast Company, and many magazines that no longer exist.
Erin is the host of Hysteria, a writer for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and an op-ed contributor to The Daily Beast. In the past, she’s appeared as a talking head on CNN, HLN, MSNBC, the BBC, and other lamestream media outlets as she patiently waits by the phone for her call from Fox News. Her voice has shown up on NPR, the CBC, the BBC, and other non-Hysteria podcasts like Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Playboy, Runner’s World, and on Jezebel, where she was an editor and founded the site’s political blog called The Slot (marketing hated that name!). In 2018, she won a New York Press Club award for humor writing for her coverage of the women of Team Trump. Erin graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in English. In high school, she was the Wisconsin State President of the Future Homemakers of America, a real club that existed with that name until after Y2K. She got her first writing job because an editor liked her contributions to a blog’s comment section and her first TV writing job because a guy who created a TV show thought she had a funny Twitter account, so let this be a lesson to all you kids out there: being a jackass online might not be a waste of your time! Originally from Frederic, Wisconsin, Erin currently lives in Los Angeles with her fiance, his dog, and her cat.
Host, Strict Scrutiny
Kate Shaw is a Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, in New York City. She teaches Constitutional Law, Legislation, Administrative Law, and a seminar on the Supreme Court, and writes about executive power, the law of democracy, and reproductive rights and justice. Before becoming a law professor she worked in the Obama White House Counsel’s Office, and before that was a clerk to Justice Stevens and Judge Posner. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, three kids, and pandemic puppy Shadow.
Co-host, What A Day
Juanita Tolliver is a veteran political strategist and political analyst. Currently, she is an MSNBC Political Analyst, Opinion Contributor for theGrio, and a Contributor and Guest Host for Sirius XM Progress. Juanita is the former National Political Director for Supermajority, and the former Director of Campaigns at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where she advised candidates at the presidential and congressional levels, led polling and research initiatives, and shaped policy advocacy campaigns in partnership with progressive organizations. Juanita is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Host, Dare We Say
Josie Totah is a multi-talented actress, writer, producer and comedian. She can be seen starring in and producing NBCU’s Peacock reboot of SAVED BY THE BELL, hit Netflix animated series BIG MOUTH and Amy Poehler directed feature MOXIE. Both Josie and her projects have received strong recognition including an individual nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards and series win for Best Comedy Series at the 2022 GLAAD Awards.
CO-HOST, KEEP IT
Louis Virtel is a comic, writer for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, co-host of Keep It, and pop culture commentator, whose work has appeared in TIME, Vulture, and Paper Magazine. He is an expert in all things pop culture and trivia related.
HOST, STUCK WITH DAMON YOUNG
Damon Young is a writer, critic, and satirist. His debut memoir What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays (Ecco/HarperCollins) won the 2020 Thurber Prize for American Humor and Barnes & Noble's 2019 Discover Award. Damon is also a columnist for The Washington Post Magazine, a founder of the culture blog VerySmartBrothas, and has written for The New York Times, GQ, The Atlantic, Esquire, Time Magazine, New York Magazine, The Undefeated, EBONY, and The Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Co-Host, X-Ray Vision
Cody Ziglar is a writer, director, and producer who currently writes for RICK AND MORTY and Marvel Comics. He’s previously written on the upcoming Disney+/Marvel show SHE-HULK as well as CRAIG OF THE CREEK and ROBOT CHICKEN. His comic work includes Amazing Spider-Man, Miles Morales: Spider Man, and Heroes Reborn: Siege Society #1. Cody has also produced major podcasts for Earwolf, iHeartRadio and UCB Comedy, as well as creating his own, The Dark Weeb Podcast, that focuses on comic books, anime, and every other aspect of nerd culture. Cody also kills the twitter game.