Our Network

Jon Favreau

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

Jon Lovett

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.

Tommy Vietor

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.

Dan Pfeiffer

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.

DeRay McKesson

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, 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.

Ana Marie Cox

Ana Marie Cox is a political columnist and cultural critic. In addition to hosting “With Friends Like These,” on Crooked Media, she is also the host of “The Churn,” a podcast about The Expanse TV series. She was the senior political correspondent for MTV News from 2016 until they pivoted to video.

Ira Madison III

Ira Madison III is a cultural critic and writer whose work has been featured in GQ, The Daily Beast, and Vulture among others. He has been named one of the “most reliably hilarious and incisive cultural critics writing now” by Nylon and recently dubbed a pop culture expert on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Madison is also a writer on the upcoming Netflix dramedy Daybreak.

Erin Ryan

Host, Hysteria
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.

Akilah Hughes

Akilah Hughes is a writer, comedian and YouTuber, recently residing in Los Angeles, CA. She’s been a digital correspondent for MTV, HBO, Fusion, Comedy Central and more. A Sundance Labs and USC MacArthur Foundation Civic Media Fellow, Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin Random House) published a collection of her personal essays titled Obviously: Stories from my Timeline in the fall of 2019. Her comedic YouTube channel, “It’s Akilah, Obviously!” has amassed more than 150,000 subscribers.

Gideon Resnick

Gideon Resnick is a national political reporter. Previously he was a staff reporter at the Daily Beast covering politics, the Democrats and the Left. His work has also appeared in VICE, the New York Observer, and the Atlantic, amongst others.

Abdul El-Sayed

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.

Rachel Bonnetta

Rachel Bonnetta is the host of LOCK IT IN on Fox Sports, and an aspiring American citizen (sorry Canada, she drank the Kool-aid). She has written and performed sketch comedy on tv, in LA’s finest empty comedy rooms and in front of her dog who she considers her manager. Rachel is also a huge sports fan and covered just about every sport under the sun including The Westminster Dog Show (they were all very good boys and girls if you ask me). Her first love was Vince Carter and her last love will be the Browns because that team will surely kill her.

Rachna Fruchbom

Rachna Fruchbom is a mom, writer and person whose bio is pretty short. She previously wrote on Parks and Recreation and most recently on Fresh Off The Boat until the end of its run. In between shows, she works on developing her own ideas [researching trails in Los Angeles she’d like to hike but isn’t going to]. Rachna is a native of Cleveland, where her deep love of sports was cultivated and destroyed, and born again and crushed and you get it….eventually it led to her co-hosting Crooked’s newest podcast Hall of Shame with Rachel Bonnetta.

Patrick Radden Keefe

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. A recipient of the National Magazine Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Patrick has reported on the chef Anthony Bourdain, the hunt for drug lord Chapo Guzman, and the mass shooter Amy Bishop. He is currently writing a book about the Sackler family and the opioid crisis.

Phillip Picardi

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.

Ben Rhodes

Ben Rhodes is the author of the New York Times bestseller The World As It Is; co-host of Pod Save the World; a contributor for NBC News and MSNBC; the co-chair of National Security Action; and an advisor to former President Barack Obama. From 2009-2017, Rhodes served as a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in nearly all of President Obama’s key decisions, and oversaw the President’s national security communications, speechwriting, public diplomacy and global engagement programming. He also led the secret negotiations with the Cuban government which 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. Prior to joining the Administration, he was a Senior Speechwriter and foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign. From 2002-2007, he worked for former Congressman Lee Hamilton, supporting his work on the 9/11 Commission and Iraq Study Group. A native New Yorker, Mr. Rhodes has a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A from New York University.

Alyssa Mastromonaco

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

Louis Virtel

Louis Virtel is a writer, comic, and pop culture commentator who recently hosted The Oscars All Access: Red Carpet Live, the official pre-Oscars interview show. As a journalist, his commentary has appeared in TIME, Vulture, and Paper Magazine. He has also written for Billy On The Street, Match Game, and TVLand’s Throwing Shade.

Aida Osman

Aida Osman is a comedian, actress, and writer. She was a staff writer and can be seen on the Complex Media sketch show Group Therapy. Prior to that she was a cast member on MTV’s Wild N’ Out. She has also done warm up comedy for Vice Live, was a panelist on MTV’s Need to Know and can be seen in the Comedy Central digital sketches You Didn’t Wanna Know and They Follow. Originally from Lincoln, NE, Aida spends way too much time on Twitter where she has swiftly built up a fanbase due to her observational musings, comedy and rap videos and the occasional mental breakdown.

Samuel Sinyangwe

Samuel Sinyangwe, 26, is a policy analyst and data scientist who works with communities of color to fight systemic racism through cutting-edge policies and strategies. Samuel co-founded Mapping Police Violence to support activists across the country to collect and use data to fight police violence and co-founded Campaign Zero to advocate for local, state, and federal policy solutions to end police violence. Samuel has been featured on MSNBC, CNN, BBC, LA Times, the Forbes 30 under 30 and The Root 100. Previously, Samuel worked at PolicyLink to support a national network of 61 Promise Neighborhoods communities to build cradle-to-career systems of support for low-income families. He grew up in Orlando, FL and graduated from Stanford University in 2012, where he studied how race and racism impact the U.S. political system.

De’Ara Balenger

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.

Kaya Henderson

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.

Rebecca Nagle

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.

Julissa Arce

Julissa Arce is a truly great speaker, writer and author of My (Underground) American Dream. She was named one of People en Español’s 25 Most Powerful Women of 2017, super fancy. Her book is being developed as a television series at FOX with producer America Ferrera. She doesn’t know when it will air. Julissa immigrated to America from Mexico at the age of 11 and was undocumented for almost 15 years, some of them spent rising to prominence on Wall Street at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. Julissa co-founded the Ascend Educational Fund (AEF). She serves on the board of directors of the National Immigration Law Center and CollegeSpring. She became an American citizen in 2014. She lives in Los Angeles with her two awesome cats and her fiancé. Julissa is working on her second book, Someone Like Me, and has many thousands of words left to write. FEATURES CNN: Ivanka Trump once loved the story of an undocumented immigrant CNBC: Here’s the myth about being an undocumented immigrant that drives me crazy BOLD: Is CCA Helping the Criminal Justice System or Just Rebranding?