One thing that always seems to thrive in political and social chaos is comedy—the sting of reality seems more bearable with a laugh track. Every day, it seems like there’s new earth-shaking headlines in the news, whether another Twitter tirade by the president of our neighbours down south, or another attempt by the American senate to repeal and replace Obamacare.
This comedic relief on bleak political news is exactly what the podcast Lovett or Leave It offers its listeners every week—a chance to relax while staying informed. As a former speechwriter for Obama, Jon Lovett hosts the eponymous comedy podcast that tackles the week’s news, with a heavy focus on American politics from a left-wing perspective. Every week, the host invites a panel of three guests that can include comedians, activists, sitting senators, or state governors. These guests then proceed to tackle the week’s top headlines through the format of a game show.
Lovett or Leave It succeeds in its aim to be simultaneously informative and engaging because of the casual nature of discussion. The show, which is usually held at the Improv Comedy Club in Los Angeles before a live audience, begins with Lovett going through the week’s highlights in a segment called “What a Week.” In this segment, he lays out the situation for the panel. Often, panelists ask Lovett questions about topics on their minds, such as complex matters like policy and health care legislation.
My favourite segment is the one that usually follows the news roundup—”Okay, Stop.” A news clip is played and the host and panelists yell, “Okay, stop!” The clip is paused and a rant by the panelists ensue.
Surprisingly this segment translates well over the podcast, though the listener can’t see the clip. Instead, the listener can hear the audience’s reaction. Lovett then pulls an audience member to the stage to play the week’s quiz game. One beloved recurring game is “Too Stupid to be True,” where an audience member must distinguish from a series of Trump’s tweets and soundbites to figure out which outlandish statement is, in fact, not true.
The show ends with Lovett spinning the “Rant Wheel.” Whichever topic the wheel lands on, he and the guests rant about it. This is the segment where Lovett, in all his snark and sass, can be found in full form. Topics he has ranted about for minutes at a time are Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the new Blade Runner movie, and the four upcoming Avatar sequels that he vehemently commented that “no one asked for.”
Lovett or Leave It is a hilarious podcast for the casual politics listener.