tv Meet the Presss Press Pass NBC October 12, 2014 11:30am-11:46am EDT
this week on "press pass," politics, of course, is full of some cringe-worthy moments of late. connecting the legs like craig, sanford and wiener. mario carella turned those moments into a off-broadway play called "tailspin" whose text is actually made up of actual e-mails, quotes and text messages involved in those scandals. mario, rachel, welcome. i have to start with, okay. the premise of the play, we named it, larry craig, infamous for wide stance. mark foley, the page scandal
that we had in '06. mark sanford, mr. appalachian trail. then anthony weiner, the one with twitter. give me -- what's the plot? like what's the premise here? >> the premise is that you've got these four famous politic n politicians doing incredibly stupid things. famous for the wrong reasons. we have politicians that do this kind of stuff all the time. all of us make mistakes but these guys made mistakes on an epic level. i wanted to show politicians who really blundered, using only the actual things they said. >> that's your screen play. you're using their words. give me the plot line. >> we start by meeting all of the politicians actually getting sworn in. rachel as the clerk of the house swears them all in as they originally were. they were originally all house members. then we start each scene
separately. we see larry craig from rise to fall. then we see wiener from rise to fall. foley -- >> every time you say "wiener rise to fall," you get laughter? >> we're only using actual quotes so wiener never said that. >> rachel plays all of the wives, all of the mistresses, all of the texting/tweeting partners and of course barbara walters. she is like in this spinning role in every single scene, every time someone does right or wrong vis-a-vis a woman. >> this isn't a one-woman play but it almost is. >> there's four actors playing each of these politicians. i'm bouncing throughout. but actually each actor plays a bunch of different roles like in other people's main stories. we're all kind of doing multiple roles there. yeah. >> how did you study for it? how do you study up to become jenny sanford? did you call jenny sanford who might have helped? >> some of them i actually watched.
some i just thought i think she would probably be like this. i'm not a master impressionist. some of them i just had a vibe for them. some of them i actually watched the tape. so that's kind of what i did. >> she's being modest. literally the house goes crazy when she switches between these roles, whether it's barbara walters, then going to jenny sanford. >> explain the barbara walters role. what's her role in this? >> she did an interview with jenny sanford for "20-20." that's where much of the jenny sanford quotes came from that interview. so then barbara's just -- i love doing barbara in this because she's kind of just the bystander so she's just there to interview. barbara, you cannot get offended because you're just the interviewer. >> there is one select line from that that ends the whole show.
but aside from that, barbara's just interviewing jenny. so yeah. she's like you did not stand next to your husband! >> that's true. she's the one that stands out, larry craig's wife did. huma did with anthony weiner. mark foley had a partner. >> yeah. i don't want to ruin anything but jenny is like -- i think by the time jenny rolls around the audience is like -- like they're just psyched to see more than we expected like we realize, oh, yeah, she's the only one that's like, yeah, screw this. >> fascinating of all the four scandals, larry craig has disappeared. we don't know where he is. a lobbyist -- that's right. but mark sanford doesn't go away. >> oh, my gosh. >> when did you start writing this play? >> i started about two years ago. and basically originally i thought i would do a fictionalized play. i wanted to write a story based on members of contact-- come in
contact with. >> you work for are a long-time congresswoman from maryland, the old-time rockefeller republican. sort of created to find her. he you worked as an aide to her. >> loved her. she was amazing. in that job i got to see mark foley close up and got to know him a little bit socially. i thought it was so weird how he lived these really very separate lives, very out socially very not out politically. i wanted to write a fictionalized play of a congressman who's living a double life. reading the transcripts i realized you can't make this stuff up. nothing i could write in a play would would be believable. people have to actually see what these guys said for themselves only from the actual texts. >> watching what's been happening in pop culture, whether playwrights, the lbj
play took off, this is more humorous. there are more serious. why is there a new fascination of the entertainment world of sort of enjoying politics as sort of making that -- do you have a theory? >> i feel like -- >> like the good wife, madam secretary, we now have more tv shows. is there more of an audience? >> i feel like it is a constant thing. just from my "snl" background, if you watch the first "snl" to current, there's always the political sketch. i just think it is always there to make fun of politics. i don't really -- there was the west wing before. >> is it an audience pleaser? >> we get a lot of laughs over it. don't know if it is like beating up. there's tension and people want the laugh over the tension that they're feeling. >> researching these quotes, i came across one from abe lincoln -- not to get let's go back to abe lincoln. he did say, "i love because i must not cry." i think that's kind of the thing
behind our show. people do want to laugh because we're all so depressed about the state of our politicians and our government. this at least lets us sort of release that in a fun way. >> you just remind me though that those warren g. harding letters just came out too a couple of months ago. you should stick those in the show. >> those were steamy! even for the '20s. >> then show a big portrait. >> i want to get into -- you're putting him on the couch a little bit. after the break. more in a moment. much
play maker.. check out my ultimate meats pizza. uh huh, looks great. five meats working together. i love it. a team of ingredients. you're trying to make a football joke. yeah, funny? brutal actually. stick to pizza. anncr: pepperoni, salami, sausage, canadian and hickory smoked bacon. up your game, with the new ultimate meats pizza. a large for $12 dollars. add a mega chocolate chip cookie for just $5 dollars more. better ingredients. better pizza. better football. papa john's.
welcome back to "press pass." we're talking about the play "tail! spin!" about four elected leaders whose inability to keep their pants up was their downfall. mario, rachel, thank you. let's start about the idea of the hidden lives. you talk about originally you wanted to focus on mark foley who was basically leading a double life. which this day and age, just years later he probably wouldn't be hiding his double life. it would be particularly representing south florida, it is a different place. we've got larry craig who is hiding something. anthony weiner hiding mething. mark sanford hiding a relationship. there is a string here. >> some of these guys were quite hypocritical in their personal and political life. a lot of them are moralists. like do this. they legislated in a person way and lived in a very different way. the case of anthony weiner, it
is a case of narcissism gone to an incredible level, this belief that i think ties all four stories, we all make mistakes in our personal life. politicians are not unique in that way but these guys felt they could take these crazy risks and do really outrageous things and not get caught because the rules didn't apply to them. that's why this is interesting to watch. it is not because we want to laugh at politicians making mistakes. it's like, well, a reasonable person would know you can't do this kind of stuff and expect it to work out well. >> whether it's bathroom behavior, twitter behavior, whatever it is. rachel, is this a case where -- i always like thought you'll know women have cracked the glass ceiling in politics when a woman has her first sex scandal. >> i know! that's with a i was thinking. >> is this just the way men are wired? >> well, i am no expert on that. but i was thinking part way through the rehearsal process i was thinking, this would be cool to like -- what if the woman came out with -- but i couldn't
think of anybody, a female politician. >> we just haven't had it. >> first, the ratio of female politicians is so much lower. being on "snl," there were so many fewer women to even play. but that said, i can't think of a female -- >> we haven't really had one. that's what you wonder, is it just simply a numbers game where, over time, or is it the way that -- >> seems like once the guy gets power be's like, how can i use this. you know? how can i land in the sack? i want the male brain. >> the other theory is all of them didn't have much of a social life say in high school? suddenly now some of them get a social life. there's that theory of the case. >> it's an amazing thing. once a guy has power. the wiener case sort of showed this. he talked about how he was in a business where seeking approval was all he did. he's like i want more approval. and more. now i want it online now i want it at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. at least that was his thinking.
but rachel as barbara walters asks, why do men do it? >> why do men do it? we don't know. you're off to make your own answers from the show, i guess. >> jenny sanford is a big hero. what about huma? >> huma's kind of -- she's more in our production she's a little more on the side. jenfy's like -- we really used her a lot. >> she was pretty outspoken. she gave you a lot of script. >> exactly. huma, we actually added her later in the process sort of. she's there sort of more as like a foil to anthony. but she did stand by her man. >> that was a challenge for us really. we were trying to think about why would a woman as accomplished as huma who has this still stand by him? i think that was the trickiest thing, her motivation. to vindicate her own journey like what happened to hillary. >> talk about sanford. you're in the middle of writing this thing and mark sanford does
the epic facebook post. i breakup of the argentinean mistress. >> when i thought, look, they're soulmates. i guess he did the right thing. when they broke up, it's kind of shifted your whole view of him a little bit. the reason i said i was happy, it suddenly made this really current like it gave us like an "of the moment" -- >> it didn't feel right. this is all two, three years old. >> it's always happening so it still felt like this dynamic is always happening. it gave it like up to the minute change script. >> what about the kissing congressman, our friend from louisiana? did you almost include him? >> rachel wouldn't kiss on the stage. is one who was kissing his staffer while sort of -- on videotape. >> i don't know about that. >> just another member of congress. >> that's part