While Jennifer Granholm enjoys a hard-earned summer vacation this week, we are thrilled to welcome guest host John Fugelsang into “The War Room.” “As a fan of ‘The War Room,’ it’s an honor to fill in with this wonderful staff and crew,” John says. “And it’s fitting that I begin my substitute tenure for Gov. Granholm on Paul McCartney’s birthday, because I feel like Ringo — I’m just glad to be here.”
Tonight John will kick off his tenure with a discussion of Mitt Romney’s ability, or inability, in this case, to take a strong stand on issues important to voters with Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, who received her Ph.D. from Duke University, and investigative reporter Josh Israel from ThinkProgress.org. We’ll also be kicking off a five-part series profiling openly LGBT candidates for state and local office with congressional candidate Kyrsten Sinema and her campaign in Arizona. And we’ll dive into health care and the SCOTUS ruling on it, which is due any day now, with senior editor from The New Republic Noam Scheiber.
“Governor Granholm’s team brings us one of the smartest, most passionate and politically astute broadcast in all of TV,” John says. “And I look forward to dragging the entire thing down to my level.”
You don’t want to miss this special week in “The War Room.” If you’re interested in knowing a little bit more about our guest host, here’s a quick list of entertaining and sometimes relevant facts about Fugelsang:
1. He once interviewed Paul McCartney in London and George Harrison in New York — in the same week. And he once gave a glass of water to Ringo.
2. He appeared on “Politically Incorrect” more than 20 times, debating Jerry Falwell, David Duke, Erica Jong, Ariana Huffington, Ralph Nader, Michael Steele and Christine O’Donnell; Bill Maher called him “one of my favorite comedians.”
3. He recently returned from entertaining U.S. troops in El Salvador and Honduras, and last year he played for U.S. troops on their humanitarian mission in Haiti.
4. His mother is an ex-nun and his father was a Franciscan brother. His off-Broadway solo show, “Guilt: A Love Story,” was developed during an artist residency at Dartmouth and was nominated for the Drama League’s Distinguished Performance Award. “Guilt: A Love Story” is currently touring, and The New Yorker calls it “a knock ‘em dead story.” And here’s NPR’s story on it.
5. He’s currently performing to sold-out houses around the country on a political comedy tour with Progressive Radio host Stephanie Miller and comedian Hal Sparks. Aretha Franklin came to see them in Detroit, and Lily Tomlin and Rob Reiner have both appeared. John’s also a producer of the tour.
6. The live album of the Sexy Liberal Tour, “Volume 1,” is the first political album to hit No. 1 on the Amazon, iTunes and Billboard comedy charts.
7. In March 2012, while appearing on CNN’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien,” Fugelsang asked a question of Mitt Romney communications director Eric Fehrnstrom that led to the infamous “Etch a Sketch” comment.
8. He’s been featured on MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, “The Dennis Miller Show,” Air America, NPR, CNBC and Current TV. He’s a regular on MSNBC’s “UP with Chris Hayes,” CNN’s “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien,” HLN’s “The Joy Behar Show” and Progressive Talk’s “The Stephanie Miller Show.” He’s a regular guest host for “Stephanie Miller,” has co-hosted the conservative “Jay Severin Show” and has been published on The Huffington Post and the Daily Kos.
He’s also a regular on Current TV’s “The Young Turks” and has guest hosted “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.” Oh, he also once co-hosted “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”
9. “CSI” – dead drug mule/con man. “Becker” – psychopath. “Providence” – sleazy lawyer. “Coyote Ugly” – crooked club owner. “Somewhere in the City” – sex scene with Sandra Bernhard.
10. British GQ and the New York Post call him “hilarious”; The New Yorker says, “He has the soul of an iconoclast”; and former Klansman David Duke says, “This man hates himself.”
11. He’s appeared at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival, HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, the Las Vegas Comedy Festival and the South Beach Comedy Festival in Miami. He was named Outstanding NY Monologist at Lincoln Center by the M.A.C. He also runs standup and spoken word shows in New York City and Los Angeles that combine comedians, spoken-word artists, hip-hop poets, celebrity storytellers and monologists.
12. He’s interviewed Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, Yoko Ono, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, Joey Ramone, Carlos Santana, James Taylor, Bo Diddley, Stevie Nicks, Robbie Robertson, Ravi Shankar, Beyonce Knowles, Olivia Harrison, Garth Brooks, Dave Matthews and Carl Reiner.
13. He co-hosted “America’s Funniest Videos” with Daisy Fuentes. And he did an adult literacy series for PBS. Basically, same gig.
14. He wrote, developed and hosted two highly rated series for VH1-UK and co-hosted “Watercooler,” the only intentionally funny show on TV Guide Network. He also recently appeared, in heavy aging makeup, on the Onion News Network on IFC.
15. He recently wrapped the independent feature “Price Check” opposite Parker Posey, which recently screened at Sundance. He plays two roles in the upcoming romantic comedy “The Whole Truth” starring Elisabeth Rohm and Eric Roberts, screening at New York City’s Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival.
16. He’s Irish, Danish and German, which means he gets drunk, hides the Jews and looks for them.
Bonus details: We parked him in the intern nook, but he’s working like a pro! Look for him co-hosting yet another tour, The Politics, Sex and Religion tour with Hal Sparks, kicking off in Santa Fe in July.