Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Behind the Scenes at the YOUTH Forum Press Conference

A guest blog post from Danielle Joseph, YOUTH Forum Associate.

Many of you have heard of the Youth Forum, but do you really know what they do? Sure they have monthly meetings with 200 students, they take trips to colleges, they go to local plays, but one of the most sought-after activities is the opportunity to interview the celebrity panelists before they ever go on stage at The Bushnell, as a part of the pre-Forum press conference.

At the YOUTH Forum Press Conference, eight lucky high school students get to interview people like Elizabeth Edwards, Malcolm Gladwell, and Mo Rocca. At our recent Forum, It's Satire!, the students got to meet and talk with panelists Samantha Bee, Jason Alexander, Randy Cohen and David Javerbaum.

YOUTH Forum students at the press conference.

The 30 minutes of discussion was exciting, interesting, and hilarious. Samantha Bee passionately discussed universal health care and her beloved Canadian system.

Samantha Bee emphasizes her point.

Youth Forum student Isaac Silk questioned Jason Alexander about his view on becoming the iconic George Costanza. (Turns out, he has no regrets!) Alexander also talked candidly about the effects of fame on his family and personal life.

Jason Alexander responds to a student inquiry.

Randy Cohen got caught up in the conversation of whether satire should or should not be politically inclined. The Ethicist was quick to question our students back on this question. At the end of the night, each of the students walked away not only meeting a funny celebrity but making a personal connection to a fascinating individual.

From left to right: Randy Cohen, Jason Alexander, Samantha Bee and David Javerbaum,
ready to answer YOUTH Forum questions.

YOUTH Forum students and the panelists pose together.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Behind the scenes with Jason Alexander, Samantha Bee, David Javerbaum & Randy Cohen

Photo courtesy of Nick Caito, Fox 61 News

Can't get enough of our It's Satire! panelists? Neither can we! Check our their answers to our backstage questionnaire, and stay tuned for more photos and videos from behind the scenes coming soon!

What is your favorite place in the world? Why?

David Javerbaum: My mother's womb...because I was happy there.

Samantha Bee: My cottage in the Catskills is my favorite place. When I go there with my family we instantly transform into out best, most relaxed, pink cheeked selves.

Jason Alexander: To hard to choose a favorite, but one of the most beautiful places is Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia.

Randy Cohen: Central Park-that urban jewel. It's the finest municipal park in America.

What is something you can't live without?

David Javerbaum: My lymphatic system.

Samantha Bee: My children and my husband.

Jason Alexander: My family, including the dog. Things are not something I get overly attached to as my entire childhood home was robbed by 8 men in a moving van when I was little.

Randy Cohen: A feeling of remorse.

What book are you currently reading?

David Javerbaum: Hop on Pop. (I have a two year old)

Samantha Bee: The Sheriff of Yrnameer by Mike Rubens (friend, ex-Daily Show producer)

Jason Alexander: Giants by Jonathan Stauffer a comparative study of the life and times of Frederick Douglas and Abe Lincoln.

Randy Cohen: Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel's Booker winner.

What is always in your fridge?

David Javerbaum: Cold air.

Samantha Bee: Whole milk, eggs, Perrier, broccoli, onions, and yogurt. I am boring.

Jason Alexander: Deodorant.

Randy Cohen: Hummus.

What surprises people about you?

David Javerbaum: When I jump out of a giant birthday cake.

Samantha Bee: That I am short, and nice.

Jason Alexander: Any discernible intelligence.

Randy Cohen: My having a refrigerator full of hummus.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fans & Teammates Remember UConn Football Player Jasper Howard

Rentschler Field was awash with the number 6 on Saturday afternoon, as teammates, fans and students remembered Jasper Howard, the University of Connecticut football player who was killed on campus two weeks ago.

Our YOUTH Forum Associate, Danielle Joseph, was there for the pre-game ceremonies and shared her thoughts about the tribute to Howard.

"At the UConn game on Saturday, everyone felt a sense of loss. Not because of the final score but because of the missing player, Jazz. For the few moments of silence the whole stadium seemed united. Even those of us who had never met him were overwhelmed by the unity the team, the fans, the band and the cheerleaders, showed by their proud display of the #6. Even though I had never met him I think Jazz would have been proud to see how many people he touched.”

Photo courtesy of