The Hook Laughs With, Not at UT

Local comedian Andrew Rosas hosts Texas Exes web series

UT has many beloved spokespersons, like the late Bill Livingston, who wished us aging UT alums “goodbye and good luck” on the old TEX registration system, sports announcer Craig Way, and probably some deans. But it’s time to open our hearts to one more: local comedian and new host of The Hook, Andrew Rosas.

Andrew Rosas (photo by Erin Holsonback)

The Hook (Texas Exes’ comedic, YouTube news show about UT) went in search of a new host late last year. After a gauntlet of auditions and series of writing challenges, each more esoteric than the one before, they selected Austin’s own Andrew Rosas. The show is an all-but-family-friendly series that focuses on educating the public about the happenings around UT. That’s a change of pace for Rosas, whose other work includes performing in the Austin-based sketch group STAG Comedy and lampooning some of Hollywood’s semiprecious gems with the comedy troupe Master Pancake. This has afforded him both the opportunity to exercise some new comedic muscles and the chance to meet some pretty cool people doing some pretty cool things.

While The Hook is a comedy news show, it is not satire like The Daily Show or the Colbert Report. “[The Hook] can’t be too much like the Daily Show, Colbert, or Last Week Tonight,” says Rosas, “because those shows tend to take a subject or people, and take them down or at least put them in, maybe not an unfavorable light, but a different light, for comedic purposes. We’re doing stuff – cool, interesting, positive stuff – for the university. So it can’t be too irreverent.” As a result, “[t]he comedy has to come from somewhere else, and in that way it presents a pretty fun challenge, a unique challenge.” Finding a way to work comedy into a news show without the acidity of a satire isn’t easy, but that’s one way Rosas makes the show a little more his. He describes his version of The Hook as “quite a bit sillier” than past incarnations. “There’s a certain amount of Looney Tunes elements in the show,” says Rosas. “Stuff that’s pretty cartoonish.” As the host and writer, he points jokes back at himself, and he plays interviews straight. That makes bumper bits between segments and episode intros the best opportunities for Rosas’ comedy chops to shine. Many of the dozen or so episodes he’s written and hosted since he took over the show in January contain a sketch at the beginning. “I really loved doing those,” says Rosas. “I think they’re kind of a fun intro into the show.” The only challenge: episode length. “The more gags you put in, the longer it gets, and you still have to get information across,” he says. “Finding that balance has been a challenge.”

Through the show, Rosas has interviewed some pretty amazing people, including many of UT’s scientific community. “We talked to John B. Goodenough, who is this very sweet man who invented the lithium-ion battery and [laid the groundwork for] random-access memory for computers. He’s like a legend, legend in science,” says Rosas. “He was really cool to talk to because of everything that he’s done; everything that he’s seen. He’s lived through this century with exponential technological advancements of which he has been a huge part.” Goodenough works in UT’s School of Engineering. Rosas has also interviewed famous UT alums, like Matthew McConaughey.

Overall, the new gig suits Rosas well. “I love doing the show,” says Rosas. “It’s a lot fun. And I should be their host indefinitely, until the jokes just don’t land anymore, and I’m all washed up.”

Watch this week’s episode from the Texas Exes YouTube channel below.

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The Hook, Andrew Rosas, UT, John B. Goodenough, Matthew McConaughey

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