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New Discovery

New Discovery: The Rest Is Politics US

Does the new stateside version live up to the popular original?

3:30 PM GMT+1 on May 2, 2024

    Are Americans bored and tired of Trump? That’s what Katty Kay, U.S. Special Correspondent for BBC Studios - and half of the hosting duo fronting The Rest is Politics US thinks. She reckons it’s because Americans don’t like ‘repeats’. “Come on Hollywood” she said “give us something new!” The Rest is Politics US is the latest offering from The Rest Is… stable. It launched on Friday with an episode about Trump’s first criminal trial, which stems from a hush-money payment to a porn star during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    The gin to Katty Kay’s tonic (or maybe the soda water to her scotch) is Anthony Scaramucci, former White House Director of Communications. Their energy is high, the pace is pretty snappy and the chat is nicely full of quotable soundbites and some pretty juicy insider stories. “Americans like bad behaviour.” says Scaramucci. That’s why they like Trump, who has “dented and shifted” the political discourse with his flaws and his “bad boy behaviour”. As evidence, he tells a story about the time Mitt Romney asked Scaramucci what was going wrong for him and how he told him he was “like a Ken doll… when you pull the pants down on a Ken doll, he is flat in front. You don’t have enough balls.” Apparently strapping his dog to the top of his car doesn’t count as balls for poor Mitt, who is too “perfect” for the American public to get behind. 

    Katty Kay meanwhile provides excellent expert analysis of the wider political and historical context, urging people to consider the  geopolitical forces at play in American domestic politics. She also does a great job pushing back at Scaramucci when she feels it’s necessary. “I’m going to say ‘yes but’” she says. “My husband hates it when I do that.” To his credit, Scaramucci does not hate it but instead gives Kay ample space to explain her thinking and is gracious enough to learn from her, too “I hadn’t understood that before” he says. “Thank you.” This blend of knowledge, experience, gossip and upfront communications professional chat creates space for shifts in tone and pace - and the duo have a rapport which feels robust and unforced.

    The Rest is Politics US has the ingredients to be a truly classic podcast cocktail and I for one will have it on regular listening rotation - especially as we edge closer to November’s presidential election. New episodes are out every Friday.

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