They took jabs at politicians’ hair, and they contemplated philosophy.

Subject matters ranged from irreverent to existential when David Letterman interviewed TV host and political commentator Rachel Maddow in December 2011 at Ball State.

Maddow visited the university as part of the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series.

She hosts the Emmy-winning The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. The program gained recognition as one of the cable news network’s most successful shows of all time. She also authored The New York Times’ bestseller Drift: The Unmooring of American Political Power.

Maddow and Letterman walked through the intricacies of covering the political arena and what it takes to disseminate so much information to the public—a task Maddow said starts with “a lot of reading.”

Letterman was quick to lighten the mood with quips on top politicians. While fielding a question from the audience—“Newt Gingerich’s real name is what? And Mitt Romney’s real name is what?”—the late-night comedian swiftly responded with “Newt is ‘Newton’ and Mitt is ‘Mitten.’”

In a nod to Ball State’s broadcasting facilities, Maddow filmed her own show live that night on campus.