What it’s like to host ‘Melissa Harris-Perry’

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theGrio managing editor Joy Reid sports her new "MHP" hoodie after completing her first weekend guest-hosting "Melissa Harris-Perry."
theGrio managing editor Joy Reid sports her new "MHP" hoodie after completing her first weekend guest-hosting "Melissa Harris-Perry."
msnbc/Jamil Smith

So what’s it like sitting in for Melissa Harris-Perry on Melissa Harris-Perry?

In short, it’s a whirlwind! The four hours of great conversation viewers (and also panelists/viewers like me) get to enjoy every weekend are the result of a lot of hard work. Little do most – including myself until recently – know how many people are involved in putting together a show like MHP. Getting the right topics, the right guests, the right video and the right intros, teases, is a process, and a huge team effort. Plus you do a lot of reading. My homework volume for MHP rivaled the toughest classes I took at Harvard. Luckily, I am a nerd, so I enjoy the reading!

From the other side of the desk, you really get to see how complex the process of driving a conversation, and getting a coherent point across can be – all while you’re keeping track of the external elements like video or charts or soundbites. Melissa makes it look really, really easy, but trust me – it’s not. The #nerdland team is fun, brilliant and amazing, which is a great antidote to nervousness. And of course, getting to sit around a table talking with smart, engaging people about things we all care deeply about – nothing beats that, whether as a guest on the show or subbing for Melissa.

I already had a ton of respect for Melissa, for her intellect, ability to connect with people, and her fantastic personality. But seeing up close all of the work she puts in, and that her team puts in, for this show? My respect for her is off the charts.

(Oh, and I have another takeaway – and that would be the official MHP sweatshirt I earned by holding down the fort. I’ve already warned my daughter not to even think about borrowing it. It is mine!)

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What it's like to host 'Melissa Harris-Perry'

Updated