Ted Lasso comes to Washington

Actor Jason Sudeikis, of "Ted Lasso," points from the White House press room podium.
Actor Jason Sudeikis, star of the hit series “Ted Lasso,” points to fellow cast member Jason Lance while speaking to the press in the White House briefing room Monday, joined by other cast members Toheeb Jimoh, from left, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham and Brendan Hunt.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The White House briefing room can be a dull place.

Tense exchanges between reporters and administration officials can make the news conferences more entertaining. Special guests — national security experts, usually — can make the briefings more informative.

But on Monday, a special guest of a different sort arrived in the press room: Ted Lasso came to Washington, and it was fabulous.

If you have been living under a rock, Ted Lasso, an American football coach who travels across the pond to coach an English soccer team, is a fictional character from the Apple TV+ show of the same name. Season 3 of the hit show premiered last week.


During Monday’s briefing Lasso, who is played by comedian-actor Jason Sudeikis, was joined at the lectern by some of the show’s cast, including Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt and Toheeb Jimoh, as well as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Sudeikis spoke briefly on the importance of fighting the stigma that’s often associated with seeking help for mental health problems — a theme of the show. He encouraged everyone to make sure to check in regularly with family, friends and neighbors who may be struggling and ask how they’re doing.

“We all know someone who has struggled, that’s felt isolated, that’s felt anxious, that has felt alone,” Sudeikis said. “It’s actually one of the many things that, believe it or not, that we all have in common as human beings.”

He added: “And while it’s easier said than done, we also have to know that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help ourselves.”

Sudeikis took a question from Trent Crimm, the show’s fictional sports journalist for the Independent played by James Lance.

Standing in the briefing room with eyeglasses and a gray hardback book in hand, the fake journalist asked: “How do you feel about Kansas City being one of the named hosting cities for the 2026 World Cup?

“Here I was hoping for a softball,” Sudeikis replied, noting that he was worried World Cup viewers would fall in love with the city and it would face overcrowding.


“Now on to greener pastures,” Sudeikis said as he handed it off to Jean-Pierre, who was wearing green.

After the briefing, Sudeikis and his castmates met behind closed doors with President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, according to the White House.

The White House on Monday touted Biden’s designation of nearly $500 million to increase capacity for the national suicide hotline and to help connect local callers with local responders. In 2020, Congress approved transitioning the 10-digit suicide hotline to three simple numbers — 988.

When the cast came out, Simon Ateba, of Today News Africa, interrupted to gripe about not being called on enough. “No. No. No,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’re not doing this. We’re not doing this.” Multiple White House correspondents apologized to Jean-Pierre and the cast for the outburst.