'Ted Lasso' cast meets President Biden, first lady at White House to talk mental health
Coach Ted Lasso would never believe he was going to the White House.
But that's exactly where the cast of Apple TV+'s Emmy-winning "Ted Lasso" found itself Monday, meeting President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden to promote mental health awareness.
"It is truly an honor to have Coach Lasso here with us today," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at the White House press briefing Monday, referring to actor Jason Sudeikis. "There's a real message around mental health. And (Sudeikis and his 'Ted Lasso' castmates) are meeting with the president and the first lady … on this important topic."
Sudeikis, co-creator and star of the series, along with many of his co-stars, met with the Bidens on Monday to "discuss the importance of addressing your mental health to promote overall well-being."
A White House official told the Associated Press that the Bidens had seen some of the show about an enthusiastic American football coach managing a British soccer team in London, and are familiar with its "message of positivity, hope, kindness and empathy."
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Watch 'Ted Lasso' cast speaking at White House
Jason Sudeikis says mental health struggles unite people
Sudeikis took to the podium following Pierre's opening remarks and spoke about the universality of mental health.
"No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter who you voted for … we all know someone – or had been that someone ourselves actually – that's struggled, that's felt isolated, that felt anxious, that’s 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."
Sudeikis also told reporters gathered in the press room about the importance of the show's theme of inclusivity when it comes to its mental health messaging.
"We encourage everyone, and this big theme of the show, is to check in with your neighbor, your co-worker, your friends, your family, and ask how they're doing and listen sincerely," Sudeikis said. “I mean, you all ask questions for a living but you also listen for a living, so I’m preaching to the choir."
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Jason Sudeikis takes question from 'Ted Lasso' character
A familiar face was also in attendance during the "Ted Lasso" cast's White House visit. Sudeikis took a question from "Ted Lasso" journalist Trent Crimm (James Lance), who asked how Sudeikis felt about Kansas City, Missouri, being named one of the host cities for the 2026 World Cup.
"'I'm very excited to be told," said Sudeikis, who hails from Kansas. "I love this town. What I am genuinely worried about is once we get all these folks from all over the world to come to Kansas City and see our city, eat our food, meet our people, you're going to have a lot of folks who won’t want to move away."
As he was exiting the briefing room, Sudeikis was asked about reprising his role as Joe Biden, whom he played on "Saturday Night Live."
"You got the real one here now," he responded. "I need fake teeth and (to be) injected with a lot more chutzpah."
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President Joe Biden teases 'Ted Lasso' cast visit with 'Believe' sign
Biden tweeted a picture of the iconic "Believe" sign seen on "Lasso" taped outside the Oval Office on Sunday night with the simple caption, "Tomorrow."
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 19, 2023
Season 3 of the comedy premiered on Apple's streaming service last week to critical acclaim (new episodes stream Wednesdays). The series has tackled mental health extensively in its run so far, including anxiety, depression and grief. Title character Ted (played by Sudeikis) suffers from panic attacks and began going to therapy in Season 2 as he recovered from a tough divorce.
Other "Lasso" cast members in attendance included Hannah Waddingham (Rebecca Welton), Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent), Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard, and a series co-creator) and Toheeb Jimoh (Sam Obisanya).
Biden has called on both Democrats and Republicans to expand resources to address the "mental health crisis" in the U.S. as part of his "unity agenda." The White House has increased funding for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and expanded school mental health professionals.
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Contributing: Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Ted Lasso' cast visits White House, Bidens to talk mental health