Jake Tapper, a Beastie Boys fan who wanted to be a cartoonist
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Jake Tapper’s nearly 330,000 Twitter followers should be expecting more wordplay from the frequent tweeter. The 45-year-old host of CNN’s “The Lead” says his favorite guilty pleasure is “bad puns on Twitter.”

That’s not all the dad of two, who also serves as the network’s chief Washington correspondent, gets a kick out of. A fan of the Beastie Boys and “old-school rap,” Tapper calls his current career “the fallback,” after wanting to be a comic strip cartoonist for “years and years.”


We recently asked Tapper, who penned The New York Times bestseller The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor in 2012, to answer a few questions.

Grew up in: Philadelphia. My mom still lives in the house we moved to when I was 3 months old, in the Queen Village section of Center City, one block from the South Philly line. My dad moved to Merion, a suburb outside the city, when I was 10.

College attended: Dartmouth College, class of 1991.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? I believe that in the time capsule my grade school did in the 1970s, I expressed a desire to someday take Lee Majors’s place on “The Six Million Dollar Man.” Apparently I was cognizant that actors age out of roles, but not that television shows are all ultimately canceled.

Favorite hobby/activity: Whenever I’m not at work I’m with my wife and kids. Pushing the kiddies on the swings, taking a walk with our dogs, playing Legos, doing arts and crafts, going out to eat, whatever. My son is 4, my daughter is 6. These are magical times.

How you unwind after a long day:  If I get home early enough, I can eat with my family, do “roses and thorns” at dinner with them, and tell them bedtime stories. The actual unwinding, as any parent knows, comes after that, sitting with my wife, talking, drinking a glass of wine or bourbon, maybe watching TV.

What you’re reading: My wife (along with half the world) devoured The Goldfinch before it won the Pulitzer Prize, so I just downloaded it last night.

Most memorable moment: Right now, on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, I keep thinking about the night of the shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers.

The FBI had released photographs of the suspects, and I was up late on Twitter watching everyone crowdsource pictures from the marathon. Then some of my Twitter followers asked if I was listening to the local police scanner, which was online, on which police were describing the shootout in nearby Watertown. I listened and reached out to the CNN desk. This must have been 1 a.m. or so.

I was anchoring live coverage of it all within minutes, and we were up the whole night covering it. [It was] terrifying and tragic and exhilarating to cover.

Favorite band: I guess my favorite band currently is the Beastie Boys, but this changes by the hour. I listen to a lot of old-school rap — Biggie, Tupac, Warren G, Dre.

I’m happiest when: I’m with my wife and kids, and we’re all laughing and singing and being silly.

What you like/dislike about D.C.: I love the quality of life here and the intelligence of conversation. I dislike the bubble, but it’s not tough to break out of if you try.

Favorite guilty pleasure: Bad puns on Twitter.

My celebrity crush is: Lauren Bacall.

Favorite saying/life philosophy: My high school yearbook quote was Jack Nicholson saying, “It’s hard to stay interested if you don’t push the edges out a little bit.” It still holds up. 

Something that few know about you: I wanted to be a comic strip cartoonist for years and years. This was the fallback.