Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Apr 09, 2024

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Storytelling Activity #66

by The Moth Staff

Lesson #66: EXPECTATION VS. REALITY:  “Have You Met Him Yet” - David Litt

Hello! This month we bring you a story from the Mainstage teller, David Litt. David was one of President Obama’s speech writers and told this story first at a 2017 Mainstage.

This month’s Storytelling School story is:

Have You Met Him Yet” by David Litt 

After you’ve watched and read the story, you can do the following activities: 

Talk to each other about David’s story. 

  • For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on EXPECTATION VS. REALITY. In between what we expect to happen and what actually happens, there’s this delicious tension that often lends itself to some amazing stories. If life were predictable and everything went as planned, we’d have a lot less to share on our Moth stages! David masterfully, and hilariously plays with that difference by letting us in on his insecurities and foibles in this high-profile time in his early career.

  1. There are many moments of anticipation in this story that help raise the stakes. What are those scenes and what details are included that help you understand the pressure David is under?  

  2. What moments of the story made you laugh? The difference between expectation and reality is also often where comedy thrives. How does David set up jokes with that dichotomy in mind?

  3. We haven’t all worked for the president, but we may have had a job where we felt the terror of imposter syndrome or something similar. David’s story ends up feeling relatable because he frames the experience with humility. Think about a big stakes moment in your life and then consider how you might share it in a way that feels accessible to others. What changes might you make to your telling? What changes do you think David made? 

Write or tell your own story.

At The Moth, we believe in celebrating the diversity and commonality of human experience. Often, listening to someone’s story will remind us of a story from our own lives. While you almost definitely have not had David’s exact experience, it still may have reminded you of a story from your life. Get inspired by these prompt questions to tell your own story!

  • Tell us about a time you felt like you weren’t up to the job

  • Tell us about a time you felt like the confidence others have in you may have been misplaced

  • Tell us about a time you felt like a disappointment to friends or family

  • Tell us about a time you felt outside of your comfort zone

  • Tell us about a time you felt like you could make a difference

  • Tell us about a time you second-guessed yourself 

  • Tell us about a time you had a chance at a life-changing moment

  • Tell us about a time you surprised yourself with your own confidence 

  • Tell us about a time you wasted someone’s time

  • Tell us about a time you saved the day

  • Tell us about a time you knew the words to the song

  • Tell us about a time you made it all just a little bit better


  • Has there ever been a moment when someone says or reacts opposite of what you think they’re going to say? There were a couple of moments in David's story where he thought one thing was going to happen but something else did instead. Complete this sentence for yourself: I thought ____ would happen, but what happened instead was _____. A story lies in between your expectations and the reality. 

  • Celebrating you! Make a list of all the times you were brave - when you were afraid or unsure and did something anyway, or took a leap of faith. Nothing is too small! Like, perhaps you switched toothpaste brands and found a new one you liked better. Once you think your list is done, add one more. We do brave things every day. 

Share this post with a friend!

And check back the second Tuesday of every month for another story.

Storyteller bio

David Litt wrote speeches for President Obama from 2011 to 2016. For four years, David was the lead writer for the President’s comedy monologue at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. He served as the head writer/producer for the DC office of Funny or Die from 2016 to 2018.

David’s first book, Thanks, Obama, My Hopey Changey White House Years, was released in September 2017, and his second, Democracy in One Book or Less, was released in June 2020. His third book, It’s Only Drowning, will be published in 2025.

About The Moth Education Program

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources.

We are always looking for more young people and educators to join our storytelling workshops!  To learn more, apply for a workshop, or refer someone you know, please go to themoth.org/education

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from Unlikely Collaborators.

Additional program support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Gottesman Fund, The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation and Con Edison.