LOS ANGELES — Stretched out on his living-room couch here, Jon Favreau watched Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Monday night with little more than a passing interest, since he was already thinking of bed and an early flight the next morning.
At that point, as a former speechwriter for the Obama White House, he was still marveling at the parade of speakers who had passed earlier on his TV screen, including Antonio Sabato Jr. and Scott Baio, with Donald J. Trump emerging W.W.E.-style in a bright fog to the sounds of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
It could not get any more surreal, he remembers thinking at the time.
And then it did.
About 8:30, around a half-hour after Ms. Trump’s speech ended, Mr. Favreau noticed on his Twitter feed that someone had retweeted a post from the journalist Jarrett Hill stating that there were striking similarities between the speech that had just been given and the one that Michelle Obama had delivered in Denver at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
That prompted him to rewatch Mrs. Obama’s speech. “When I saw ‘word is your bond’ from Melania’s speech, I instantly recognized the phrase from Michelle’s,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. Mr. Favreau had already tweeted his own reaction to his 121,000 followers, starting with an expletive and adding: “They’re nearly identical. Someone is seriously fired.”
Mr. Favreau certainly had reason to be interested. As the chief speechwriter for the 2008 Obama campaign, Mr. Favreau had hired the woman who wrote Mrs. Obama’s address. But the incongruity did not stop there.
For Mr. Favreau (not to be confused with the actor of the same name), it was an unexpected moment back in the political fray, one he thought he had largely left behind. In March 2013, feeling burned out, he left the president’s inner circle after eight years of hope, change and writing cheesy jokes for the turkey pardons.
He and some fellow D.C. exiles now run a communications consulting firm in Los Angeles, Fenway Strategies, and he has been emerging from the ghostwriter shadows with opinions of his own.
In many ways, Los Angeles is the un-Washington for Mr. Favreau. “It’s an industry town, but it’s not really my industry,” he said, although he occasionally toys with the idea of screenwriting. “People here talk about things other than government policy, like technology, sports and, you know, ‘The Bachelor.’”
Mr. Favreau, 35, still eats and breathes politics. He has a weekly podcast on The Ringer, a digital venture started last month by Bill Simmons, the sports columnist who was editor in chief of the website Grantland, which shut down last fall. Mr. Favreau pops up to talk politics on MSNBC or with Chelsea Handler on Netflix, looking tanned and relaxed (“Your girlfriend told me not to sleep with you,” Ms. Handler said as they hugged goodbye).
“Keepin’ It 1600,” the podcast Mr. Favreau hosts with Dan Pfeiffer, another former Obama adviser, is a combination wonkfest on election minutia and uncensored forum. Expletives fly freely, and “insane” is perhaps the most frequent word used to characterize Mr. Trump.
“Jon can talk like an actual person rather than one of those tightly wound D.C. dudes in pleated khakis and a blue shirt,” said Jon Lovett, who has been a guest on the show. Mr. Lovett, a writer and producer for TV shows like “1600 Penn” and “The Newsroom,” also worked as a speechwriter under President Obama.
It was 2004 when Mr. Favreau first encountered his future boss at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Having gotten his start in Washington in Senator John Kerry’s press office through an internship at the College of the Holy Cross, Mr. Favreau, at 22, was suddenly charged with the excruciating task of informing the junior senator from Illinois that he had to remove a rousing line from his keynote address that Senator Kerry wanted to use. Mr. Obama was not pleased, but he made the change.
Mr. Favreau joined Mr. Obama’s team a year later, and in 2009, he became the second-youngest chief White House speechwriter in history.
With his Ben Affleck smile and smidgen of a Mass Pike accent to match (he grew up just outside Boston, in Winchester), Mr. Favreau made the gossip pages with uncomfortable regularity.
He and the actress Rashida Jones were spotted dashing into his Dupont Circle apartment building. During the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, a photo surfaced of him, shirtless and with a buzz cut, playing a drinking game at a Georgetown bar.
More notorious was the Facebook shot someone posted of Mr. Favreau groping a cardboard cutout of the incoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. Her office let him off gracefully, but Mr. Favreau learned an important policy lesson. “Don’t act like a moron,” he said.
Over old-fashioneds at Soho House West Hollywood, the private members’ club down the block from his apartment (“This is sort of my second office,” he said), Mr. Favreau appeared fit and happy in a gray T-shirt, jeans and crisp maroon Vans.
The go-go life that had him on call 24/8 in Washington has given way to staring at his phone while in gym clothes yelling about Trump University. “I decided to write for The Ringer partly because it gives me a platform, but also because people come dressed to work, and it’s not just my goldendoodle I’m talking to,” he said.
His circle in general is tighter than it once was. Mr. Favreau’s brother, Andy, an actor, lives across the street. Mr. Lovett, also a neighbor, said he lives close enough “to access Jon’s Sonos system from my couch to play my entrance music.”
Over the Fourth of July weekend, Mr. Favreau became engaged to his live-in girlfriend of four years, Emily Black, who works on nonprofits for Sunshine Sachs, the public relations consultancy. “The culture of L.A. has mellowed Jon a little, but he’ll still wake me up at 6 a.m. to tell me whatever ridiculous thing Trump just said,” she said.
He was on a trip to Los Angeles for a 2009 fund-raising dinner with President Obama at George Clooney’s house when it struck Mr. Favreau that there was more to life than drafting floor statements on Patriot Act reauthorization. As Mr. Favreau put it, “It was hard to have a real relationship, I didn’t sleep a lot, and there was the Christmas I told my parents, ‘Let’s hurry up and open presents because I have an inaugural address to write.’”
Cody Keenan, the director of speechwriting since Mr. Favreau’s departure, said, “This job is great but exhausting, and I completely understand why he needed to step away.” Mr. Keenan said he still texts with Mr. Favreau nearly every day and consults with him on speeches and the perspective that comes with living outside the Beltway.
Even without a political post (Mr. Favreau said he had no plans to return to Washington), he believes he plays an important role in supporting the Democrats this campaign season. Although he came to “despise” Mrs. Clinton in 2008, he learned to appreciate how well informed and hard-working she was as secretary of state. Today he says he is a fan.
“I believe, with Hillary, that we are stronger together,” he said, “and that this country is a better place when you expand the opportunities to every single person: rich, poor, Muslim, Mexican, gay, woman.”
Mr. Favreau caught himself slipping into speechmaking mode and laughed.
“Whatever I do in life, I end up in the same place,” he said. “Writing about politics, talking about politics. I tried to quit. I can’t quit.”