23 New Lenox, IL
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My self-summary
I interview celebrities. Maybe I can introduce you to your favorites? ;) (How's that for a cheesy pickup/opening line?!)

But, seriously, while that is actually a big part of my life and I love it, there's more to me than that. I've spelled out the "how" in "What I'm doing with my life", if you're curious. Otherwise, you can check out "Snapshots" below, as well as the other profile categories, to get to know the Mike behind the mic.

Also, I'm not paying for my account, so I can't see "Who Likes Me", so if you "Like" me, please send me a message. If you don't know what to say or you're really shy or whatnot, you can just copy and paste this paragraph, and I can take it from there. :)

Anyway, back to the good stuff!

(Quick views into random aspects of my mind, life, and personality)

-When asked in physics class to list the 5 greatest inventions of all time, I wrote down only one: "Sliced bread". The teacher was not amused. I was.

-Poorly choreographed movie and TV show sword fights annoy me. The ones where the person puts theirs up to block the shot before the shot comes, but then the other person comes down right where the blocking sword is. It's like they're not even trying. I mean, how do you expect to win a sword fight by constantly hitting the other person's sword on purpose?

-My name on here is MiketheFirst because, back in high school, I would always add a Roman numeral I to the end of my signature, because: 1) it's accurate 2) I could. The "the first" stuck, and as such, I am Mike the First.

-While I understand why, it disappoints me that Apollo missions that aren't AS-11 & AS-13 are forgotten or ignored by a large portion of the public and that astronauts who aren't Neil Armstrong or "that guy Tom Hanks played in that movie" not only aren't household names, they aren't even in some modern US History books.

-I think the Billy Joel music videos for "The Longest Time" and "Uptown Girl" are randomly hilarious.

-Sometimes I have a mustache and beard. Sometimes I don't. Same goes for hair. (Seriously, I've been known to randomly shave my head for no reason other than "I felt like it".)

-I don't currently own any witty/humorous t-shirts, but part of me hopes to change that soon. The other part of me thinks they're a little over the top and don't serve my personality well.

-I give *amazing* presents.

-I collect autographs, artwork, books, select comic books, and NASA memorabilia.

-One of my biggest pet peeves is people who use "ect" instead of "etc".

-I have a habit of taking the labels off bottles & recycling them separately. I just think the bottles look better sans label.

-For a partnered persuasive speech in my university public speaking class, I convinced my partner to argue the age old question of whether The Bob Newhart Show was better than Newhart. It went over with the class about as well as you might expect.

-After my first year of college, I won a coin toss with my roommate for a poster of movie quotes that was hanging in our room. It's AWESOME.
What I’m doing with my life
Currently, I host and produce my own talk show. I do interviews with celebrities (phone, Skype, and in person) and highlight unique spots around the Chicago area that have a touch of celebrity. I *don't* do or talk gossip, nor do I follow people around with a camera (a la "TMZ", "Access Hollywood", or any of those rags).

Instead, I talk to my guests simply as one person getting to know another. My goal is to humanize them in such a way that they're brought down from that diamond encrusted pedestal on which society has hoisted them so that they're viewed by my audience as just people with interesting jobs, but people nonetheless.

The resulting interviews are often a mess of awkward, "what are we even talking about" fun, reminiscent of a first date, since I'm getting to know my guests along with the audience. I steer those conversations so that the guests' personalities come through, though, wherever possible, I let my "standard", scripted questions take a back seat to whatever living, breathing conversation takes hold. When done well, that steering is so subtle that it's almost invisible. My role is to introduce my guests to my audience and assist the latter in getting to know the former, which is made all the more difficult if I leave obvious fingerprints on everything.

Sometimes people see my program and do question if my presence is any more than a second banana to these guests. In response, I point out the minor ways that I take the conversation seamlessly to this topic or that one, while still letting the guests be themselves. Their time on my show is about them, not me. But I do still like my Mike-ness shine through.

It's silly, it's random, and I love it. The resulting memories, whether they make me cringe or laugh, are priceless. (And, yes, there's an awful lot of cringing.)

Though I colloquially refer to the show as my job, I also work as a freelance magazine writer (yes, I've been paid & published) and I do a lot of volunteer work.

Right now, I'm helping organize a benefit auction for my favorite college professor & her husband. Her husband fell ill unexpectedly while both were between jobs, so they have to pay over $40,000 in medical bills out of pocket.

Luckily, celebrities (such as Joss Whedon) were willing to donate signed items that will be auctioned off in September to help the cause. We currently have over 100 celebrity signed donations, and the number rises daily.


"How'd you get started interviewing celebrities?", I hear you muttering quietly to your computer... No, I didn't hack your microphone--it's just a common question.


I started interviewing celebrities at age 13 for my high school newspaper. At that point, I was interviewing celebrities that were famous, yet...unknown, for lack of a better word. Usually the ones whose phone numbers were listed in the phone book, such as retired athletes, astronauts, and the like.

I would find their phone number, come up with questions, call them, and explain who I was & why I was calling. More often than not, if they answered the phone, they were willing to give me 5-10 minutes, which was really all I needed back then.

I'd usually make the calls from the school library phone during school hours (it was for the school newspaper, after all), so I didn't have a way to record the calls. Instead, I'd scribble notes in my own shorthand on the question sheet, type them up while they were still fresh in my mind, and email them to the interviewee to verify accuracy.

It wasn't uncommon for me to have to cut entire paragraphs off the answers, though, as, even with my short hand, they often talked too fast for me to notate everything that they said.

My "big break" (for lack of a better and more accurate term) came when I discovered that I was eligible at that level for press passes to several of the celebrity conventions (such as Comic Con) in the Chicago area. That opened up the door for Oscar winners, and beyond. Although it's all a blur (time really runs together), I believe the first convention I did that with was my junior year of high school.

As I started doing them in person with a voice recorder, the interviews got longer (up to an hour or so at a time). It was great being able to get to know people in a longer time frame, and it led to some very interesting conversations, but it was horrible transcribing that audio. Since my thing was Q&As, I literally had to type it all out, which I did by playing the audio one sentence at a time. It was incredibly boring and it often took about 3 times the length of the interview to finish.

When I left high school, I went to a 4 year university and had my own show on the campus radio station (which I honestly joined because the station manager promised me that I wouldn't have to transcribe any more interviews). By the time I joined the station staff, I had already generated a buzz among the campus media; in my first month on campus, I got an interview with a famous visiting guest speaker which nobody else (including the senior who ran the campus TV station) was able to get.

With that show, I secured phone interviews with stars whom you've probably heard of, and whose work you're likely familiar with, including actors, directors, writers, and all around legends.

Unfortunately, I had to leave school (and the station) for health reasons in the middle of the Spring '13 semester, so I've taken my contacts and now produce the show independently for public access television and the Internet when life doesn't get in the way.
I’m really good at
-remembering random trivia that I find.

-telling very dry jokes that a lot of people don't get (which is fine).

-being Mike.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
While I'll read almost anything, I usually enjoy humor books and memoirs most.

My current favorites include:

-Magnificent Desolation by Buzz Aldrin (It was incredibly inspiring for me personally, and, as a fan of NASA, a great read.)

-Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories (and Other Disasters) by Jean Shepherd (This was one of the books that inspired the movie A Christmas Story.)

-Hey, Buddy!: In Pursuit of Buddy Holly, My New Buddy John, and My Lost Decade of Music by Gary W. Moore (Good book, even if you don't like Buddy Holly.)

I will watch almost anything, honestly. I say "almost", because the one boundary I'm yet to cross (and likely never will) is current horror. It's just gotten too bloody and gorey for me. If you have a suggestion for the exception to that rule, please feel free to send it along, and I'll take it under advisement.

Anyway, my current favorite movies include (but are certainly not limited to):

-The Dark Knight Rises (Yes, I liked it better than The Dark Knight. Feel free to message me if you want to hash that out.)

-The Muppets (I'm referring to the 2011 movie; I still feel like it should have been up for "Best Picture".)

-Scream 3 (It's the perfect combination of thrilling and hilarious.)

While this may be physically painful for some of you, I feel compelled to mention that, while I loved the opening credits, I didn't really enjoy Monty Python and the Holy Grail. At all.

TV Shows:
I'm not bulleting this list, as you'd be scrolling forever if I did.

The current shows (not ended or cancelled):

Modern Family, The Middle, Franklin & Bash, Law & Order: SVU, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, Madam Secretary, Parks & Recreation, Blue Bloods, Veep, and probably some others I forgot, but you get the idea.

Shows that have ended or been cancelled that I still count among my all-time favorites:
(This list I am bulleting, so that I might offer commentary. It's shorter than the last one.)

-The Knights of Prosperity (That show was awesome. They robbed from the rich to give to the poor, but they were the poor! GENIUS! Plus they had awesome t-shirts. The show's creator actually sent me one of the t-shirts. I think I'm going to get it autographed by the cast.)

-How I Met Your Mother (There was no finale episode. I don't care what you think you saw, that episode NEVER HAPPENED. What episode never happened? Exactly.)

-Lizzie McGuire (No shame.)

-Murphy Brown (It was a comedy/drama from the 90's about a news-magazine show. It was great, and it broke down barriers to the point that VP Dan Quayle made a speech about it.)

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy other shows while they were on or that I don't still watch them, just that they don't still rank among my top favorite shows.

I like oldies and classic rock. Pretty much 50's rock to the early to mid 80's, especially Buddy Holly, Frankie Valli, "British Invasion" bands, CCR, etc.

I enjoy food. I'll eat almost anything at least once and I like most things I eat.

Sorry if the last 2 were anti-climatic, but, even if I didn't bullet the food list or an unabridged music list, your scroll bar would get so small that you wouldn't be able to see it (assuming that there's no character limit on this thing).
On a typical Friday night I am
There's no such thing as a "typical" Friday night for me...

Sometimes I chill at home and watch some movies.

Sometimes I go out with friends and do random stuff.

And sometimes, I'm out at a celebrity related event, show, or concert for which I might just need a date... (Hooray for cheesy pickup lines!)

But, in all seriousness, attendance at talks/lectures/concerts/performances is a perk of that job for me (I get comped tickets). They usually give comps in pairs, so I feel really awkward taking their extra ticket without a companion for the evening. But, unfortunately, comps are usually given out of the unsold tickets, so I don't always get the most notice.
You should message me if
-I messaged you. (Worth a shot... Points for trying?)

-you're up for a last minute call of the adventure that is "Hey, I just got an extra ticket to [random celebrity event, usually in the city of Chicago]--how would you like to join me?"

-you have a theory about the story line in Billy Joel's "The Longest Time" music video.

-my ideas are intriguing to you and you wish to subscribe to my newsletter.

-you get the joke "March 15: the day that Jim Peterik killed Julius Caesar".

-you not only get the above joke, but find it funny. (Jim's publicist didn't get it or find it funny, which is sad, considering the band was named after that line in the play and said publicist is part of the band.)

-you have a strong opinion on the best movie in the Christopher Nolan "Dark Knight" trilogy.

-you enjoy the stand-up comedy of Bob Newhart.

-you have a strong opinion on whether The Bob Newhart Show or Newhart was the better Bob Newhart sitcom.

-you enjoy reading Snopes for the heck of it.

-you have an opinion on whether or not I should grow a goatee.

-you want to share what Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah means to you.

-you want to talk about your day.

-you have the perfect amount of quirkiness that any of the above made you laugh or smile and you think we could really get along.