You’re in for a treat this week, kiddies.
Not only is Mike Allegra a heckuva nice guy – and clever to boot – he wrote what has become one of my daughter Sarah’s favorite books off all time, Sarah Gives Thanks, a tome that should have a place on every bookshelf of every child – everywhere.
A humble man by nature, Mike wouldn’t like it if I wasted valuable screen space on paragraph after paragraph devoted to writing his praises.
Or maybe he would.
Either way, I’m going to let the man himself take over from this point on. Quite frankly, he’s clever, witty and gosh darn it, people like him. Mike fits the 5×5 bill perfectly, but see for yourself…
1) The late, great Jim Henson’s creations speak to us all on some level, regardless of age. Which Muppet do you identify most with?
I adore Rowlf. He could (and did) play alongside the Electric Mayhem, but he was also at home playing Beethoven piano sonatas or tickling the ivories at a schmaltzy piano bar. But what I love most about him is that nothing ever seems to get him down. Rowlf is a happy dog, not deliriouslyhappy like most other dogs, but happy in an older and wiser, almost Zen-like kind of way. To Rowlf, what is,is. There’s no point in getting too worked up about any of it.
Rowlf is nothing like me, I’m afraid. He is what I aspire to be.
I’m Bert from Sesame Street. I’m picky to the point of obsessive.I like things in their proper place.I have weird, esoteric hobbies. And I share my home with someone who is far different and far more easygoing.
I just know that Bert and I would be best friends. I hope that one day he and I will be in a Sesame Street skit together.
(Great choice, Mike! Yo can’t look at that dog and not smile!)
2) Your favorite Saturday Night Live cast of all time is…
Seasons 2 through 4.
These are the years after the all-too-arrogant Chevy Chase left the show (to be replaced by the far more versatile and talented Bill Murray) and before Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi took their Blues Brothers act to the big screen.
A more solid ensemble there never was. Gilda, Garret, Laraine… And was there ever a better straight woman than Jane Curtin? Answer: No.
3) As a dad you may sometimes feel as though you’re lost in a wilderness without supplies or a map, but dads have their victories as well. (It’s true, I swear!) Tell us about your greatest dad moment so far.
My son is a Cub Scout. Due to my work schedule, however, my wife, Ellen, takes him to the den meetings. She also took him on the spring Camporee, which was on a 95-degree day when the humidity was at about 1,000%. They both had a miserable time. I, on the other hand, slept at home and was cheerful and well-rested.
Still, I felt a little guilty about dodging all of the horrors of nature, so I promised Alex that I would take him camping in the fall. “But we’ll do it in the backyard,” I said. “We’ll have a campfire in the chiminey and roast marshmallows and everything!”
As the date approached, however, “camping in the backyard” evolved into “camping in our finished basement.” I pulled the mattress off the sofabed and pitched the tent on top of it. Very comfortable.Then Alex got every pillow and stuffed animal in the house and loaded the tent up. Even more comfortable.Then, before we went to bed, we roasted marshmallows over the stove.
I can’t say I slept well than night – I don’t think a half hour went by without me getting an Alex elbow to the ribs – but that didn’t matter much. We were both very happy campers.
4) The holiday season is upon us – whether we like it or not – can you share your favorite holiday memory?
When I was young, every Christmas the entire family would assemble at my grandparents’ house to open presents and eat dinner.
One year – I think I was about seven – I noticed that every time a present was opened, half the room would say, “Ooh,” the other half would say, “Ahh,” and my grandmother would say, “Isn’t that nice!” No joke, this happened every time a package was opened.
The problem, as I saw it, was that it these responses were too disorganized; everyone was ooh-ing and ahh-ing over everyone else. So I stood up and asked if I could conduct my family like Leopold Stokowski. They were game. From that point forward, whenever a present was opened, I would wave my arms to cue the “Ooh-ers,” the “Ahh-ers,” and Grandma’s “Isn’t that nice!” I never felt more powerful in my life. More importantly, almost everyone in the room was practically wetting their pants laughing. In an instant, a holiday tradition was born.
5) If you had to restrict yourself to one snack food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
That would be ice cream. Always ice cream. Even in winter. Yep.
Do you have some?
And on that icy note, I am out of here. My thanks to Mike for being so… Mikeish. See you soon, folks.
Great questions and I love his replies!
Thanks, French Mitch! It’s easy to come up with good answers when The Hook is such a good interviewer.
Love number 4, just brilliant.
If I could only conduct every one of my family interactions, I would truly be a happy man!
I can get behind his answer to #5. Fruit and calcium, has to be good for you, right?
Who says my ice cream has fruit in it?
Good point. My ice cream of choice has chocolate and mint.
There you go!
I’m with him on the ice cream too. I could do without chips or pretzel sticks (though it would be a tough loss), but ice cream? Can’t survive without that.
I can tell that you’re my kind of guy, Mike.
I love indoor camping! I laugh, he did it with his son, but my grown up girlfriends and I did it last year. 🙂 We just couldn’t make our annual girls camping trip, so we had an “indoor” camping trip and it was just perfect!
I don’t want bears in my house, so why would they want me in theirs?
I love the ooh-ing and aah-ing tradition! I will have to try that next year. We added Jumping for Joy which was a blast! Nice to meet you Mike!
Jumping for Joy would be a nice percussion section!
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OMG you can INTERVIEW!!! And it was good!!! Yes I am surprised but NOT surprised! I love the indoor camping scene it reminded me of me and my little brother making air tents in the living room! Happy New Year!
He can interview, can’t he?
I wholeheartedly endorse indoor camping. I am a Great Indoorsman.
LOL I agree! Indoor camping for me too!
I will have to pick up a few copies of his book. Starting family traditions that stick are a lot of fun. Great interview, Hook.
Thanks! Lemme know what you think!
Wow, each question is interesting enough for a full post! Yes, love that SNL cast! I do have to think of which muppet best describes me. Great post as always! Best of luck yo Mike!
If you decide you’re a Rowlf, I’ll wanna hang out with you.
Two of my favorite guys hooking up (you know what I mean!) Love it!
Sheesh, Susan. It was just an innocent cuddle!
Number and 4 and 5 are awesome…though I would be torn between ice cream and popcorn. I do love my popcorn. Great interview, Hook!
Kettle corn on it is probably my third favorite, after donuts.
I’ll stick to the salty, buttery popcorn. Kettle corn I only eat on special occasions. 🙂
I LUV Mike already with “ICE CREAM”…..Thanks Hook for having such Awesome Guests. It gives your pals an introduction to new people and their Blogs! Fantastic interview.
Hugs & Blessings to you your girls, *Catherine* Xo
Aw, Catherine. I can tell we’re gonna be pals.
Things I LUV, helping others in recovery, Advocate for those of us touched by mental health issue’s, and LOVE Meeting and Interacting with new friends.
Look forward to all your posts 🙂 *Cat*
Totally best SNL cast.
By the way, that is the best (and more horrifying) user name I have ever seen.
Following your daughter’s eponymous logic, I completely understand why “Grace For President” by Kelly DiPucchio has such a prominent spot on my daughter’s bookshelf! But, er…Mike’s book is pretty good too. I’ve read it several times!
Are you telling me I should write a story about a person named Grace to get into your daughter’s good graces?
Ha! See what I did there?
Rowlf, Gilda, and ice cream. Great choices!
Enjoyed the creative questions as well as the answers.
Another awesome 5×5! You’re the bestest Hookie my friend! Thank you for introducing a great guy and a new blog to follow! Mike sounds like me in a lot of ways. Camping is not my thing but I love the idea of indoor camping with ice cream, marshmallows and stuffed animals 🙂
Oh, I do so recommend indoor camping, Courtney. Especially in you have one of those electric heaters that looks like a fireplace.
That’s right; my campfire was an electric heater.
That is, “Especially IF…”
#5 ice cream !
I scream for ice cream as well.
The first SNL cast left very big shoes to fill and very few have done it. I loved SNL in those very first years. I am liking your 5×5’s ….Mike is an okay guy! Just from the book cover alone, I like his book…thank you for the introduction.
I guess you CAN judge a book by its cover!
I was very lucky; the illustrations, by the great David Gardner, are wonderful.
All brilliant, but I particularly love the camping in the basement thing and the conducting present responses at Christmas…hilarious! I can almost hear it, and feel the beat, with Grandmother coming in perfectly on cue for her solo…indeed, very Milkeish. I saw a fellow in the shopping mall this afternoon trying to sell ice-cream, but there were no takers on this cold and windy day. Fancy coming over and giving him some business my friend…?
I’m on my way! If you let me camp in your house, I’ll buy you a cone!
LOL – great, you’re welcome to come camp here:-) We don’t have a basement but you’re welcome to use the living room! H xxx
We have quite a big shed if you’d prefer…but it might get a bit cold after eating all that ice-cream…:-)
Indoor camping! Yes, that’s the way to do it. Excellent interview, and I couldn’t agree more about the SNL cast, they were the best ever. Although I did also love Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy.
Oh, I so agree with Eddie Murphy. That guy was a one man show in the early ’80. No one could touch him.
Believe it or not, Steve Martin was never in an SNL cast. He just hosted the show a whole heckuva lot. He was so very much in sync with the early cast, though.
hmm. I did not know that. Let the Hook know this post was both entertaining and educational. 🙂 Best of luck to you on the book sales. I read the reviews on Amazon. Very impressive!
I’m all about the learnin’ thing!
We never have fewer than four ice cream varieties in the freezer at any time. So, yeah, come on over. We are happy to share.
I’m on my way. What kinds ya got? What brand names are we talking about?
Currently we have Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Cookies N’ Cream, and a new Oreo in Chocolate one from Breyers (I think. I always get it mixed up with Dreyers. Honestly, who names their companies so similarly?!)
Gettin’ in the car…
Okay. Let me know when you get close and I’ll start pulling out the dishes and all the toppings.
I’m thinking that camping in the basement is perfect for someone with OCD. Don’t have to worry about all that messy nature stuff. 😀
Nice interview! And yes, Sarah Gives Thanks is a favorite in our household, too, as long as we get to add a few poo jokes and the odd pun or two along the way.
Yep. Nature is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t wanna live there.
And here’s a little known fact: Sarah Josepha Hale loved jokes about passing gas. Pass it on!
I loathe camping and am using your idea of camping next time anyone in my life tries to suggest it. My unwillingness to go camping has actually seen the breakdown of a few relationships…
If camping a relationship dealbreaker, then, wow, you are better off!
I take cake with my ice cream. 🙂
LOVE the idea of camping in your basement! Sounds like you made a magical memory with your child that night. I think, someday when I grow up and have kids, I will do that too. 🙂
All out great responses! Each one made me smile.
Wishing you a happy 2014,
I don’t mix my cake and ice cream. I don’t like my desserts competing for my attention. (And that poor cake will always lose.)
But have you ever had cake batter ice cream, Lindsey? Oh. My. God!
I am delighted to hear that you are inspired by my camping adventure. Perhaps this could be the start of a new trend! Here’s hoping.
Yes. I have had cake batter ice cream. I used to frequent cold stone so much for the stuff, that I actually had a running tab….(seriously)
Yes, you’re camping could become a trend. But you’ll need a trendy name, like ” glamping.” But for yours it would be “hamping” for home camping or “bamping” for basement camping……or something. This could turn into a big deal.
“Bamping” sounds almost dirty — which probably makes it an ideal name for a trend.
And wait, you have a tab at Cold Stone? You are awesome.
Bamping…….LOL. Yes…. Perfect!
I used to have a tab at cold stone, when I lived around the corner from it in LA. I haven’t lived near one or had a tab in a long time, but I have to admit, I felt a little awesome when I did. 😉
It doesn’t matter that you no longer have a tab, just the fact that you HAD one tells me you’re cool.
It really grinds my gears when autocorrect makes silly grammatical errors. I meant, ” your” 🙂
The indoor camping sounds fun. Made a little boy happy, and his dad as well. 🙂
Your book sounds lovely. Will have to check it out for the grand kids.
BTW Hook, you run a brisk and interesting interview.
That makes me happy to hear, Tess. Here’s hoping you enjoy the story!
I’m sure I will.
Ooooh! Aaaah! That was a nice post!
I see what you did there.
Mike! Hey, I know that guy!
And I am right there with you on ice cream in winter– I happily sit in front of my face heater, feeling its fiery wind upon my face as I shove spoonfuls of Ben & Jerry’s in my mouth. Also, I love picturing you standing and conducting the oooohs and aaahs in a very “August Rush” sort of way 🙂
Ah, I just knew you and I would see eye to eye on the ice cream thing, Aussa. You’re good people.
And Ben & Jerry’s. You have good taste, my friend. Good taste, indeed.
Yowza . . . look at all the comments here. Mike and The Hook are a dynamic duo! Just like me and Batman. If Mike is Rowlf, I peg Hook as Animal. I’m Grover.
Then helloooo Robin bayyyybeeee!
Can I just point out Mr Hook, that it is in part thanks to me that you daughter is able to have a copy of the delightful Sarah Gives Thanks book to enjoy! Just sayin’ 😉
I love the idea of you conducting the Christmas present responses Mike, so funny! I’m also with you on the ice-cream; I try and avoid too much sugar because I have sugar issues, but given a choice, ice-cream every time, whatever the season. Even though I love chocolate, I don’t really like chocolate ice-cream, I like chunks of actual chocolate in the ice-cream but I don’t like the base flavour to be chocolate. I’m just letting you know so that we don’t have any awkward moments, where you’ve bought the wrong ice-cream, when I come to visit.
You and I are of one mind, ice cream-wise, Vanessa, so come on over! Our guest room is always open to you and yours. Bring the guitar, ‘kay?
Yay! Me and Neil can sing and dance while you draw hillarious pictures of us, and we’ll eat ice-cream that has chunks of chocolate in it, but a different base flavour.
I’m thinking chocolate chip cookie dough and cookies and cream? But, hey, I have a homemade ice cream parlor within walking distance of my house, so whatever you guys want, you got.
Yum! Yes! One question, is it the parlor that is homemade or the ice cream?
Sigh. And this is why WordPress needs to create a comment correction feature!
And we’ve come full circle back to my post 🙂
So visit Vanessa’s blog, Hook fans! She is an international treasure!
She also is a wizard when it comes to making fudge!
She also has the uvula of a supermodel!
And she wrote an ode to head lice!
Seriously, people. Go visit.
And I’ve been 5×5’d on here myself – you didn’t mention that!
Sheesh! I’m not your PR Agent, you know!
You are, as always, a delightful interview, Mike. I love that you relate most to Bert. I relate most to Oscar. (I know, that shocks you.) You’re right, Chevy Chase was way too arrogant, and to this day I find him extremely punchable. But Gilda Radner is still one of my comic heroines. When we get out of this Arctic blast we should go have some ice cream.
Gilda was a National Treasure, I agree. But I had a crush on Jane.
As for going out for ice cream, consider it done.