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.
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.