Getting to Know Mike Albo

Mug shot of Paris Hilton.

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While I was on the 1 train Thursday preparing for my meeting with author/journalist/performer/comedian Mike Albo, I had a bit of an epiphany. I had only been brainstorming questions about the obvious stuff — his recent e-book The Junket, his ouster from the New York Times, his infamous swag debacle and the ethics clause it violated — but what about the real Mike Albo? I figured we’re going to hear about all of that obvious stuff when he speaks at the J-School this Friday [Stabile Center, 5 PM], so I decided to take a more unconventional approach.

Albo on writingI’ve been writing ever since I can remember…it was always a private, hidden thing for me. It’s where all of my expression went.

…on freelancing: Send your sh*t out. That’s the lesson, I guess. 

…on why he loves to integrate dance into his performances, but not *that* sort of dancingI would make the ugliest drag queen.

…on Paris Hilton: Majorly irrelevant, but don’t discount her. She’s going to have a comeback of some kind. That woman’s a cockroach, she is not going to go extinct.

…comeback, how? By becoming BFFLs with the Kardashians? That’s the smartest thing any fame-whore could do right now: Well, you know she’s going to mellow out a bit, find a husband, have kids…do the whole mom thing.

…how many kids? Are we talking Kate Plus 8? More like Tori Spelling.

…on why Ann Coulter should NOT be making a comeback: She should just shut the f**k up…Oh and you know what gets to me? Apparently she’s a total fag-hag…she has all these gay friends, and she’s all like, [in southern accent] “Why can’t I find a guy?” Umm…because you’re hideous, that’s why.

…on why he might disagree with Anna Wintour over some crucial points: [If I had half an hour with her]…I’d ask her about that scene from The Devil Wears Prada where the Wintour character is lecturing Anne Hathaway about the color blue…

…ooh! The scene with the blue sweater? Yes…I’d ask Wintour if she really thinks that fashion is a trickle-down effect…like, do the fashion elite really decide what makes it down to the department stores? I always thought of it as a trickle-up effect…like, street fashion is utilitarian fashion…people wear it because it’s practical…but then the people up top start to catch on and make really un-practical clothes that sort of riff off of the street fashion.

…on why the post-9/11 years were rough for New Yorkers: Everyone thought they were going to die, so they had lots of crazy empty sex…they were drinking like crazy…doing coke…there was an exposure of desire, people’s agendas were clearer…people’s fears were more on the surface.

…on how that mentality makes it difficult to have a relationship in New York: Dating here can feel like the Stock Exchange sometimes. Like…[pointing over my shoulder] “Yeah…yeah..you’re cute, but I’m bidding higher behind you.”

…on why you [J-Schoolers] should go against your nature and hold back on the hard-hitting questions: I’m a really bad debater. If someone starts yelling at me, I WILL start crying. 

More fun facts:

  • He went to Columbia’s School of the Arts for grad school [he concentrated in poetry.]
  • His first article in a New York publication was printed because of pure luck: an editor at the Village Voice saw his piece at the top of the slush pile.
  • His list of friends includes Justin Vivian Bond and Tara Brach.
  • One of his favorite songs is Pat Benatar’s “Shadows of the Night.”
  • He wrote two novels before the Junket: Hornito: My Lie Life, and The Underminer.
  • His list of celebrity crushes includes River Phoenix and Jon-Erik Hexum [R.I.P. both of them.]
  • His favorite show on LOGO [a network primarily known for LGBT-programming]: The A-List: New York.
As a matter of fact, Albo and his friends made their own parody of The A-List. See it below, and come to his talk on Friday!
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