Job: Host of Countdown With Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, and starting with the 2007 NFL season, Football Night in America
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Fred Merkle. If you can imagine the Bill Buckner play — and blame — happening to a rookie first baseman for the Mets or Yankees, and the guy coming back to play another seventeen years, nearly all of them in New York, and play on five pennant winners here, you get some idea of this man’s mettle.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Either the Three Filets at Quality Meats or the Crusted Tuna at Redeye Grill. But the BLTs at a long-gone deli in Hastings in the mid-eighties could not be defeated.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I read, and I think, and I write, and then I read aloud, amid about 150 individual deadlines, and often under lights that can melt the skin off your bones.
Where do you get your coffee?
Occasionally I have some at a restaurant. Otherwise I’m a chai-latte guy.
What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
The History Boys. Don’t laugh. Before that, it was Amadeus in 1981. I get inexplicably anxious for the actors.
Do you give money to panhandlers?
I have on occasion, but a lot less frequently ever since a day 25 years ago when I saw the pitiable looking woman always camped in front of Bryant Park, pull her pink Cadillac out of an alley across the street.
What’s your drink?
White Rock 2002 Napa Valley Claret. Bill Murray bought me a bottle. Says the sommelier had brought him the wrong bottle one night. If they’re out, a Guinness.
How often do you prepare your own meals?
Do you count cereal? Salad bar at work? If so, once, often twice daily.
What’s your favorite medication?
Protonix. I can get asthmatic episodes from acid reflux (and from the current administration). This stuff takes care of the first kind.
What’s hanging above your sofa?
A map of the U.S. made out of each state’s license plates by Aaron Foster.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
Not competent to answer. I get mine gratis from Mary and Tonya, two gifted hairstylists at work.
With any luck, 1 a.m. I do work nights after all. Sounds exquisite, but as long as I’ve had that kind of schedule, everybody else in this city has insisted on getting up two to seven hours before I do and apparently conspiring to bring me with them.
Brunch: pro or con?
Pro. Norma’s in the Parker-Meridien serves it until 3 p.m. I believe I patronized them virtually every day from July 1, 2001, through February 1, 2003. I actually was the only customer a couple of times right after 9/11. Great food, greater people.
What’s your thread count?
When they start gettin threads hangin off dem, I toss dem. Oh, youse mean something else.
What do you hate most about living in New York?
Rent and real-estate prices. And that I was stupid enough not to buy my studio apartment at 55th and Second in 1983 because I feared the concept of a $30,000 mortgage.
What’s your brand of jeans?
Levi’s. And he wants them back.
When’s the last time you drove a car?
1984. I hit my head on the 7 train at Shea four years prior and destroyed my depth perception while in motion. I did not fully understand this until I took some refresher driving lessons before moving to suburban Boston. And wound up on the sidewalk.
Who should be the next president?
Times, Post, or Daily News?
Times. The News is nearly as good as when I read it every day when I was a kid. Is the Post still publishing?
Yankees or Mets?
Very tough. Grew up with the bad Yankees of the sixties and seventies. Worked with Joe Torre in TV in L.A. But the Mets are good people top to bottom. Just to muddy it further, I like the Red Sox, too.
What makes someone a New Yorker?
Not standing gawking in the middle of the busiest sidewalk. And looking before you turn, or start walking backwards.