The first time I met Mike Responts, I showed up at the studio in painted, ratty sweats and an old baseball cap. I was there at midnight to talk about a fundraiser for Team in Training. I stayed and talked politics until 2:00. The other guests were drunken barflies who had nicknames based on Jersey Shore stars. Mike hit on all of them, but I could tell he was irritated, too. It was comical. I had a great time.
I guested on his show a handful of times after that, all of them in pajamas. He would hit on every woman in the place, but never hit on me. We would bicker and banter and push each other. It was good stuff.
Months later, he called and asked me to co-host his new time slot. I said yes and headed down to chat with him.
"Holy shit!" was the first thing out of his mouth when he saw me.
"I didn't realize you were hot. I mean, I thought you might have potential, but you were always in that gigantic New York sweatshirt and that nasty Yankees cap."
"Thanks, I think."
"This is great! No, I mean it. We'll stick your headshot on the one-sheet, and I'll have another hot sidekick. Yes, this is so great." He loved talking about how I was an undercover hottie on his show. Because of his love for strippers, I was never really sure how to take this new monikor...
It was never really our show, either. 600 Pounds of Ugly was always Mike's. He would prep me for the show with links and soundbytes - all of it controversial. I would argue that he was stretching the truth. He would say, "Fantastic! Save it for the show." We argued a lot and had a great time with Nick, the sound board guy. The dynamic between the three of us was electric at times.
On one of our last shows together, before the station pulled us, Mike said this to me, "You know the only thing preventing you from ruling the world? A sense of entitlement. You're smart, you're hot, people like you. You need to develop a sense of entitlement. DEMAND things. I'm a piece of shit - no, seriously, people barely put up with me - but I make demands and I get what I want. You could be something really big in the world. You just have to believe it yourself."
I'm still letting those words sink in. Mike never let me squirm away from his crass compliments. "Just nod, GiGi. Agree with me on this shit. Argue with me on everything else, but I am the only man on this planet that has never lied to you. I swear, I never will."
You were a better man than you let on, Mike Responts. You taught me a lot. Tell Joe hello for me.