A Brief History of Mike Francesa

Without question, WFAN 660 AM afternoon-drive radio host & corpulent bombast, Mike Francesa is one of my favorite quasi-celebrities to lampoon. His shimmering choppers and cemented salt & pepper coif provide a canvas entirely ripe for parody. His multifaceted hypocrisies, propensity to play favorites and overall unpreparedness catalyze an endless parade of hilarity that makes my little hobby of digital cartooning very very easy.

My love/hate relationship with Mike’d Up (née Mike & the Mad Dog) was born on a fateful day in the 1980s when my father turned on Sports Radio 66, The Fan. For better or much much worse, the monotonous drone of Mike Francesa has, since then, been as prevalent as my own heartbeat. I tell you this now because as ubiquitous as Mike has been in my life, he’s equally as unknown outside of the NY metro area (and his obscurity is exponential outside the wide world of sports).

Francesa’s current popularity is mainly due to the immense popularity that his former program garnered over nearly two decades of chatter. Co-hosted by Sirius-XM refugee Chris Russo, the two butchered the English language for almost 20 years with an uninformed rapport that was easy to love. Now, Russo, a former sports titan has about the same amount of listeners as this blog has readers (not many).

With Russo out of the picture, Francesa was able to commandeer complete carte blanche and eschew any previous radio formalities (research and guests quickly come to mind).  As it stands, Francesa makes egregious claims and then does a total 180 when the tide turns against him. He bullies antagonistic callers with a lightning fast hook then proceeds to browbeat them with evidence potentially unrelated to the caller’s topic. I can offer a firsthand account of the last example. Some time during last year’s MLB playoffs, I brought up an issue about Tim McCarver’s rhetorical style while broadcasting said baseball games. Mike immediately hung up on me and then proceeded say that Tim McCarver should not be questioned as he caught Bob Gibson in the World Series, a customary & pertinently dismissive rebuttal from the Pope.

And with that, I’ll begin an abbreviated version of Mike’s story through pictures:

Bow before the Sports Pope

The Sports Pope is a nickname that Mike Francesa does not like. How could he? It exemplifies him as the arrogant holier-than-thou opinion maker that he is. His distaste for the moniker, combined with my distaste for Catholicism have made this combination one of my favorite avenues to traverse. Here are a few of my papal favorites.

Mike’d Up

When Mike and Chris split up, there was some confusion as to what to call Mike’s new solo radio program. Thankfully, the powers that be (prob just a jury of one big fella) selected a perfectly ridiculous name for the show. Enter Mike’d Up. Being both completely unoriginal and an awful pun, many of Tank’s (another great nickname for Mikey) acolytes simplified the program’s title to the pointedly blunt combination of ‘Dupp.’  This monosyllabic turd of a nickname has easily become my favorite and lends itself to much superior wordplay & sight gags alike:

(this one is a favorite)

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Another wonderful aspect of Mike Francesa is his general knowledge about anything and everything. If you can stomach 15 minutes of his 5.5 hour program, you’ll assuredly be inundated with self-credited examples of Mike’s disparate and sprawling knowledge. Mike will frequently regale his listeners with spirited tales of attending monumental sporting events and hobnobbing with athletic immortals. The guy has mentioned, on more than one occasion, that he had the distinct privilege of meeting Secretariat. I shit you not. With that contorted sense of self-worth being as abundant as his heavy breathing & lip smacking, these images essentially evoked themselves:

Amid all the nastiness I’ve written about Mike Francesa, I will admit that I am an undying fan of his. He is definitely an NY sports institution and though his guttural gibberish may sometimes drown out any semblance of sports information, Dupp still manages to crush his lowly rival ESPN radio in the ratings. If you’re tuning in for up-to-the-minute sports news or looking for hard-hitting questions asked of interesting guests, well, you’re looking in the wrong place. If you’re a fan of rubbernecking at train-wrecks of unintentional comedy, then lets flip on the YES™ network and have a laugh together.

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30 comments on “A Brief History of Mike Francesa

  1. WheelZ on said:

    ::BUTTONPUSH-HANDWAVE::

  2. I believe you mean :fingered:

    AWESOME summary, FT. Great article.

  3. Not a good…but great read.

  4. Very interesting article on someone I am not familiar
    with…I do not find the fact your father listening to the same
    program for over 30 + yrs hard to believe…years ago, he couldn’t
    fall asleep without listening to some crazy NYC talk show , even on
    the shores of lake erie…nice job here Funtime!!! West Coast
    Wahoo

  5. You might as well tell WikiPedia to kill their take on the man. This is the definitive bio.

  6. Don't Bother Me on said:

    “rubbernecking at train-wrecks of unintentional comedy”

    You owe me a coffee sir and for wages covering time spent from work cleaning off my monitor…

    As accurate as it was entertaining, great job on this…

  7. eddie dah screenah on said:

    Awesome…Mushnick would love this if he could access the interwebs…

  8. I have to admit that I am with you. Mike is very much a blowhard, but for some reason, I can’t get enough of his schtick. I only wish I was somewhere right this moment where I could put the radio, TV, or Internets on his show to listen to him badger, belittle, and browbeat the Jets….only to have him turn around and say something incompatible with his previous opinion about 5 minutes later.

    Long live Mike’d Up!

    • Funtime on said:

      Looks like we’re on the same page Mr. Wakeman!

      Thanks for the comments everybody!

      Looks like Part II will be written sooner rather than later!

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  11. Greg T on said:

    Great stuff- you should have included the photo he took
    with Queen Elizabeth. One thing in the Pope’s favor though. Wouldn’t we all
    sound ridiculous -in our own way -if we had to speak about sports 5 1/2 hours a day-over 200 days a year- for 22 years. One would almost have to sound wacky.
    Mike sure does.

  12. Uggggggh, the idear that ESPN could challenge me is
    patently ridiculous. I remember that picture with da Beatles. I
    helped McCartney write “Yestahday.” It was takend right aftah I
    beat Lennon in a foot race. True story. Great article!

  13. Jets Fan on said:

    After his clear bias against the Jets last year, the Jets basically refused to have any players, coaches, or front-office people go on his show. He continues to claim that “the Jets started it”. But I still find it amazing that someone can have a successful sports radio show when one of the major teams in the area refuses to be on the show. Mike has responded by continuing to bash the Jets and call them classless on a regular basis. Which I find hilarious since they’ve had just as many player problems as any other team in the league.

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  15. Great post. I want to see more of your work.

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  17. good article,however I get a bit of trouble in reading the last paragraph, can you please explain a little more in depth?

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  24. A lot of these comments dont seem sensible? Give the guy a rest and stop posting crap! Keep up this great work. Excellent post!

  25. Love it. I hate the guy’s show and though my radio is usually on WFAN when I get in the car in the afternoon ten minutes of listening to that pompous dope might be the record. He’s rude, arrogant, and wrong most of the time. Any drunk stooge at a sports bar could do his show as well and anyone that has a sports talk show in the largest market in the US would have a contact or two. At least the Mad dog knew that he was a boob and didn’t take himself too serious.

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