Each Friday, The Hotline's Latest Edition includes a profile of a media figure. Today, our "Friday Feature" was MSNBC's Willie Geist. Geist hosts MSNBC's "Way too Early with Willie Geist" and co-hosts "Morning Joe." Geist also hosts Zeitgeist, the popular satirical video blog on msnbc.com. Geist joined MSNBC in 2005 as a senior producer of "The Situation with Tucker Carlson." During the show's development, producers decided Geist's newsroom banter with Carlson ought to be part of the show. Geist spent the last segment of "The Situation" (later called "Tucker") reporting and offering his unique spin on the day's news.
Geist came to MSNBC from the world of sports television, and has been in London covering the Olympics for NBC Sports Network and blogging about it on "Mo'Jo Blog." If you've turned on a TV in the past week, you've probably seen Geist covering the Olympics. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., he anchors the coverage for NBC Sports Network and does regular appearances on MSNBC, NBC and the several other venues. In honor of the Olympics, we're featuring the Geist interview for your reading pleasure here. Without further ado, here is our Friday Feature!
Where's your hometown?
Ridgewood, New Jersey.
And what was it like growing up there?
Great town. Ridgewood is about 15 miles outside New York: safely suburban, but a short theft-of-your-parents'-car to the city.
What were you like in high school?
A mix of athlete (captain of the football and basketball teams) and closeted dork (Boys State, French Club). Loved history and English, but so objectively terrible at science that I was sentenced to the juvenile delinquent class where we mainly melted pens with Bunsen burners.
What's your most embarrassing on-the-job moment? (Or as embarrassing as you'd like to reveal?)
I once asked Lynda Carter, on live TV, if she could still get into the Wonder Woman costume. Forgot where I was for a moment there.
Who's your favorite fictional president? Real one?
Fictional: President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho from "Idiocracy", the Mike Judge movie whose message rings more true with each passing day.
Real: I'm going with John Tyler
because no one in the history of this question has ever said "John Tyler." He's one of that small handful of American presidents who, when you hear the name, you have to think for a second about whether he was the leader of the free world or a guy who was in your high school woodshop class. (I'm lookin' at you too, Zach Taylor
Which one would be the best drinking partner?
. Who's lived more life than that guy?
What is the most memorable commentary you've received from a superior?
"You have the face of a 30-year-old and the haircut of a 50-year-old."
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Man, that would be depressing. Rolling Stones' "Let It Bleed." Second choice is Jay-Z
's "The Blueprint."
Best drink in New York? Best pizza?
Drink: Bourbon on the rocks (take your pick -- I like Maker's or Booker's) with a splash of ginger ale.
Pizza: We're a big Patsy's family.
What actor would play you in a movie?
Anthony Michael Hall
. If we can't land AMH, we go for Biff from "Back To The Future." Spitting image.
Who do you look up to as a journalist?
I don't know that I "look up" to them, but in our predictably partisan media world, I admire journalists who are genuinely nonpartisan and totally fearless in their work - people who have no interest in being invited to the cocktail party. I don't agree with everything he writes, but Glenn Greenwald
comes to mind.
If you could have one super power to aid you in your job, what would it be?
The ability to feel like I slept for 10 hours when I slept for 5.
What's your guilty pleasure TV and favorite political movie?
TV: I recently stumbled across "CSI: Miami" in syndication. I'd never seen it before. I solved the mystery in the first 10 minutes of the show, but thought, "Surely there'll be some clever twist. No way it's that obvious." Great news: it was! Watching "CSI: Miami" is like watching "Teen Jeopardy!" or doing the crossword puzzle in People magazine. It makes you feel smart even when you're not. Movie: It's not out yet, but I'm pretty sure the Ferrell
movie "The Campaign" is going to be my favorite. (Full disclosure: I'm in it. Briefly. Very briefly.) Always loved "The War Room" too.
Favorite Yankee of all time and best game you've been to?
I was a big Dave Winfield
guy growing up. Wrote him postcards from our family vacations as a kid (seriously). I don't love that the Yankees gave Ichiro
Best game I've been to was in June when my dad and I got to call a few innings of Yanks/Braves for MLB.com. They had to kick us out of the booth. Big thrill.
What is your favorite "newsroom meal"?
Almonds to make me feel good about myself before I go and ravage the leftovers of the Starbucks pastry tray.
What time do you go to bed?
Too late for my wakeup. Usually around 10 p.m.
If you weren't working as a journalist, what would you be doing?
I was a landscaper for three years and loved it. Maybe that. Mix in a little gangsta rapping too - those guys seem to do well.
If you found yourself stuck on a deserted island with a current politician, who would it be and why?
If you suddenly find yourself on a deserted island there has, by definition, been some kind of physical trauma, so it would be good to have a doctor there. And while you're at it, you might as well have a doctor who also has a plan to diffuse the nation's debt bomb. Senator Tom Coburn
(R-OK) checks both boxes.
In one sentence, your best advice to young, fresh-out-of-college journalists.
Don't let the urge to be fast and opinionated make you wrong and predictable.
What has been your favorite moment so far in the 2012 presidential race?
October 28, 2011. Manchester, NH. Rick Perry.
Finish this sentence: Today I ...
...rode a double-decker bus to work in London. For real.
Bonus question How much would it take for you to wear a Tennessee Volunteers jersey?
I'd wear it only if I needed just the right shade of orange to carry out my chain-gang highway cleanup along Interstate 40 outside Knoxville.