Osceola Middle School Teacher Adjusts To Life As A Celebrity
After being named ‘America’s Most Hilarious Teacher’ by “The View”, Mike Rivera is trying to balance his career with his newfound fame.
You’ll have to forgive Mike Rivera if he looks a little bleary-eyed these days.
After all, the Osceola Middle School teacher has been making frequent trips from Pinellas County to New York City to appear on the daytime talk show “The View” the past couple of weeks.
Rivera was just named ‘America’s most hilarious teacher’ by the program on Monday, and his ascension from local civics teacher to national television star has been a blur of airports, classrooms and celebrities.
“A month ago someone sent me a link to enter the contest. Nine days ago they told me I was one of five finalists, and yesterday I found out I was the winner,” he said from his Seminole classroom.
“I’m flying to New York three times in six days. It’s been a whirlwind.”
The 51-year-old Rivera said he has always had an interest in comedy, but he abandoned his dream of being a professional comic long ago.
Although he plays side gigs locally to supplement his teaching income, he has no aspirations of making comedy a career; he says he is a father first, a teacher second and a comic third.
But he decided to take a chance and enter the “View” competition on a whim, and he wound up beating the other finalists with a routine the judges called “likable” and “edgy.”
“I tell my kids when I do my job, it’s TV-14. It’s not for the classroom,” he said of his somewhat salty set.
Rivera admits the newfound celebrity should help him get more gigs in the area. And he says meeting celebs like NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Regis Philbin and “View” co-hosts Sherri Shepherd, Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Barbara Walters was “very cool.”
But he is committed to his students and his profession. And he believes his kids can learn a valuable lesson from his experience.
“I never thought I’d see myself in my position at my age. I gave up this dream a generation ago,” he said. “I tell my students if you don’t try, you’ll never know.”
“And my own kids, I think they’re proud of their dad. And that’s the best part – they’re proud of their dad.”
Mike Rivera will appear on “The View” this Friday, March 8 for an interview with co-host Joy Behar for a segment titled “Joy’s Comedy Corner.” The program airs locally at 11 a.m. on WFTS Channel 28.
- Osceola Middle Teacher Named 'Most Hilarious' by "The View"
- Largo Teacher to Appear on 'The View' Friday Morning
- WATCH: Largo Teacher Does Standup on 'The View'
Sign up for the Largo Patch email newsletter to get our top headlines delivered straight to your inbox so you won't miss a thing!