This is probably the least important thing about Mike Francesa as a public figure, radio star and famous human, but he really doesn't seem like a very nice person. Of course, being a nice person isn't really his job. His job is to be on the radio for five hours a day, talking about sports to the extent he is able. This is complicated somewhat by the fact that Francesa doesn't necessarily seem to follow sports all that closely anymore: he has never followed hockey, has a familiar sour and faintly racialized disdain for the NBA, and pretty clearly does not even know what soccer is, and does not want to be told what it is. He likes the Yankees and the NFL, his racehorses and his friend Bill Parcells. He doesn't like the Mets or the people who sometimes call in to his radio show or the people who work on it. This, somehow, has been a recipe for great, decades-spanning success.
It's not that anyone really likes Francesa back, either. He's imperious and prickly and generally pretty ignorant about his area of alleged expertise. He's grandiose and petty at once, which is not exactly a new combination, but which is one to which he has added new and weird Escher-ian dimensions, little grouchy stairwells to nowhere and corridors that twist biliously back on themselves before plunging into shallow pools of Diet Coke. While it's impossible to gainsay his work ethic—he talks about something he barely cares about, to people he cares not at all for, in the company of co-workers he plainly disdains, for five hours a day, every day—Francesa is also pretty frankly repellent in most ways. If an undercooked veal chop could also develop a Long Island accent, it would be Francesa. If Sean Hannity's trolled-out soul poured all its sour essence into eating parm-style sandwiches with Bill Parcells, it would be Francesa. If Donald Trump got an ulcer that could wear a headset and interrupt people, it would be Francesa. All of which is to say that I am, regrettably, fascinated by the guy.
Not to the point that I'll actually listen to his show, of course: I'm busy, life is short, and I hate his voice and most of what he says with it. But I do enjoy, in a masochistic way, collecting Francesiana. When Francesa goes on a berserk rant about the New York Mets that is really a berserk rant about how much he hates LOSERS, I will listen to it. When Francesa nods off while a guest talks about the Yankees and then wakes up, plainly terrified, I will watch the video and embed that gif, which is courtesy of Deadspin. Inspired by friend of the program Ben Cohen's meditative practice of doing so, I try to re-read Nick Paumgarten's amazing, saddening, baffling New Yorker profile of Francesa and his frankly psychotic former partner Chris Russo at least once a year.
I think that Francesa nodding off while another person speaks and then awakening angrily is maybe the most perfectly Mike Francesa thing that he or anyone else could do. I am fairly sure he will top it, though. He will top it, and I will hate it, but a small, strange part of me will be grateful for it.