ABC’s television show “The View” has named Mike Rivera, a seventh-grade civics teacher at Osceola Middle School, the country’s Most Hilarious Teacher.
“It’s a great title to have,” said Rivera, who used to be a full-time comic. “It’s life affirming.”
He also hopes his win will set a great example for his students.
“I can tell the kids ‘If you don’t try, nothing is going to happen,’ ” said Rivera, 51.
Last week, Rivera participated in the show’s “How Funny Are You?” contest, competing against teachers from Toronto, Staten Island, N.Y., Canton, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Mich.
It’s been a whirlwind for Rivera.
“The View” flew him back to New York for today’s show to announce his win. On top of everything, it was a thrill to meet host Barbara Walters and Regis Philbin, who was a guest on the show, he said.
“Seriously,” said Rivera on his way to LaGuardia Airport to fly back home. “You cannot write the history of television without Barbara Walters and Regis Philbin.”
He plans to be in class on Tuesday before the show flies him back to New York again later this week. On Friday, March 8, he will join Joy Behar on the show for Joy’s Comedy Corner.
“I’m very proud to represent Pinellas County Schools,” Rivera said.
About two decades ago, Rivera worked as comic full-time. He has been teaching for almost 13 years and now does comedy on the weekends. Today, he said, he’s a father first, a teacher second and “funny guy” third.