As "Jersey Shore" and non-"Jersey Shore" fans know, Mike served eight months in a Federal Correction Institution near Otisville, New York.
"I feel fantastic," Mike told his co-star and her BFF, Joey. "I've lost 40 pounds in this process. I'm back reunited with my beautiful wife. And working on the No. 1 TV show on MTV! I'm very grateful and just taking advantage of every moment, every conversation, every meal and just living my best life."
Mike was released Sept. 12. At the time, Snooki said the roommates wanted to give Mike his space but producers insisted, "No, we need him in the house!"
"When I first got home, all I wanted to do was spend time with my beautiful wife. I wanted to have a naked pizza party," Mike said, which Lauren happily revealed happened. "I wanted to watch movies. I wanted to watch 'Avengers.' I wanted to watch 'Game of Thrones.' I had to catch up on all that TV. I wanted to snuggle with my dog."
He added, "And then the producers of MTV were like, 'Listen, we need to get you in there ASAP.'"
"So I pretty much took the ball and started to run with it immediately," he explained. "I started working the day I came out. I saw you guys the next day, and then I think I moved in a couple days later. I was mentally ready, but at the same time, I was like, 'Alright, this is my job. It's time to man up. It's time to rise to the occasion.' Get that shmoney! I missed out on eight months. I wasn't doing projects for eight months."
"I was blessed to shoot a lot of TV before I went into prison, so while I was in prison, I was on TV every Thursday with a smile on my face," he added. "Like, 'Oh, look, there's my wedding!' But I missed out on a lot of money from being in prison for eight months."
"My wife would send me magazines on a weekly basis," Mike said. "That was my treat. I got all the celebrity weeklies. Fitness, too. I even asked for National Geographic at certain times. I just wanted to read anything. Forbes."
"There were a number of TVs there," he continued. "You had to pretty much get permission from some of the guys that have been in there for years and years and years to be like, 'Listen, can I watch the TV show that I'm on tonight on Thursday night?' I had to get permission from the Russians. They were running most of the prison -- the Russians and the Spanish communities."
When asked if real-life prison could be compared to TV-prisons, Mike said, "I think it might be more like 'Orange Is the New Black' than anything else. There wasn't anything crazy going on, but it had that hierarchy like a high school. Like cliques."
Did Fame Help or Hurt?
Joey asked if Mike's inmates liked him because of his fame.
"No, no. They actually liked me as soon as I came in. They really liked me. They really loved me," he said. "I lucked out. I was very grateful. Everything worked out. I got all the extra food all the time, I got the best seats, I got to watch TV whenever I wanted, I was able to put on whatever channel I wanted at any particular time. And people left me alone."
Who Were His Friends?
"There was two Italian guys in there that worked in the kitchen that I befriended and I used to work out with," Mike explained, adding that he thought one of the guys was in the Mob. "Andy [Cucumbers] worked in the kitchen, and [then there was] Tony Meatballs. And I would get the extra food every single day -- the extra cutlets or extra meatballs or extra burgers. Very cliquey." Mike also confirmed Joey's question -- that the groups often divide themselves up based on race or nationality.
"I sat at the Russian table. That was a good table," Mike said. "If someone sat at the table and you weren't supposed to sit there, everyone would look at you and someone would say, 'That is not your seat.' You would have to get up."
Mike said he did see someone get "thrown in the SHU! It is a thing. They got thrown in the SHU." (The SHU stands for Security Housing Units and is solitary confinement used for punishment.) "They found a knife in their locker."
He added that there were no "dirty panties," but Mike said people were "caught with Burger King. I don't know how they got caught with Burger King!"
Nicole then begged Mike to "tell the story about the Chinese food in the forest."
He chuckled and began, "The [correctional officers] would check on a daily basis the surrounding areas. They would check lockers. And one day, they came in with a bag of Chinese food, protein powder and pre-workout, all in the same package. Egg rolls. They did ask if it was mine. It wasn't. I tried to stay on the narrow!"
"But [inmates] would actually get Chinese food delivered to the bushes of the woods, I guess, the forest?" he said. "I wonder what you'd say when it's time to deliver. 'Yeah, just make a left and drop it in the woods! Shove it behind the fifth bush.'"
What About Billy McFarland?
"People would constantly try to smuggle stuff in," Mike explained, before Joey asked, "Cellphones?" "Yes," Mike replied. "That's actually I think one of the reasons -- what's his name, the guy from the Netflix show?" Sitch was talking about Billy McFarland, the creator of the infamous Fyre Festival.
"He supposedly smuggled in some sort of recording device, and he was caught with it," Mike claimed. "They said he was trying to record high-profile inmates, and they threw him in the SHU. They sent him to a worse prison, I think, recently. That's a bonehead move right there. I don't even know why he'd be recording in there. Maybe he was trying to write a book or something? I don't know."
Ironically, Mike hadn't seen either Fyre Festival documentary, despite using the Netflix one to describe McFarland.
"I would see him in passing," Mike said, despite previous reports that the two were friends. "He was very quiet. He was reserved. He would say hi, but he wasn't in my group of friends. I played against him in basketball and softball maybe, but then he was thrown out of the prion."
Any Hanky Panky?
"They frowned about any type of sexual contact in there. I did not see anything," Mike said, noting that inmates probably "do it in the showers." He said the showers "had some privacy" and that they looked like the ones you might find in a gym.
"There's guys in there that have been in there for many, many years," he added. "I saw some flirting behavior that you would do with like your wife or your girlfriend, but I didn't see anything else."
"The conditions are not the best. It's like us going to the worst Shore House we've ever been and staying for eight months," Mike said, adding that they did get blankets and pillows but that they're "very uncomfortable."
"If you're caught with an extra blanket or pillow, they take that shit away real quick," he said. "People sneak that shit out of the warehouse, and then there's a search for pillows and blankets. No joke."
But it wasn't all bad. "I actually had a guy doing my laundry in there," Mike confessed, "which was fuego. He did the best laundry ever. His name was Elvis." Mike also had a guy come clean his shower and said he would "give him extra food every day" because Mike was "on a sick diet." He worked out twice a day and did intermittent fasting: 16 hours a day during the week, 17 to 19 hours on the weekends. "I'd walk around like Santa Claus, giving people chicken cutlets!"
"If you know someone from the kitchen, you can get a salad every single day instead of cornbread and beets," he said, adding that the quality was "like the worst school lunch you've ever had."
While Mike never went without the commissary's finest (sweatpants, tea), the prison did put a cap on how much he could spend: $180 every two weeks. "I would run out every week, man," Mike said. "This is one of the reasons I'm in prison -- for budgeting issues -- and I'm still having problems!"
He Asked Michael Cohen to Steal Him Chicken
Mike's sentence overlapped with that of President Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen. In fact, he saw him "the first day that he came into prison."
"I went up to him the first day, and he was a bit nervous, and I thought to myself, you know what? I'm gonna ask him to go sneak me some chicken out of the main line. It's his first day," Mike recalled. "I went up to Michael Cohen, and I said, 'Listen, Michael Cohen.' I'm there for like three-four months, I'm like, 'Listen, bro, I'm gonna need you to do something for me.' He said, 'What is it, Mike? Anything!' I said, 'I'm gonna need you to go in main line. It's your first day here. No one knows. I'm gonna need you to smuggle chicken from the main line and give it to me. I'm gonna hide it in my locker so that I can have an extra serving after my workout.'"
Mike said Cohen "chickened out" when "chicken day" came along, and he was "pissed."
Did He Have a Job?
He did, but he got out of it. He was assigned to be the "orderly," who essentially goes around the facility and makes sure everything is in order.
"I'll be honest," Mike said, "there was a guy in prison that did my job for me." He also didn't have to wake up when everyone else woke up, noting the COs mostly left him alone. But he was up early anyway -- like 7 a.m. -- for his cardio. He did weights later on in the day.
Mike said he was praised by the staff when he was released. He said they told him they wished more inmates would behave the way he did. Mike was touched ... but wondered why he wasn't released early.
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