It's been a long, strange trip for former Westword cover boy Rick Rosner, who debuted in these pages in 1986 as a roller-skating stripper/waiter who also happened to be the second-smartest man in America, according to Omni magazine. Since those innocent days, Rosner's penchant for exhibitionism has tended to overshadow his prodigious brains. Although he claims to have scored 200 on an IQ test, he's also performed as a giant penis on The Man Show, shown up in the buff on the unmemorable Crank Yankers, faked his way back to high school multiple times, and gotten involved in even weirder stunts involving celibacy and the consumption of pencil erasers.
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A few years ago, Rosner took on Regis Philbin and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? after a flawed question cost him a crack at the big prize. He'd qualified for the program 45 times (see our 2000 story "Surrender Regis") -- sufficiently one-track behavior to attract the attention of Errol Morris, who did a segment of his First Person show on the controversy. More recently, he's shown up in a Dominos commercial fighting the Subway evil empire ("Is it smart to like Subway?").
But all that's nothing compared to Rosner's latest, um, obsession.
On Monday night, Rosner showed up ID'd only as "Rick" in the new A&E basic cable reality show Obsessed. Monday is junkie night on A&E, with back-to-back episodes of Intervention (for those who can't get enough of drug-and-alcohol rehab and anorexic twins), followed by this new venture into anxiety disorders and compulsive behavior. Rosner's segment focused on his tendency to work out fifty times or more a week -- a bit tame compared to the episode's other patient, a woman so obsessed with cleanliness that she scrubs her bowels with a toothbrush (I wish I was making this up) during two-hour bathing rituals.
Given Rosner's history of weird hoaxes and stunts, it's hard to take his OCD turn seriously. (One of his tics apparently is making lots of turns when he sits down.) But the therapy offered by the show seemed to help. Now if only they could do something about his obsession with the limelight.