I was thrown by that little phrase, but thanks. Now I've learned something to toss into a conversation with my Scouser brother-in-law:
"take the mick/mickey/michael -- vb. British -- to mock, deride, poke fun at. These expressions are milder versions of 'take the piss.' Unbeknownst to most users, they employ rhyming slang: Mickey is short for a mythical 'Mickey Bliss,' providing the rhyme for 'piss.' 'Michael' is a humorous variant.