Joel McHale is my best friend.
Let me explain.
I attended “An Evening with Joel McHale” at the University Temple United Methodist Church tonight. The event promoted the comedian, actor, writer, television producer and television host’s new book and TV show.
His book “Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be” is part tell-all memoir (that’s not all fact) and part how-to guide (that’s actually a joke) filled with Hollywood gossip, get-rich tips, and lots of illustrations and charts.
Joel also stars in CBS’s newest show, “The Great Indoors,” a comedy about a Gen X reporter who must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss of millennials in the digital department of a magazine. It’s a timely and insightful show about the clash of the two generations.
(Interestingly, the theme for this season of “Survivor” is Millennials vs. Gen X, which separated castaways into tribes by their generation.)
The evening featured an on-stage interview with Joel McHale about his television career. Although he is most known for hosting “The Soup” and starring in “Community,” he also was in the cast of KING 5’s “Almost Live!” It was a Seattle-style “Saturday Night Live” that aired from 1984 to 1999.
In the interview, Joel mentioned how “The Great Indoors” received a lot of media attention because a reporter at a press conference about the premiere of the show was offended because millennials were portrayed as too sensitive in the pilot. Yeah, I know. The irony.
After the interview followed a Q&A with Joel’s fans, including a back-and-forth with yours truly.
Here’s what I can remember of our convo:
Me: Hi. I’m a millennial journalist. I haven’t saw “The Great Indoors” yet…
Joel: You haven’t saw my show?
Me: I mean, I haven’t seen “The Great Indoors” yet…
Joel: You say you’re a journalist? Aren’t you supposed to have good grammar?
Me: I’m sorry, I’m just a little nervous. I can’t talk none good.
I haven’t seen your show yet, but I promise I won’t get offended by it.
Joel: How can you be offended by a show you haven’t saw yet?
Me: Oh my gosh…
Joel: Which newspaper do you write for?
Me: The Mukilteo Beacon.
Joel: The Mukilteo Beacon? The Mukilteo Beacon. What’s the news in Mukilteo?
Me: Well, a junior at Kamiak High School just found out he aced the computer science AP exam. He’s one of only 10 in the world to do so.
Me: Yeah. My question is, since you’re playing a journalist in the show – you do play a journalist, right? – did you prepare for the role?
(My fellow journos: I know, I know. I realize I didn’t ask an open-ended question. I think I was just nervous.)
His short answer to my question was no. While I don’t remember all of what followed here, at one point Joel likened preparation for his role as a magazine reporter to Ted Danson’s role in “Cheers.”
Joel: “Just like Ted Danson didn’t need to learn how to bar tend to play a bartender on TV, I didn’t need to job shadow a reporter to prepare for my role.”
Then he genuinely apologized for saying so.
Joel: “I’m sorry, that was offensive to journalists.”
Although his apology can read as very tongue-in-cheek – after all, I initiated our conversation based on his story about an overly sensitive reporter – it was genuine.
When I met Joel while in line for the book signing and photo op, he asked me if the friend with me was my husband. I told him no, he’s my best friend. He then asked which one of us was gay.
The questions didn’t stop: He asked how long we have been friends. “Since 2004. That’s when I graduated.” From where? “From high school.” Did you go to college? “Yes.” Where did you go to college? “The University of Washington.” Oh, I’ve heard of that place.
That was a joke. Joel also attended the University of Washington. The church where we were is practically across the street from the university.
Then I saw what he wrote in my book: “Sara – I’m your best friend. (heart) Joel McHale”
I had the best time.
Update: I posted the following on Joel’s official Facebook page today: “I tried to open my question at “An Evening with Joel McHale” last night with a joke, failed miserably, and enjoyed every minute of our back-and-forth at the church. Thank you for making fun of me. If you ever want to job shadow a journalist or humor me with an interview for the Mukilteo Beacon, look me up.”