Joel McHale is my best friend | Editor's Note

By Sara Bruestle | Nov 02, 2016

Joel McHale is my new best friend. We like to talk journalism.

I met McHale at “An Evening with Joel McHale” on Saturday at the University Temple United Methodist Church near the University of Washington.

Seattle was one of the comedian, actor, writer, television producer and television host’s 10 stops on his national book tour.

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.

McHale stars in CBS’s newest show, “The Great Indoors,” a comedy about a Gen X reporter who must adapt to the times when he is promoted to an editor for an adventure magazine and oversees a staff of Millennials in the digital department. It’s essentially a show about the clash of the two generations.

Generation X includes those born in 1965-1984, while Millennials are those born in 1982-2004. I don’t understand the overlap of the two. It’s weird.

(Interestingly, the theme for this season of the reality TV show “Survivor” – another show on CBS – 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 career – and, of course, his new book.

Although he is most known for hosting “The Soup” on E! and starring in NBC’s “Community,” he also was in the cast of KING 5’s “Almost Live!” It was a Seattle-style “Saturday Night Live” that aired from 1984-1999.

In the interview, Joel mentioned how “The Great Indoors” received a lot of media attention after a reporter at a press conference about the TV 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 McHale’s fans, including a back-and-forth with yours truly.

Here’s what I can remember of our conversation:

Me: Hi. I’m a Millennial journalist. I haven’t saw “The Great Indoors” yet…

Joel: You haven’t saw my show? (laughter)

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? (laughter)

Me: I’m sorry, I’m nervous. I can’t talk none good. (laughter) 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? (laughter)

Me: Oh my gosh…

Joel: Which newspaper do you write for?

Me: The Mukilteo Beacon.

Joel: The Mukilteo Beacon? What’s the news in Mukilteo?

Me: A junior at Kamiak High School just found out he aced the AP computer science exam. He’s one of only 10 in the world to do so.

Joel: Wow.

Me: Yeah, it’s quite the accomplishment. My question is, since you’re playing a journalist in the show, did you prepare for the role?

(My fellow journos: I know, I know. I didn’t ask an open-ended question. I was nervous.)

His short answer to my question was no. While I don’t remember much of his explanation, at one point McHale likened his portrayal of a magazine reporter to Ted Danson’s role in NBC’s “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 comparing reporting to bartending.

Joel: “I’m sorry, that was offensive to journalists.”

Although his apology can read as tongue-in-cheek – after all, I tried to preface our conversation with a joke based on his story about an overly sensitive reporter – it was genuine.

When it was my turn to get my book signed and a photo op, McHale 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. That was a joke.

Afterward, I checked to see what he wrote in my book: “Sara – I’m your best friend. (heart) Joel McHale”

I had the best time.

On Sunday, I posted the following on McHale’s official Facebook page: “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.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." – Albert Einstein

EMAIL OF THE WEEK: From Fred Apgar, chaplain for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8870: “I just returned from the East Coast, and among the waiting mail was the Mill Creek Beacon. I was pleased to see your picture and read about the honors you recently received [‘Beacon wins 3 awards at state newspaper convention,’ page 2, Oct. 21]. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition. I know it represents lots of hard work and dedication to your craft.”

CALL OF THE WEEK: From Cynthia Espeseth, Beacon columnist and priest for St. Hilda St. Patrick: “As your grandfather’s granddaughter, you will always carry him with you, and you will pass him on to your children, his great-grandchildren [‘‘‘Family man” Ken Bruestle dies at 77,’ Obituaries, page 15, Oct. 26]. He lives within you.”

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