Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jenn's Pick: 15 Times Joel McHale Was My Favorite Person Ever

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that my favorite actor is Joel McHale. Besides being incredibly talented, hilariously snarky, down-to-earth, and a pretty decent human being (and Human Being, for that matter), he’s got a certain presence about him that just endears you toward him and everything he does. He’s a genuinely good person and you know what? Good people like him – people who care about the work they do, who have enough energy and time and love to put forth into not just work relationships but a spouse and children, and who genuinely care about and appreciate their fans – deserve good things to happen. And I’m really happy that Joel’s beginning to become respected and noticed in the eyes of more and more people – he’s hosting the White House Correspondents Dinner soon, after all! – and thought I would compile some of my favorite moments from Joel’s interviews and shows. There are fifteen in all and I hope that they somehow manage to brighten each of your days. And who knows, maybe they’ll brighten them so much that the inevitable snow will melt wherever you are.

(Unless you’re in Florida like me where there is no snow, only 80-degree weather. #sorrynotsorry)

So let’s narrow these down and call them "15 Times Joel McHale Was My Favorite Person Ever" because that sounds catchy and almost like a BuzzFeed article, doesn't it?

15. When he crashed Seth Meyers' interview.

Okay, if you don't think this is delightful then you're probably wrong about most things in life, like... thinking Samoas are the best Girl Scout cookies or enjoying Twilight unironically. The truth is that Seth Meyers is a pretty endearing human being and Joel McHale crashing his interview with Kristin Dos Santos is pretty fantastic, especially because this was when it was announced Seth would be taking over for Fallon as host of Late Night.

And it's important to note that Joel and Seth kept up with the joke of being in a relationship for the next few minutes during the interview.

14. When he reenacted the tango with Jim Rash.

I, sadly, do not get to attend things like Paley Fest or CommuniCon or Comic-Con or anything fun because I don't live in Los Angeles and instead live in boring Orlando where all we get are Disney and the Harry Potter theme park. Fortunately, lots of people DO get the opportunity to attend these conventions and panels and post things on the Internet. Occasionally, I even manage to become friends with these people, like I did with the wonderful young woman (Audrey) who posted this video on her Tumblr! One of my new favorite Joel McHale-related moments involves not just Joel, but Jim Rash who is - in my opinion - one of the most underrated comedic actors right now.

Here, Joel and Jim reenact the tango from "History 101" while an entire crowd and panel watch. It's nothing short of fantastic, trust me.

13. When he started a sentence with: "We'd set our VCRs..."

When Joel accidentally slipped and said "VCR" rather than "DVR" in an interview with Ellen, we were thrown into nostalgia. And then this hilarity ensued. What's endearing about Joel is that he's completely unlike me: if I mix up a word or phrase, I get flustered. If Joel does... well, he just seems to roll with it and make others laugh with him and not at him. That's pretty awesome.

(Also, I think this is the first and only interview in the last fifty years where I've heard the word "sarsaparilla" uttered.)

12. When he sent this as Sarah's birthday tweet.

Sarah isn't on Twitter, but I love that Joel took the time to tweet his wife a happy birthday. And I love that he is so utterly devoted to his family, which is where he differs from a lot of people in Hollywood. I know that celebrity marriages are typically fickle, for lack of a better term, but it's so wonderful to see Joel and Sarah as two of those oddballs, in the best way possible. And yes, I rank this as one of my favorite moments of his because most of the moments on this list are fun, weird, random events but this is one that truly exemplifies who Joel is not as an actor or a comedian or a celebrity, but as a person. It's just my personal opinion, of course, but I think this is deserved.

11. (Basically the entirety of his episode of The Getaway.)

There's an entire episode of television that is devoted to Joel McHale drinking and eating (yes, guys, he actually eats FOOD) in Belfast. And actually, I was really intrigued by the city throughout the episode and Ireland is a place that's on my bucket list anyway, so I enjoyed watching the season premiere of The Getaway. Joel is his usual snarky self throughout the episode and gets the opportunity to drink and eat a lot, golf, and shop for clothes. And he does it all amid the backdrop of this gorgeous Ireland town.

10. When he tweeted about the Royal Baby.

Everyone was tweeting about the arrival of the Royal Baby.

I enjoyed reading them all, but no one quite summed up the experience like Joel did. No one.

9. When he said farewell to Cory Monteith on The Soup.

Cory Monteith's passing hit a lot of Hollywood hard and it hit me hard, personally. I don't know why it did, to be honest. I stopped watching Glee regularly a long time ago. I didn't know much about Cory outside of a few interviews and whatever Jaime told me. But the fact that he was so young and had so much potential, and the fact that he left behind a family and a girlfriend who loved him just struck me. I never knew that Joel McHale and Cory ever interacted, outside of that one Emmys opening performance years ago. But then, at the very end of The Soup on the week of his passing, Joel took the time to say a few words about the young man. In an interview, he also talked about how Cory had stopped by the set of Community. How he was always friendly and always complimentary.

I thought it very classy of Joel to take the time out of his show (which those of you who watch The Soup know was a complete switch in tone) to honor the memory of this young star. It's the most somber moment on this list, but it's a moment I felt needed to be included nonetheless.

8. (Okay, all of his Conan interviews.)

Look, I don't care if Joel McHale is talking about how he got out of a speeding ticket, why Justin Bieber is an idiot, or whispering things into Andy Richter's ear, I love every single Conan moment and interview that he's done. Sometimes it's awkward to watch people be interviewed by late night hosts who clearly don't watch the show the actor is promoting, but Conan and Joel always seem to have a natural rapport, which I appreciate. Yay for awkward-free moments!

(The only Conan moment I probably love more is Adam Scott's scholarly analysis of "Ice Ice Baby." Sorry for that one, Joel.)

7. When he and Jim did an Amazon interview.

Just watch it. You won't be disappointed. And if you are... go sit in a corner and think about your life and your choices.

6. When he was essentially in a pile of puppies.

Whenever you're having a bad day at the office, a tough time at school, or just an awful morning, afternoon, or evening in general, remember that this moment exists. I really enjoyed the fact that Joel McHale and Ryan Seacrest got to put aside their (height) differences and work together on the Ford Fusion campaign a few years ago. This video was part of the commercial campaign and it is, to this day, still one of my favorite things on the Internet. How adorable are those little Husky puppies?

5. When he made an amazing Community theme park-related retort.

During the Fan Favorites Panel at Comic-Con a few years ago, Nathan Fillion, Joel McHale, and Matt Smith were at the same table together. Yes, that happened and the Internet somehow did not implode. One of the greatest moments from the panel, however, occurred right after Joel made fun of Nathan for crying at the Firefly 10-year reunion panel. Somewhere, in the back of the crowd, a fan noted that ten years from now, she'll buy a Community t-shirt.

It was an attempt at a burn on Joel and the show, causing the entire room to "ooh" like they were in middle school. But Joel's retort is one of my absolute favorite moments ever and such a stellar comeback.

4. When he spent half of an interview with a baby in his lap.

Once upon a time, Joel McHale spent the last half of an interview with Diablo Cody holding her baby, feeding him things like bananas and apples and a roll. I'd say it's one of the best interviews you'll probably ever watch and I'd be telling the truth. Not only does Joel manage to answer all of Diablo's questions, but he also does it while playing with a baby and making us all a bit more endeared toward him. Or is that just me? Was that just me?

(Spot the moments in the interview with the child in which you can tell Joel is actually a father. I'll give you a cookie. ... a metaphorical one.)

3. (The Community blooper reels. Any of the bloopers. All of the bloopers.)

Just go watch all of the bloopers.

Any of them.

ALL of them.

It's so clear that this cast doesn't just enjoy the work that they do (I'll get to that momentarily), but they really enjoy being around each other for hours on end each day. It's something pretty rare and special in Hollywood to find shows where the cast members genuinely become friends. Watching the Community bloopers reminds me, in ways, of watching the Friends bloopers. In both shows, you can tell that the cast has such an amazing rapport and friendship with each other. And that's something I truly love about this show. They're not afraid to goof around behind the scenes; they often do. They make fun of each other, but it's always done good-naturedly.

And occasionally they dance around and occasionally they do inappropriate things and Yvette reprimands them. And sometimes Alison raps. And sometimes Joel dances. Really, these moments are some of my favorite of Joel's and of the cast's because they're silly and fun and weird and so utterly THEM.

2. When he said: "I skip to work."

Here's why this is one of my favorite Joel McHale moments: it exemplifies how much he cares about the work that he does. Joel is credited with bringing Dan Harmon back for a fifth season of Community and whether that is entirely true or partially true is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that when you care about what you do - when you really and truly love and are passionate about your work - it shines through for everyone else to see. And Joel could have easily gone about his career. He would still be paid, regardless. He didn't have to fight to bring Dan back. No one forced him to, actually.

But it's clearly not about the money to Joel and it's not about the show, even, although that is of integral importance to him. No, it's about the quality of work he does and the people he cares about who watch it. He cares about the Community fans and he always has. He wants Community to be the best for them, for US. And this little season five interview is one of my absolute favorite moments because he jokingly says that he "skips to work." And, upon correction, he tells the interviewer that he skips there in his mind. I don't skip to work, literally OR metaphorically. I don't enjoy my job because I'm not passionate about it. But Joel is passionate about acting and he's passionate about Community, but he's more than a little bit passionate about making the show the best it can possibly be for his fans. It's so amazing to see an actor not just care about how a show does in ratings or how it does critically, but that his joy actually derives from knowing he is helping to create something that other people will embrace and love. It makes him happy to do this for us all, so much so that he jokes about skipping. That's pretty wonderful.

1. When he effusively praised the Community fans for who they are.

Have I discussed how much Joel McHale appreciates the Community fandom yet? No? Okay, well as I round out this post and crown my favorite moment of the actor's to date, this seems like the perfect opportunity to discuss how Joel's love of us makes us love him even more. See, when you are a part of a fandom like Community, sometimes it's difficult. And if it's not difficult, then wait ten minutes and chances are a hiatus is just around the corner! I've been a fan of this show for a while now and I've endured hiatuses and Dan Harmon's firing and cast members leaving and blow-ups within the fandom itself and... I've also been around for weddings of friends in the fandom and births of children and new jobs and exciting news and CommuniCon photos being shared and art shows taking place and I've realized that there is no fandom quite like the Community fandom.

It's one thing, of course, for me to note that. It's another for Joel McHale to note that. He's always been so respectful and so appreciative of the fans. He's always gone above and beyond for them. He's always expressed his admiration of them and jokingly complimented their collective attractiveness. But this interview attributes the success of the show and the continued presence of him ON it to... us. He doesn't praise himself or his performance. He doesn't even praise the writers or producers or his fellow cast members, though all are deserving of praise. No, he credits the FANS for being the reason the show exists and - moreover - explains that they are special. I know you can't sense the tone of a conversation based on a GIF but having listened to the audio from this interview, I can say with certainty that Joel wasn't being sarcastic or witty; he was being serious as he expressed his admiration of and love for the Community fandom. And that, really, is the best Joel McHale moment we could ever ask for.

And now I have sufficiently listed fifteen distinct moments in which Joel McHale was my favorite person ever, so I think my work here is done.

*Also, none of those GIFs above are mine because I can't make GIFs. ... I'm gifted in other ways!


  1. Well Said Jennifer, even though his Seahawks did crush my Broncos and I don't know if I can ever forgive him for that.

    (I can.)