Though I’m in Pittsburgh eight months of the year for school, I’m originally from New York. Not the city, though – I’m from Long Island, about forty minutes away from the city, and as you can imagine, not many exciting things happen there. I’ve only met a celebrity twice in my life – the first time was when the cast of Glee came to a local mall to promote the first soundtrack from the show, and the second time was when I went to see Joel McHale perform stand-up in July.
I was on my break at work when I checked Twitter and saw my friends Jenn and Kim freaking out over the news: tickets were on sale to see Joel McHale perform at Caroline’s in about two weeks. Obviously, I got a ticket immediately (ahh, the days when I was working and could actually afford things).
Two weeks later, I met my beloved Kim in Times Square, and we set off for Caroline’s, where I met two other Twitter friends (one of whom was Sage, the co-runner of Head Over Feels). We went inside and ordered drinks (I was carded. Sad face. But I did get to have Shirley Temples, so really, who’s the winner here?), and then they let us into the main room.
Our table was right by the stage. As in, we were along the front wall, three or four tables back. And we were right on the path the performers would take on their way to and from the stage. Kim and I immediately grabbed the seats on the aisle, and when Joel came out, he was about two inches from me (and I got to touch his hand when he left after his set was over)
But onto the main event: meeting him. A few days before, the Emmy nominations had been announced, and, save one writing nomination, Community had been overlooked again. So Kim and I came up with the idea of making Joel a trophy from the fans.
We rallied on Twitter and our plan slowly came together over the next week. Everyone wrote Joel a message on a gift tag template, which Kim cut out and attached to a plastic trophy she had found. We called it the World’s Most Handsome Young Man Award, in reference a Community episode.
So after the show, we staked out the exit of the club. Kim had seen Joel perform at Caroline’s before, so we went to the opposite side of the building, where he had come out that first time. Three girls followed us, and after about ten minutes, they started shrieking and ran around the corner. Naturally, we followed.
We wound up running all the way around the block, almost going in a complete circle. Joel was walking with one of his openers, stopping every few feet to take pictures or sign autographs with the pack of people following him.
We started walking with him, and soon it was just us (I will never forget Joel telling us we’d have to walk with him down the street and Kim announcing, “Oh, we’ll walk with you! We’ll keep up with you, Joel!”). Kim handed him the gift bag with the trophy and told him it was a gift from his Twitter family. And then he said the magic words that would come to grace our Twitter bios and define Community fans as a whole.
“That’s so creepy…and wonderful.”
Once we explained the gift in full, and he saw all the gift tags attached to the arms of the trophy, he started thanking us and basically didn’t stop. He kept saying how much he appreciated it and that he couldn’t wait to read the tags, and then he asked if we wanted a picture.
So one by one, we all got our pictures taken with Joel McHale. His arm was around me and it was quite possibly the most surreal moment of my life. I use this picture on the blog, and you’ve probably seen it if you’ve ever seen my Facebook or Twitter, but here it is in its beautiful, full-sized glory:
I know. I know (and you can see the gift bag in his hand!).
So that’s the stoy of the time I met Joel McHale. It’s quite possibly one of the greatest days of my life. Oh – and two weeks later, when I met up with Kim again, we were at the same pub as Jon Hamm. So. Clearly good things happen when we’re together.
(Speaking of the awesomeness of Kim, a few weeks ago, she was asked to appear in a roundtable discussion about fandoms for Vulture. You can read it here!)