Joel McHale poses with Island Books store owner Laurie Raisys and her daughter Sofija at a signing for his new book, “Thanks for the Money,” on Oct. 29. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Joel McHale entertains Island Books crowd

Comedian, television star and Mercer Island native Joel McHale returned to his Island hometown Saturday to promote his recently published memoir/self help book, titled “Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be.”

McHale entertained a large crowd at Island Books, which included many of his family members and former classmates, teachers and even next door neighbors, with anecdotes about the contradictions of Hollywood.

“As soon as you can afford the things you want to buy, they start giving them to you,” he said.

The Mercer Island High School and University of Washington graduate used to work at the Island Books espresso stand. On Saturday, he was signing his own book in the back of the store, as a line of fans stretched to the door.

He’s come a long way since starring in productions of Youth Theatre Northwest.

His first acting job was on the local sketch comedy show “Almost Live!” before he earned his master’s degree in acting and moved to Los Angeles. He now stars on the CBS sitcom “The Great Indoors.”

He still follows Island news, particularly Youth Theatre’s search for a new home on the Island, and said that friends have sent him links to the Mercer Island Distorter.

McHale is known for his sarcastic and satirical humor. According to his website, his new book “reveals his insider secrets and teaches YOU how to become a celebrity — so that, upon completion of the book, you too can achieve, maintain, and exploit your own wealth and fame.”

“I always thought celebrity memoirs were pretty awful … so I thought I’d make fun of those books,” McHale said.

McHale took many questions from the audience, including an inquiry about whether he and other Seattle comedians had parties for Seahawks games and a request for advice on car shopping.

McHale talked about the Christmas presents he received from his thrifty grandmother (bottles of Coke or macaroni and cheese wrapped in gift paper) and his favorite teachers at St. Monica’s.

One of his most high profile appearances was as the host of the 2014 White House Correspondents’ dinner, which spawned a joke feud with Robert DeNiro.

As he describes it in the book, celebrity life is wonderful. But acting isn’t the most stable gig.

McHale starred in the cult hit show “Community,” which was cancelled by NBC after five seasons, and hosted “The Soup” — where he made fun of pop culture, celebrities and reality stars, including E!’s own Kardashian family — was cancelled in 2015.

McHale said he wouldn’t rule out doing something more “artsy” than TV comedies, and quipped that he would be interested in “Hamilton 2.”

But he did sincerely credit the Seattle theater scene, along with his family, for his success in the performing arts.

“I had nice parents who didn’t force me to play violin and become a lawyer,” he said.

Comedian, television star and Mercer Island native Joel McHale poses with a fan after signing a copy of his new book, “Thanks for the Money,” on Oct. 29 at Island Books. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Joel McHale discusses his book, growing up on the Island and other topics with James Crossley at Island Books. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Joel McHale discusses his book, growing up on the Island and other topics with James Crossley at Island Books. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Joel McHale discusses his book, growing up on the Island and other topics with James Crossley at Island Books. Katie Metzger/staff photo

More in News

Eastside tech companies Smartsheet, OfferUp, Apptio face challenging 2019

Here are a handful of companies from the Eastside that will be interesting to watch in 2019.

Attendees gather after the Dec. 21, 2018, meeting at Seattle’s Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Washington indigenous communities push for action to address violence against women

A new law seeks to strength data collection on missing and murdered indigenous women.

Exit poll indicates Washington voters still support climate change action

State environmental organizations’ poll points to continuing support for carbon-reducing measures.

CenturyLink 911 outage investigations underway; AG seeks comment from locals

CenturyLink could be hit with both FCC and UTC fines.

Wikimedia Commons CFCF photo
Proposed law would raise age limit for tobacco sales in WA

Lawmakers cite health concerns over tobacco and vape products

File photo
Seattle area braces for three-week SR 99 closure

Expect more congestion, longer commutes

King County considers building 44,000 affordable housing units by 2024

A report on housing released in December was accepted by the King County Council on Monday.

New year, new art at Mercer Island galleries

The Mercer Gallery at the Community and Event Center will also feature new exhibits in 2019.

Tech set to continue driving housing market in 2019

A real estate snapshot for the local market.

Most Read