Joel McHale is joining the ranks of celebrities who write memoirs — but his will be a bit more useful than the typical ones: “Mine is part memoir, part self-help book,” he tells EW. “So I’m going to give you practical ways to become a celebrity and get stuff for free.”
McHale wrote Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be along with frequent collaborators Brad Stevens and Boyd Vico, with whom he’s previously worked on E!’s The Soup and the 2014 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. And the former Community star promises that the result will be nothing short of amazing: “Every single word is interesting, insightful, hilarious, and your life will be meaningless without it,” he says.
Read on for what will make Thanks for the Money so interesting, insightful, hilarious, and life-changing — and what kind of gossip McHale includes in his debut memoir (hint: one story involves fighting Chevy Chase). The book arrives this November.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you decide to write a book?
JOEL McHALE: I decided I wanted some more money back in November, and that’s when I was riding high on The Soup — oh, wait, that’s no longer in existence. No, I had thought it over — I’m a massive procrastinator, and have ADHD, and probably post-traumatic … who knows, there’s a lot of letters with periods in between them that stand for things that I probably have — and my friends [Stevens and Vico] and I were like, “We should really write a book, guys. We could make some money off that. And America is begging for it.” And then, here we are. Now the book is almost done.
How is writing it going? Do you like to write?
No. I’m terrible at it. I’m super dyslexic. So I, again, procrastinate. I think about all the TV shows that I’m not binge-watching. Then I think about all the craft beers that I’m missing out on. And then my friends go, “Hey, s—head, you should probably start writing that thing.” Then I sit down with them and I go, “Okay, let’s write about this, this, this, this, and this,” and we dive into it.
How’d you come up with the title?
There are a bunch of titles like that, but I think I said that aloud on one of my commercial campaigns where I literally just went, “Hey, thanks for the money!” right into the camera. And we thought that would make a pretty good title: Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be.
That’s quite a mouthful.
In the tradition of bands and movies with very long names, I want to break the record.
Maybe you will.
You never know. If I add some more lines to it, then I definitely will. They’ll just make the first two pages the title.
But you have to compete with people like Fiona Apple. She has really long album titles.
I’m going to kick her ass in the title world.
How will this compare to other celebrity memoirs?
Mine is part memoir, part self-help book. So I’m going to give you practical ways to become a celebrity and get stuff for free.
Can you hint at one of those ways?
One of them is my diet program, where you can have an egg and one almond a day. There’s how to start a celebrity feud. There’s how to dress correctly.
Have you ever been in a celebrity feud?
Kind of? And I write about it in the book.
One of the chapters is called, “Eat a d—, Angela Lansbury.”
That’s starting the feud. It’s how you start one.
Can’t wait to see what Angela says.
Yeah. It also brings you into the world of when you become a celebrity, for some reason, people give you stuff. And it’s great, let me tell you. A lot of the visuals will be like family photos, but I will put a brand-new Land Rover in the background of the photo.
What are the best and worst things you’ve gotten for free?
I’ve been able to borrow cars, which has been great. Then watches. That’s been great, ridiculous. And the worst … I’m not sure what the worst things would be. I usually just pass on them.
Or the weirdest thing.
People have been like, “We’d like to come to your house and plant something.” I’m like, “No.” I once got a pass to a sensory deprivation chamber where you just float in complete darkness in a pod. They’re like, “Come do that! You’re gonna love that!” And I was like, “I don’t know; it seems like it could be a type of torture.”
You’ve already said you’re going to start a feud in this book. Is there any juicy gossip?
I will talk about my years at Community. I will talk about pissing off a number of celebrities on The Soup. I will probably piss off some family members. And probably a number of house pets.
You name it. Hamsters, yeah.
Are you ready to offend all those people?
As long as it can help me get more free stuff, then I’m into it.
I assume you’ll go on a book tour. Will you have special guests?
You know, it’s Kevin Hart’s entourage. I just rent them. They’re pretty awesome.
What else will the book include?
I talk about a number of head injuries I’ve had, the number of times I’ve almost killed myself by accident, the time I almost accidentally killed Chevy. Definitely injured him.
How’d you almost kill Chevy Chase?
It has something to do with physically fighting him.
What are you most excited for people to read?
Every single word is interesting, insightful, hilarious, and your life will be meaningless without it. And also, the section that’s in French-Canadian.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Please buy this book because it will help pay for my children’s education.
And my terrible red wine habit.