Guest Post: Interviewing Ty Burrell
Editor’s note: In November, we asked one of our favorite freelance writers—former Penn Stater magazine senior editor Vicki Glembocki ’93, ’02g—to fly out to Los Angeles to interview Ty Burrell ’97g, star of ABC-TV’s hot new sitcom Modern Family. The resulting story appears in our new January-February issue; see below for a link to the article.
Since Vicki is a blogger herself (her blog is called Blunt Force Mama, and it’s hilarious), we invited her to write a guest post for us about what it was like to meet Burrell. Here’s her tale.
If you think I didn’t buy a new outfit when I flew out to Los Angeles to interview Ty Burrell, you would be wrong. First of all, I work in my basement. (Translated: I only own sweatpants.) Second, I was flying to L.A. to interview a TV star.
Granted, I’ve interviewed famous Penn Staters before. When the handler for ex-CIA spy Valerie Plame ’85 called to see why I was two minutes late to our interview, I said, “I’ll be right there.” (I did not say, “I’m in the TJ Maxx across the street buying black boots for my 2-year-old’s Halloween costume.”) In other words, I may be tardy, but I don’t tend to be starstruck.
Yet, when Ty Burrell walked into the restaurant in East Hollywood, and took off his sunglasses, and waved to me, I felt like I might throw up.
If you think I didn’t pull it together, you would also be wrong. I had to. Earlier, I basically had had to beg his publicist to make time in his schedule for an in-person interview. I had one hour, tops, to get enough for the 3,000 words I’d been assigned to write. Plus, he was just a guy who went to Penn State. In fact, as he sat down, that was exactly what I was whispering in my head, over and over, like a mantra: “Vicki, he’s just a guy who went to Penn State. Vicki, he’s just a guy who happens to be on TV. Every Wednesday. On the most popular show of the fall. He’s just a guy who has kissed Nicole Kidman. Just a guy who is close, personal friends with Edward Norton, who you happen to have a little crush on. So why, Vicki, are you talking … so … loud?”
I turned on my digital recorder, and started asking questions. We ate salads. We talked about mutual friends from Penn State. (Because, as it turns out, Ty Burrell and I have mutual friends from Penn State.) When the waitress asked if we wanted coffee, I hesitated, giving him the chance to decline and take off to do the far more important things TV stars in Los Angeles must have to do.
“I’ll have some,” he said.
And I realized he is just a guy who went to Penn State, and we were just two Penn Staters chatting it up at a restaurant in L.A., except he was wearing jeans and I was wearing a very strange purple tie-dyed sweater dress.
You can download a PDF of Vicki’s story on Ty Burrell here.
Entry filed under: College of Arts and Architecture, Famous Penn Staters, Penn State alumni, The Penn Stater magazine. Tags: Blunt Force Mama, guest blogger, Modern Family, Ty Burrell, Vicki Glembocki.