Ten minutes into our conversation, it dawned on me that T.J. Miller had been doing all the talking. I’d only managed to squeeze in a cordial introduction and my first question. Meanwhile, Miller had already covered everything from his youthful adoration for “Macho Man” Randy Savage and the “Snap Into a Slim Jim” commercials he made in the ’90s, to working with Marianne Muellerleile, the actress who played “Wrong Sarah” in James Cameron’s The Terminator. Turns out the Silicon Valley star is a veritable encyclopedia of discussion topics, and I was merely along for the ride.
What the actor and stand-up comedian brought to the table provided for a compelling discussion of branded content, of all things. After all, Miller’s chief goal was to promote his four new commercials for Slim Jim, which were produced by the company famous for its popular meat products and Funny Or Die. While such things often lead fans to label their celebrity promoters as “sellouts,” Miller’s argument that bits like this are just as funny as Saturday Night Live is quite convincing. It doesn’t hurt his case that in order to play Greg the Genie, the character he created for the Slim Jim spots, Miller was painted blue from head to toe.