The appropriate question here is less how did I become Fun Joel as it is how did I gain the nickname. It all started with my friend Funky Edina. I don’t recall which of us gave the other a nickname first, or if they were at about the same time. But at one point she started referring to me by the name “Fun Joel,” and more importantly, she began introducing me to people as such. In time it just stuck, to the point that people would point to me on the street and say, “Hey, I know that guy! That’s Fun Joel!”
Now of course, that is not the end of the story. For a long time I was hesitant to use the nickname myself. I mean, how much more pretentious can you be than introducing yourself with that kind of nickname? I assumed people would be able to tell on their own that I was a fun guy, and I didn’t need to stick it in their face like that.
But despite my not using the nickname personally, people started using it more and more to refer to me, so I eventually gave in. Though I still didn’t typically introduce myself as Fun Joel, I did start using it for my email address, online screen names, and the like.
People will still sometimes ask me, “What makes you fun, Joel?” And I just tell them to stick around me for a bit and they’ll see. But I’ll let you all in on the secret: if you love life, are relentlessly positive, bring a good time with you wherever you go, and do anything you can to spread that happiness around, people will start associating you with fun. And I trust that if I wasn’t actually fun, the name would never have stuck.
Join me on a tour of Israel, and get to see the fun side of this country too!
P.S. I received my nickname long before Friends ever had a character named Fun Bobby. Just figured I’d mention it, because people like to ask!