Erich Joiner, Tool of North America

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Erich Joiner continues to beat us with a funnybone, and we're enjoying it thoroughly. The man who brought us Panda Claus for Sprint PCS and the Yahoo smartass dolphin has maintained his winning comedic stride on a reconfiguration of beer, babes and brawls for Miller Lite; deadpan moments for Sears; and the "mLife" what-if return to Gilligan's Island.

Do you ever get tired of directing comedy spots? "I don't think I'll ever get sick of it. It really makes you feel good when you're able get people laughing. Humor has a way of fixing things that aren't always right in the world."

What are some of the highlights of directing for Miller Lite? "I was in the ring with ex-heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, trying to teach him how to throw a punch that would knock the skinny-ass, trash-talking Dax's head right off his body. The next day, I'm directing a water-soaked, lingerie-clad Pamela Anderson in a pillow fight. She was practically naked. When I have to pop on set to direct her, I know it's going to be somewhat difficult not to look down, especially if she looks away. But I go over and manage to look her in the eyes, and before I can even comment on her performance she suddenly asks, 'How do my breasts look?' All I could think was, You've got to love this business."

What's your philosophy of getting great performances? "I don't have one, although I've found most of the time you can't force it. And you damn well better be paying attention in callbacks, even when it's the 193rd person that day."

What's next? "I just finished a weird spot for Butler, Shine & Stern with a wooden marionette in a 1/3-scale set of a house in a 1/4-scale neighborhood with the puppeteer who did Being John Malkovich. I really enjoy doing new stuff like that. You experiment. You learn new things, like how to go about eating a cold ham and pineapple pizza in one hand while palming a delicate, miniature grand piano in the other hand and planning the next shot."

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