Oh boy, today was an exciting day! Kinda Funny, as part of their Kinda Funny Day Year 3 kickoff stream announced their newest employee, and subject of today’s Trevor Trove Tribute: Joanna “Joey Noelle” Takegami!
My first concrete experience with Joey was at the first Kinda Funny Live event. I knew her name from the Kinda Funny Facebook group and we probably followed each other on Twitter by that point. As I spent most of that weekend glued to Alex O’Neill and Sean Pitts, I didn’t really see her too much but I definitely remembered a brief, yet excited, hello at the event itself.
Over the course of the next year or so, she just sort of became a known quantity in my circle of Kinda Funny friends. I don’t have a great concrete moment that I can point to and say “yup, that’s where we became amazing friends!” We hung out at the 2015 PlayStation Experience.
I imagine our friendship went up to another, more frequent level when I was invited to be a Kinda Funny Facebook group admin shortly after PAX East last year. At that point, I was added to the group chat we have set up to discuss the group business (and everything else) so we started talking regularly from that point on.
Kinda Funny Live 2 happened (which, if my old recap wasn’t enough for you, is now finally live for Kinda Funny Patreon supporters). She was on the committee of group members who spearheaded community events (I just showed up to them, tried to retweet them as much as I could, and wrote about them after the fact). But that week was definitely the most we’d hung out to that point. And she and I talked about how I’d love to be more hands-on in the planning for KFL3 if I could.
If I had to point to one moment that was the tipping point, it was probably running into her at the airport home. Frank and I were waiting to fly back to AZ (though on separate flights) and Joey showed up to fly back to L.A. We reflected on the week and also talked a bit about the upcoming Let’s Play Live event and decided pretty much then and there that the two of us would spearhead a community meet-up before the show since she was local and I was flying in for the weekend. That eventually turned into our Buffalo Wild Wings day and we had a ton of fun hanging out with other Best Friends.
From then on, she was definitely a regular spot in my texts, Facebook messages, or Twitter DMs and I’m incredibly honored to call her one of my closest friends now. I text her for advice. She’s one of the first people to know when something exciting happens in my life.
Back over the summer when I first heard whispers of Kinda Funny looking for a Community Manager, Joey seemed like an obvious candidate for the role. But we didn’t discuss it or anything. I wasn’t even supposed to know but somebody thought I had been approached for the position so I knew there was a search but I didn’t know the candidates.
Fast forward a few months to October, shortly after I was back home following the IGN 20th Anniversary Adventure weekend and we were visiting. She had previously talked to me about a couple job opportunities but we never got into specifics. She had a vague tweet about an interview or needing luck or something so I DMed her to see if it was related to either of them. She immediately got cagey saying she couldn’t talk about it yet and I asked something to the effect of “wait, were those a cover for another really exciting opportunity that I’m not supposed to know about?” and referenced former Tribute Barrett lying to me about an interview and then getting his IGN gig. I was able to pretty quickly zero in on the idea that it was the Kinda Funny job but we turned it into a joke.
ME: For what it’s worth, you immediately rose to the top of the short list for this alleged position that definitely doesn’t exist.
JOEY: In an alternative timeline where this position and situation existed, I would hypothetically say thank you very much and I’m incredibly humbled and excited. <tongue stuck out emoji.
ME: And this entirely exciting non-news seems to tie in with some possible timeliness plans that I definitely DIDN’T hear about when I was visiting San Francisco.
And so on…
She was kind enough to offer up her apartment when I organized my small Chipotle meetup during PlayStation Experience. She was the first person I got to see in Anaheim that weekend when we grabbed dinner Wednesday night after I arrived. That night at the Cheesecake Factory we discussed how she had just been to a planning meeting in San Francisco to discuss what would be covered today. We didn’t get into specifics about the other announcements or anything but it was the first time we were talking openly about the job without the tongue-in-cheek veil of secrecy. We excitedly discussed the future of Kinda Funny and some of her ideas (and they’re good ones).
The admins across the community (Facebook, forums, twitch, etc.) were formally notified shortly before Kinda Funny went on hiatus for the holiday that Joey would be stepping into this exciting new role as the liason between the Kinda Funny team and the community.
When the Kinda Funny team had their Holiday party, I texted her to see if anybody else had questioned who the plate next to Gia might have belonged to...(knowing full well she was the one who must have taken this picture).
She excitedly sent back this one, as the rare picture showing she was indeed hidden behind the scenes that night.
All week, I’ve been excitedly sending her messages of support, including staying up late and visiting last night while she was too excited for what today would bring to actually sleep.
Even knowing what was coming, I legitimately sat there, having grabbed an early Wendy’s lunch so I would be back in the office for most of the stream today, with tears of joy and happiness to see this dream coming true for my friend when Greg announced her position and invited her onto the stream.
The Kinda Funny Best Friends are in the best hands imaginable and I’m gonna do everything I can to support her in this new role. Love you, Joey!
Oh yeah, and now that this whole thing is official, she can come on next week's Trove Talk and chat about it with me!!!