Comedian T.J. Miller on Lost Baggage, Airport Hell and Checking His Shoes
T.J. Miller, better known as Erlich Bachman on the HBO hit series “Silicon Valley,” travels more than most actors; it’s woven into the stand-up comic life. Here, the quirky, cerebral humorist, who will star in Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming film “Ready Player One” (now filming), offers advice about toiletries, carry-ons and his need to always pack an abundance of socks.
What’s the most exotic locale you’ve hit so far?
Appelton, Wisconsin, hands down. I know where to go for the giant Chinese buffet.
What are some items you can’t leave home without?
A fire extinguisher, a smoke machine and a steamer. Toiletries are important. My wife and I need our toothbrushes so we can wash our mouths out with Smirnoff vodka. I also can’t have enough socks on the road. I’m always losing socks. I bring extra socks in my backpack.
Worst travel experience?
It was in Vancouver. They lost our luggage. We went to ask when we’ll get our luggage back and they said, ‘never.’ They told us that our bags are gone, as in forever. The airline looked at its records and our belongings disappeared for good. We were told sometimes that happens. I guess if you take 1,000 flights, one of those times you’re going to lose your luggage forever.
Are you a big points person?
Yes. I like having a lot of points. My wife and I like to take advantage of points for flights and other things. We’re part of every airline club. We like taking refuge there. We try to avoid flights with connections. I like to stay at hotels near the airport so I can get more sleep. I’ll use points to make life easier. Travel is the most difficult thing I do. The old stand-up maxim is that you do the comedy for free and they pay you for the travel.
I like San Francisco’s airport (SFO). You can get sushi there. LAX is like one of your friends that you hate but you know you’ll always be friends so you try and deal with their personality.
Which airport do you hate?
I hate Detroit. There’s one goddamn long line to everything. I landed in Detroit on a Wednesday night and didn’t fly out until the next day. It took me five and a half hours to walk to the gate. Atlanta is also pretty difficult.
Window or aisle seat?
I've got to have the aisle. I have size 17 and one quarter feet. That’s made it tough for travel. They’ve wanted me to stow my shoes in cargo. During a flight from Dallas, they made me check my shoes in the cargo area. I’m serious! That really happened.
Are you TSA approved?
It’s funny with TSA. I either get, ‘your show isn’t very funny, please step over there’ or verbal and physical abuse. If they like me, they make it easier on me.
Red-eye or daytime flight?
Red-eye. I like to sleep on planes.
Where's one place you can't wait to visit?
Dublin, Ireland, looks like a fun place to go. They love their comedy. I think I would love Dublin.
Your best travel tip?
Don’t bring any carry-ons. This totally changed my life. I stopped bringing my laptop. If anything, I’ll bring a backpack. I love not being encumbered by three bags.