By G.L. Giles and photos by Kevin McIntyre
This was one of the most difficult introductions for me to write because Jenna Busch is practically any geek-girl’s role model! She’s not only a threat, double-threat, triple-threat, quadruple-threat and so on (in the best possible kind of way as a great reviewer, interviewer, gamer, journalist, author, actress, host, make-up artist, etc.), but she also does it all with a smile and finesse! Even though what she does is not easy, she makes it appear that way as a true professional who clearly likes to have lots of FUN along the way. So that, along with a delightful sprezzatura-like quality she naturally possesses, is what makes everything she undertakes, from interviewing with Stan Lee to gaming with Wil Wheaton, intrepidly irresistible! But enough of my geek-girl gushing; some of the places you can find her online are: http://girlmeetslightsaber.blogspot.com/, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenna-busch, Fresh Ink and “Cocktails with Stan” (where guests like Jane Espenson and Colin Ferguson have been known to sit down and chat with them).
Jenna, it’s great to be interviewing you for TAM! As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of yours.
I’ve heard you say, in so many words, that your last name is like the beer, not the president, which I still find amusing. Have there been times when you were mistaken for Jenna Bush?
Actually, yes, believe it or not! I had a director friend of mine tell me during an interview that he’d heard that Jenna Bush was going to be on the Today Show and he waited around for 45 minutes to see if it was me! It does get me restaurant reservations though.
Anyone not hiding under a rock has most likely heard of Stan Lee (of Marvel Comics, etc.). How did your show “Cocktails With Stan” come about?
I was really lucky. I was asked because of all the celebrity interviewing and hosting I do. I have to say, Stan is one of the most amazing people. He’s unfailingly kind and funny and generous. It’s really a dream come true. We just had Nathan Fillion on the show and standing between the two of them … well, there are not words to explain my geek out.
You also show your knowledge of Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Vertigo Comics, etc. on G4TV’s “Fresh Ink” where you guest host for Blair Butler (TAM readers can check an episode out HERE). What first attracted you to the wonderful world of comics/graphic novels, and what do you think of the new story lines where established worlds collide?
I actually got into “X-Men” as a kid, but I really got into them about six years ago. There are so many amazing pieces out there. I’m really sucked in by things like “Fables” and some of the horror out there like “The Walking Dead.” There isn’t enough time in the day to read all the ones I want to. I’m also a huge fan of Neil Gaiman. Huge!
Please tell us about “Womanthology: Heroic,” the anthology where comic book creators and enthusiasts got together. How did you come to be a part of it?
It was such an honor to be a part of that project with all these incredibly talented women. I was asked to write a piece and I was over the moon. So I wrote “Archetypes” about a woman who dreams in archetypes and solves crimes. Elisa Feliz did the amazing art work. Then I was lucky enough to meet Eisner Award-winning artist Janet Lee (“Return of the Dappermen”) at the San Diego Comic Con last year. We talked about working together and ended up writing a piece called “Ladybird.” I co-wrote it with the amazingly talented Rachel Pandich. I feel so lucky to be working with these amazing ladies.
Segueing back to your life in front of the camera, I loved reading that you had a part on “10 Items or Less.” I really miss that show! What part did you play, and have you heard any rumors that they may bring it back?
I haven’t heard anything. Actually, it’s a funny story. I started as an actress, which is why I do this now. A friend of mine from high school named Chris Radtke used to act with me and when he needed someone in Los Angeles to do some interviewing, he called me because he knew I’ve always been a nerd and that I did things on camera.
“10 Items or Less” happened because I was interviewing the cast on set, and I ended up being an extra, dressed as a Star Trek fan. That cast was amazing!
Speaking of shows not coming back, though I’m really enjoying the final season of it, I’m also sad that “Eureka” is not coming back. How did Colin Ferguson come to be on your show “Cocktails with Stan”?
I love Eureka so much! I was actually interviewing Colin for the show over the phone and we were chatting about the fact that we had both filmed episodes of Tabletop for Felicia Day. We got to chatting and I asked him to appear on my Eureka wrap up show on AfterBuzz TV. He was on our first episode and honestly, he’s such a great guy! He was so generous with his time and he’s hysterical! I asked him to do the Stan Lee show and he said yes.
That cast … they’re the nicest people out there. I’ve had Neil Grayston, creator Jaime Paglia and the wonderful Debrah Farentino on the show. Even Grant Imahara from Mythbusters called in to the show. I’m so sad that this is the end.
Which guests can we look forward to seeing on upcoming episodes of “Cocktails With Stan”?
We’ve got some fun guests coming up. Nathan Fillion, “The Amazing Spider-Man” director Marc Webb, Donald Faison from “Scrubs” and Maria Menounos. I can’t wait for you to see them!
Switching gears, lovers of all things “Star Wars” should appreciate the title of your blog: “Girl Meets Lightsaber: The Jenna Busch Adventures.” In it you reveal that even Han Solo’s rogue personality rubbed off on you. In fact you say, “Who needs to say what everyone else wants to hear? Take risks. Do what no one else will do.” I love that philosophy and believe in acting on it, too!! So, how have your brave risks paid off?
I’ve never been comfortable with staying still. Maybe it’s because I get bored easily. Maybe because I started as an actor and my job changed all the time. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini! But I think that if you don’t try every opportunity that comes your way and learn to say “yes” to every new experience, you miss out on so much! One of my favorite quotes of all time is “My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends, It gives a lovely light!” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I always want to feel that if I died tomorrow, I could look back at my life and say, “I lived.” Not everything has worked out, but I regret nothing. It’s all been worth it.
What future projects, currently in the pipeline, can you let TAM readers know about?
Well, “Cocktails with Stan” will be going for quite a while. I have two other shows in production that I can’t talk about yet, but I’m excited to share them with you all. I’m doing 5 panels (moderating 2, on 3) at San Diego Comic Con that I’ll be tweeting about as soon as I’m allowed. I write full time for Zap2it, and a few other sites here and there. As I said, I do a Eureka after show on AfterBuzz TV and I’m about to start one for True Blood and Doctor Who when it comes out. I just posed for “Cupcake Quarterly” which you can pre-order here. It was a geek girl pinup shoot and so much fun! I ended up getting pictures in both issues. I’m about to fly to South Carolina to shoot a geek girl calendar. I’m also in the middle of writing a full-length graphic novel.
Where can readers go to find out more about you and your wonderful work?
Thank you so much! You can find me on Zap2it.com, girlmeetslightsaber.blogspot.com, which is my blog, there are a bunch of articles on IGN, UGO, Newsarama, Blastr, AfterBuzzTV.com, HitFix, SheKnows and a few others. I love chatting with people, so follow me on Twitter@JennaBusch and head over to my Facebook Page. I read every single comment. I promise!