Joel Stein's favorite people

SteinAs a sidebar to Time magazine's 100 people who shape our world, LAT op-ed columnist Joel Stein was given a spot on the Time website to post the Joel 100: "The People Who Matter Most to Joel." He kisses up to spreads the love to anyone who ever helped him get a gig in Hollywood or sent him a freebie, his Latino gardeners and his wife's waxer. Bunch of L.A. media types make the list too. Excerpts:

1. Cassandra Barry, wife
The only person I'm "allowed" to have sex with.

4. Marco Pennette, creator of ABC's Crumbs
He fulfilled my childhood dream by giving me my first sitcom-writing job. He also made me stay through dinner a lot. But he let me drive the golf cart. So mostly a positive.

6. Andres Martinez, Los Angeles Times editorial page editor
When Michael Kinsley left the L.A. Times, everyone thought they were going to get rid of my column. Then this guy takes his place, invites me to breakfast and tells me he's keeping me. That's a first.

7. Richard Weitz, agent
Do I know how to write a sitcom? No. Does Weitz know that? Yes. Does he tell other people that? No. That's good agenting.

11. Jamie Tarses, TV executive
She got her production company to pay me lots of money to write a sitcom for CBS. Then she decided my sitcom sucked and we shouldn't show it to CBS until next year, so we can fix it. But then I found out this is called "rolling a deal" and scores me an extra $25,000. How awesome is Hollywood?

23. Marsh McCall, sitcom writer
When Jamie Tarses had given up on me, McCall met with me and restructured my whole plot. Plus, that complicated secret chicken recipe: equal parts salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar. He's a double genius.

25. Lauren Zalaznick, Bravo president
One of the two smartest people I know.

Oprah, Kinsley, Sipchen, Dowd, Lisanti and others after the jump.

26. Susan Morrison, editor at the New Yorker
Not only did she give me an old SPY shirt that made me look cool with the sitcom writer, she got my Shouts and Murmurs into the New Yorker, which—at least for a week—made people think I was smart. It's the font that makes you seem smart. That's the secret.

28. Leslie Unger, Oscar publicist
She came up with three column ideas for me—that were good. She's batting 100%. Both sides of my family, meanwhile, are 0 for 800.

29. Deb Bernardini, Wilco publicist
Last-minute tickets to the Jeff Tweedy solo show? She's a giver.

31. Oprah Winfrey, television host
She invited me on to talk about James Frey. Turns out lots of chicks watch Oprah and saw me. Thanks, Oprah.

33. Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash, Juicy Couture designers
They sent me a pair of jeans I shouldn't have kept after doing a story on them. And I definitely shouldn't have worn them four days a week, every week. I used to wear Wranglers and feel manly. But they're so soft.

35. Mark Lisanti, editor
I've stolen lots of column ideas from him.

47. Nilou Motamed, Travel + Leisure editor
I wanted to drive across country, and she was willing to pay for it. Then I paid for it, since my wife was all nervous about moving and didn't want to be in the car. When I tried to get out of it, Nilou said it was too late. Thanks for almost destroying my marriage, Nilou.

48. Sean McNulty, Cinemax producer
I used to do these interviews with celebrities where they'd tape me standing in a phone booth. Now they tape me from the comfort of my house. Good work, Sean!

52. Shawn Levy, director
He exec produced and directed my sitcom and generally ran around and talked really fast. I told him his production company should be called Sean Levy Makes People Tired.

53. Marilu Henner, actress
My childhood crush played my mom in my ABC pilot. Carl Jung couldn't undo the damage that caused.

54. Gary Socol, E! producer
He put me on every 101 Hottest Hot Hotties show E! makes, thus getting me one small step closer to having a college kid yell out my name at the mall and one giant step farther from a Pulitzer.

58. Michael Kinsley, ex-L.A. Times editor/columnist
Sure, he's crazy smart, but when he talks about girls, it's like you're hanging with Snoop.

59. Bob Sipchen, L.A. Times editor
He left messages on my machine that started "Stein. Sipchen." Newspapers are so much manlier than magazines. Magazines are for girls.

61. Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist
After a six-year-long feud with me she may or may not have forgotten about, she forgave me with a note, a bottle of wine and a very strange T shirt. These, I'm guessing, are the same gifts the Germans presented at the Treaty of Versailles.

65. Brian Farnham, former Details editor
Can I go to Hawaii in three days to interview Matthew Fox for a cover? Can you look the other way while I expense three days of the most expensive meals in America? I thank you and Chef Mavro thanks you.

66. Stephen Randall, Playboy executive editor
Here's the thing about getting sent somewhere—say a cruise to Mexico where you're playing for $7.5 million in prizes on the World Poker Tour—as a writer for Playboy: Ladies think you're sleazy. And, it turns out, ladies like being around sleazy.

71. Lisa Miller Katz, casting director
Despite her objections to the idea, she got Peter Bogdanovich to come in and meet about playing my dad in an ABC sitcom. Bogdanovich asked me if I liked impressions. Then he proceeded to do famous people talking to Peter Bogdanovich about how great Peter Bogdanovich is. It was awesome.

72. Quan Phung, Fox senior vice president
I went to college with him, so he got me a high-paying blind script deal. That $30,000 a year paid for itself.

80. Maura Tierney, actress
I eliminated the Bravo Celebrity Poker Showdown champion at a Texas Hold 'Em tournament at a friend's house. And then I ran into her the next week while I was getting a tour of the set of E.R. and she was still nice to me. At this point in the list, I'm just name dropping.

Cropped photo: Time/Joel Stein

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