Dad on 'Stranger Things' teaches acting at LSU

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After you finish binging the second season of Netflix's hit series Stranger Things, you might see one of the show's stars around town.

Joe Chrest, who plays the blissfully unaware father of Mike Wheeler on the 80s paranormal show, is an adjunct theater professor at LSU. He appears in 12 of the show's 17 episodes. "He really loves his family. He just has trouble showing that love. His priorities are a little off," Chrest says of his character on the show.


"It was the week after the first season had come out. He was walking down the hall. I did a double take and was like, "Is that Mike's dad?" And I chased him down the hall and took a picture with him," LSU student Bailey Karr told WAFB.

"I've made my living primarily as an actor for the past 25 years. I just started picking up this class, every other semester, only because I love it," Chrest said.

He brings his love of acting and teaching into the classroom. And his students seem to love it too. "It's just a different energy compared to other professors -- I feel anyway," said Drew Wallace, one of Chrest's students. As Stranger Things kicks off its second season, Chrest still finds the small screen fun in small doses. But he says the classroom is where he really belongs.

Chrest, who was originally born in West Virginia, is also a founding member of the Swine Place Regional Theatre in Baton Rouge. He has also appeared in several Louisiana-shot TV and film productions such as the first season of HBO's True Detective, Deep Water Horizon, 21 Jump Street, Secretariat, and the Blind Side.

The first season of the show was watched by 8.3 million people in the first 16 days of its release on Netflix.


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