Some people love Joel McHale for his sarcastic commentary on E!'s weekly tabloid show, The Soup. Some think he's a great comedian and dramatic actor for his roles on NBC's Community and this year's The Informant! And others, like my mom and gaggle of female friends, think Joel McHale is simply one of the hottest men alive.
"That's exactly my plan," McHale says of being a heartthrob.
The renaissance man also started a stand-up comedy career 2 years ago, performing in clubs around southern California weekly and brings his schtick to the Dodge Theatre this New Year's Eve, Thursday, December 31. Tickets for the show, which starts at 8 p.m., are available at www.livenation.com for $20-$65. Donald Glover, also from Community, opens.
As to why people should come, McHale says, "Do you have anything better to do? No, you don't, so come!" He talked about his busy schedule, his resolutions for 2010 and what you shouldn't say in front of Carlos Mencia fans.
How did you get into stand-up?
To be perfectly crass, doing The Soup is like doing stand-up in a weird way, because you're telling jokes for 22 minutes. My agent said, 'If you start going out and doing Soup jokes, you're going to make a lot of money.' I started hosting shows at improv and comedy clubs in southern California. I would do 10 minutes of stand-up in-between acts, and it was sort of a baptism by fire. Most of the people coming were Soup fans, so it wasn't the usual crowds.
Are there any challenges to doing stand-up compared to The Soup?
It's a whole different beast definitely. I think that's why the greatest comics in the world are people who have been doing it all their lives. I'm standing on-stage and telling jokes for 70-80 minutes, but it's totally unsimilar in that it can be 2,000 people watching.
Have you ever bombed?
I did not do well when I opened for Carlos Mencia in Anaheim (Calif.) to a crowd that had been there 5 hours waiting to see him. The first thing I said was, 'Does anyone here watch (Keeping Up with) the Kardashians?' and everyone was silent. You could just crawl into a hole and never do it again, but hopefully you're professional enough to continue.
Your show's on New Year's Eve. Do you have any resolutions for the new year?
Get some sleep and spend time with the kids and hopefully finish Assassin's Creed II and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
You've covered a lot of celebrities on The Soup. Have you had any bad reactions from people you've met that you've talked about?
Without exception, every single reality show star I've met, no matter how brutal I've been to them, have said they want to be on the show more. I know we've pissed off some people, and I don't really care.
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Are there any celebrities you'd like to never mention again?
The Soup is like Whack-a-Mole whne it comes to celebs. When you're bringing so much attention to yourself and doing something so egregious, then we're going to make fun of you. We never make fun of anybody who doesn't deserve it. We don't make fun of people who aren't doing something. I never get sick of anybody as long as they're finding new and more interesting ways to call attention to themselves.
In Community, you play a lawyer who has to go to community college. What were your least favorite and favorite classes when you were a student at The University of Washington?
My least favorite was the philosophy of logic. I was so bad at it. I don't think you understand how bad at math I was. I had to take a math class that was worth no college credit just to take other math classes. They must have thought, 'Are you missing a lobe? Because you are just dumb.' As far as my favorite, I was a history major, and I have all my notebooks still.
You've tried your hand at a lot of different types of performances. What are your plans for the future?
I came to L.A. to be an actor. I really just wanted to be on a high-quality TV show and high-quality movies. My main goal right now is for Community to stay on.
You're becoming more high-profile and upping your celeb status, like the people you profile on The Soup. How has that affected you?
It's great because I get free stuff, and people seem nicer to me, but I don't think about it that much. I'm in no way doing important work, but if people are entertained by it, that makes me very happy.