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Joel McHale Goes Beyond 'The Soup' at Dodge Theatre

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If you've never seen The Soup or have no grasp on what's going on with celebs and reality television stars in Hollywood, you probably were a little lost at the Joel McHale show at Dodge Theatre last night.

The E! host started off his New Year's Eve stand-up act with an onslaught of Soup references, from poking fun of Miley Cyrus and The Kardashians' to imitating one of my favorite reality "characters," Audrina Patridge of The Hills.

And, who could forget McHale's favorite target to make fun of, Ryan Seacrest. He must have dedicated a whole 5 minutes to talking about just how short and overambitious Seacrest, who also works at E!, is.

It was clear McHale was catering to Soup fans at the show, since he made almost no mention of what it was like to work on his weekly NBC comedy, Community, or on this year's feature film, The Informant!

But the audience didn't seem to mind, as they gobbled up the beginning of his show just like the laugh track on The Soup.

Thankfully, after doing bits oh-so-familiar from The Soup, the warmed-up audience got to hear vignettes from McHale's personal life. There was the story about what it was like to actually meet the Kardashians' on a photo shoot (it turned out better than you might think), the memory of Hugh Hefner getting really offended by one of McHale's bits (that probably didn't matter much, since McHale still has a job), and there was lots of recounting of the adventures of his two small children, who have no censors when it comes to spotting "little people".

It was these non-celebrity-related jokes that really made McHale appealing, since the audience got to know him on a more personal level than we're used to seeing on his shows.

And even though he's only been doing stand-up for 2 years, the man was a pro. He had great energy on-stage, impersonating people, running around and using his large frame to make his presence on-stage that much more meaningful through physical comedy. He didn't really miss a beat throughout the performance--everything seemed organic and fluid, as if we were hearing the jokes for the very first time.

His opener, Donald Glover, from Community, was much edgier than McHale in that he touced on sexual assault, race and, once again, little people.

I was expecting sort of a clean-ish show, because even though McHale's extremely sarcastic, he can only do so much on his programs.

But Glover set the tone that this was definitely intended for adults (and the audience was full of mostly 20- and 30-somethings, anyway, barely any teenagers.) While much of Glover's material could be considered offensive to some, he was cute and charming and got away with it--like a good comic should do.

And for fans of Community, the line-up was that much more exciting. From beginning to end, Glover and McHale showed talents beyond what television viewers are used to seeing, and hopefully their next TV project will be a stand-up comedy special.

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