Joel McHale Talks 'Community,' Kanye
By Mike Hess Posted Sep 15th 2009 12:35PM
Joel McHale's career has been an interesting one for sure. He's been in showbiz for quite some time and is an actor at his core, yet most people know him for his snarky (and hysterical) delivery of celebrity news on 'The Soup.' That's all about to change, as McHale is getting some major facetime in the new NBC sitcom 'Community' (premieres Thurs. 9/17 @ 9:30pm EST). Sharing the screen with comedy legend Chevy Chase and other laugh-inducing actors, McHale tells PopEater that this role is "a dream come true" and that he worries NBC is eventually just going to drive over him with a bus (his words). Also, with his celeb prowess, we couldn't help but ask about the Kanye-Taylor fiasco, which he thinks will totally help Taylor's career. Read the interview after the jump:
Go Behind the Scenes of NBC's 'Community'
With 'Community' debuting this week, what kinds of feelings are going through your mind?
Boy, I mean it's pure excitement. It's a dream come true to be on a show like this. It's something I always dreamt of as an actor when I was on stage and going to auditions, and over the years, it's one of those things where you get a pilot, and then it's picked up to have a network behind it the way it is, I still can't believe it's true. I feel like at any moment, they're just going to go 'No, Joel, we're actually just going to hit you with a bus.' It's crazy. I probably won't sleep much on Tursday night because I'll want to know what the ratings are.
I feel like because we're on after 'The Office,' if people pass out and just leave their televisions on, we'll do all right. After three weeks we're switching to 8:00, so once again I'll be nervous to see if the ratings hold.
Ratings aside, are you the type who takes reviews into consideration?
I do check out reviews. I read them sometimes and for this it's been relatively positive, which is great. You have to take it with a grain of salt, because the reviews could be really good or really bad, but what it comes down to is are people going to put eyeballs on it and we have to deliver a good show every week. The writing is so good in my mind that I don't really worry about it.
Could you explain your character a bit?
His name is Jeff Winger, he's a DUI lawyer and he has lied and cheated through a lot of his life. It turns out he does not have a real bachelor's degree and the state bar finds out and throws him out. He has to go get a degree and of course he chooses a community college thinking they're easy to get from there. Then he chooses a college that has a professor who he successfully defended in a DUI case. So, he wants the professor to give him the answers and help him cheat, and of course he professor, being a drunk, f---s it up and for the first time in his life he has to do work.
With Chevy Chase being also on the show ... is it intimidating to be doing comedy scenes next to him?
He's a legend and an icon, so for those first few days I was like 'Wow, here he is.' But once you get to know him it wears off and you go and do your work. Everyone in the cast is so good it's like a group of superheroes of comedy and improv and delivering their lines. So I can really just phone my performance in.
How much improv is there?
It depends on the scene. The scripts are so freaking strong you don't need improv to punch them up, but people like Ken Jeong from 'The Hangover,' Donald Glover from '30 Rock' ... these guys are monsters of improv, so if it's needed and it's good then we definitely do it.
You've built the reputation as a smart-ass thanks to 'The Soup' ... do you like playing that part since you do it so well, or is it something you'd like to shed in future roles?
Doing 'The Soup' is something I never planned on ... I never planned on being a host. My persona on air is kind of a heightened version of how I feel on television. I'm performing and I'm on, and I guess it becomes snarky because my opinion of television is pretty harsh. To get a role like Jeff Winger where he's a jerk ... I kind of feel like it's a good transition for people to tune in and not go 'He's a host, I don't get it! My brain is going to explode.' There are similarities, he says stuff to get a reaction some time. In my mind, they're incredibly separate, but maybe in people's minds they won't be as much. I came to L.A. as an actor and the host thing was a lark, but it just so happened it's the thing that started to work.
Being a pop culture critic, what's your take on the whole Kanye West situation? How bad was what he did?
Well, here's the sad part. I didn't see it yet because I was traveling to promote 'Community' and 'The Informant'... so I actually have not seen it. I always try to keep the thing in the perspective of everything -- this sounds so bad -- but it's not that big of a deal. I always go back to this is pop culture, and people are starving around the world. Those are real problems. Kanye West was just incredibly rude. I know he's been apologizing, but it was just really tacky. The poor girl [Taylor Swift] is 19-years-old. Could you imagine if Kanye West comes at you like that at any age? It seemed pretty inappropriate and I don't have a great joke. And boy, Beyonce sure looks good and gracious.
My opinion is probably the same as everyone else's, but darnit I do love his music. It was just really rude. In the grand scheme of things happening, it really doesn't matter. Taylor Swift's career will continue and it probably is buoyed up and her fame is even larger now because of it.
Indeed. Anything else about 'Community' or otherwise?
Yea, I hope people watch it and go see 'The Informant.' It opens Friday, I'm in it with Matt Damon. Steven Soderbergh directed it, Matt Damon is the star of it and me and Scott Bakula play two FBI agents covering his case.
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