Soup for you

Joel McHale

Joel McHale is the host of E!’s The Soup, a weekly TV show that pokes fun at the variety of embarrassing behaviors perpetrated on television and in pop culture in general. McHale has also appeared in films, like Spider-Man 2, and on other TV shows, like Will & Grace. He’ll be performing his stand-up routine at the Silver Legacy’s Grand Exposition Hall on Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit

For readers who aren’t familiar with it, describe The Soup.

It’s a weekly wrap-up show of pop culture and reality shows. And we make fun of everything.

It’s basically the show that used to be called Talk Soup in earlier incarnations with different hosts.

Yeah, it was called Talk Soup, and Talk Soup was really about talk shows, and talk shows went the way of the dodo bird, and they were really just left with Springer and a few others, and then reality—there’s been a few reality shows made in the last few years.

Oh really? I hadn’t noticed.

So we make fun of that. We make fun of basically anything that’s in pop culture … that’s asking for it.

Do you actually watch that much TV?

I used to … boy.

But now you have interns that do it for you?

Thank god, or else I would’ve killed myself long ago. There’s not enough time in the day to watch everything, so we have, including myself, about 14 people … and we just divide up the shows.

Do you enjoy watching stuff that you don’t like?

Well, since I’m the host, I get to pick whatever the hell I want. I enjoy watching crappy television, but then, much like bubblegum or, I don’t know, potato chips, after a while you’re like, “I need a salad. … I need something nourishing.” Some of it, like Rock of Love, is fun to watch, but I don’t know how much I’ll be remembering it in 10 years.

When you switch to salad, where do you turn?

For good television shows? For good reality shows—there are a lot of them. I love Deadliest Catch. I love Dirty Jobs. I love Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmer. I think Intervention is actually a pretty good show. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, but it all gets lumped into one category. As far as dramas go, Mad Men is incredible.

What’s your stand-up act like?

It’s about half pop culture and half family stuff. So very Soup-oriented for the first half, and then all family and my stuff in the second half … my parents, my grandma, my kids, my wife. I don’t just cover pop culture.

Anything else you want to touch on?

Watch the new movie coming out. It’s called The Informant.

Oh, with Matt Damon? It’s a Steven Soderbergh movie, right?

Yeah, Soderbergh directed it.

What’s your role in that?

I play one of two FBI agents on Matt Damon’s case, and the other FBI agent is played by Scott Bakula. And it’s a true story, it’s this wacky true story. And it’s a cliche, but you could not write something like this. It’s crazy. It’s about this guy who whistleblows on his company, and he happens to be a thief and bipolar—completely bipolar.

So he’s whistleblowing on himself essentially.

It’s a bizarre story. … I’m just glad I’m in a good movie.

That’s got to be a good feeling.

Yeah, it’s better than Piranha 4.