With the news coming out of Hollywood on a daily basis – from sexual harassment allegations to less consequential Hollywood drama – some may long for the days that “The Soup” was still around on E! to put its satirical spin on the headlines.
Joel McHale, comedian, actor and the show’s dapper, notoriously snarky host, certainly wonders how he and his writers would have handled the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others if the long-running, celebrity/pop culture-skewering, clip show were still on the air. “Soup” dished out its final serving at the end of 2015.
“When ‘The Soup’ ended, it was not because of the ratings,” says McHale, 45, on the phone from his Los Angeles home. “It was because we had to unionize, which is good, because the writers got more money. But E! makes all their money by repeating shows endlessly and, when you repeat a show that’s union, you have to pay for every single rerun. And that was not gonna fly at E! ... And they also asked us to stop making fun of the Kardashians, which is nearly impossible.”
But McHale, who was the host for 12 years, says he wouldn’t mind doing another show where he could mercilessly mock the entertainment biz.
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“I think there’s a possibility of that,” he says. “It would have to be the right situation, probably on – I would say now – a streaming service. That seems to be where people are migrating to. I have hopes for that, so I think it’s possible.”
For now, McHale goes back into “Soup” mode on the road in his standup routines where he’ll occasionally make fun of celebs here and there. He will be at Goodnights in Raleigh Friday and Saturday.
“I’m all over the map,” he says. “I talk about news. I do talk about entertainment, but a lot of it’s not. … I love performing, and when I’m not working, I can go do this and it’s great. I love writing the jokes and I love being onstage and all that stuff. I mean, I don’t like it when it doesn’t go well, but I really like it when it goes well.”
When he’s not on the road, he’s keeping busy with plenty of other projects. Last year, he was the star of the CBS sitcom “The Great Indoors,” which lasted one season.
McHale, who also starred in the TV comedy “Community,” teases that a reunion of the critically-acclaimed cult sitcom could be possible. McHale played the sarcastic head of a community-college study group for six seasons – five on NBC and one on Yahoo! Screen. He said he would like to see the show come back in movie form. After all, “Community” prompted diehards to share the #sixseasonsandamovie hashtag on social media during its run.
While McHale says most of the cast would be eager to reunite, he wonders if they would even have time to return. Many have gone on to other projects and TV shows, with Yvette Nicole Brown on ABC’s new series “The Mayor” and Alison Brie on Netflix’s “GLOW,” for example.
And it’s former cast member Donald Glover who might be especially occupied. He left the show to create and star in the Emmy-winning “Atlanta,” continue his rap career as Childish Gambino and appear in films like the heavily-anticipated “Star Wars” Han Solo movie, where he plays a young Lando Calrissian.
“I don’t think that guy has 10 minutes alone to himself – he’s so busy,” McHale says. “So, I don’t know what we’d have to do. We’d probably have to drug him and kidnap him and take him to the set, or maybe they could incorporate the ‘Community’ cast in the next ‘Star Wars’ movie.”
McHale has films in the works, too, including “The Happytime Murders” with Melissa McCarthy and Elizabeth Banks and “Assassination Nation” with Bella Thorne and Bill Skarsgard.
He’ll also appear in the Netflix-distributed film “A Futile and Stupid Gesture,” which is about the history of National Lampoon magazine. Coincidentally, McHale will play former “Community” castmate Chevy Chase.
Surprisingly, McHale said, the infamously surly Chase was over-the-moon when McHale told him about the film.
“I called Chevy to tell him I was going to do it,” McHale said. “And he was very happy because he wants (late Lampoon co-founder) Doug Kenney, who the movie is about – he was a friend of his that never got the due that he should. He really was one of those kinds of savant geniuses and a visionary and changed comedy in America forever and died very young. And Chevy is very happy that he is gonna get his time.”
Who: Joel McHale
When: 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, and Saturday, Nov. 4
Where: Goodnights Comedy Club, 861 W. Morgan St., Raleigh
Details: 919-828-5233; goodnightscomedy.com