August 2018 - Make 'Em Laugh: Joel McHale
Joel McHale, the star of Community and The Soup, will leave you in stitches. Comedy has been a part of his life for 25 years, but it was not his initial path. After McHale thanked me for aging him, he shared, “I don’t think you’re led to comedy. It just comes your way.” But I learned one thing from my interview. Do not drink the night before and then interview this man. McHale will test you on whether or not you know your shit and for this round, it was McHale 1, Ewers 0. It’s hard when all you want to talk about is how fabulous he was as Jeff Winger or why The Soup sucked after he left, but we found plenty to talk about and I started with what I felt was the most important question. McHale has recently been tapped to read the part of Dalton, played by the late Patrick Swayze, from Roadhouse, in the upcoming L.A. based screenplay reading series, Scripts Gone Wild, on August 15th. When asked how that came about his response was classic. "That's like asking how did I get an Academy Award? I just felt this is a great opportunity and I was glad that they asked me. It's a little nerve-wracking, but you know what, I'm really going to prepare for this." When asked if he was going to go method, he responded, “You mean like go to a roadhouse and beat up people? Absolutely! Anyone who says that they wouldn’t are lying.”
That witty banter is what we can expect when McHale graces us with his presence on August 17th at The Stage inside Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel. The show, he promises, will be that of a rock show extravaganza. “There will be lots of leather and pyrotechnics, rock music, 13-foot speakers - it will make a KISS show look like an acoustic performance of Mumford and Sons.” It is just part of the latest projects and tours that McHale is taking part in this year. He has been excited to have his own show on Netflix, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale, getting such a well-received response. Keeping a format similar to The Soup, McHale reviews television shows, pop culture trends and other crap that the nation is obsessed with, while celebrities make appearances to hang and you know, do stuff - taking part in comedy skits. This is where my lack of sleep and the ability to use words kicked in. I asked McHale with all the celebrities he’s had on the show so far, which one of them has he enjoyed “interviewing” the most. See, see that word there. That was the wrong word. This was the moment where McHale corrected me politely. “Well, the answer would be none. I don’t know what show you’re watching, but I don’t interview anyone on this show.” This was the moment that Joel realized that I did not “Netflix and Chill” when it came to his show - in its entirety. At this time I try to fix it by saying which celebrity has been the coolest to hang out with on the show. “Bruce Willis,” he shares. Really, I responded. “Yeah,” McHale says. “Because he has never appeared on the show.” Yep, not gonna win here. From there he put me out of my misery when I asked what celebrity he would like to have on the show. “Angela Merkel. I think she would be a great get.”
This is where I think I can redeem myself, moving on to my next question. I shared with McHale that some comedians have experienced that in development of their projects sometimes their voices are not heard. I asked if he was experiencing that with the show. “Who are these comedians you spoke with? Give me names! Give me names!” My redemption did not come. For McHale, the experience with the streaming giant, Netflix, has been a positive one. “My time with Netflix has been great. They have let me voice my opinions, and unlike these crazy people that say they’re getting silenced on their show, I haven’t had any censorship issues. Well, except once. There was the talk of naming the show Joel McHale's Daily Dumps. They didn’t like that and I said ‘Why? Everyone does.’ So, we went with The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale and it’s worked out pretty well.” With the great response the show has received I had to know if we will be seeing a Season Two. “I don’t know,” shared McHale. “The one thing I can say about Netflix is they don’t mess around with decisions. They’ll let you know ‘Hey, you’re great, you stay’ or ‘Hey you suck, you’re gone.’ So we’re waiting.”
After interviewing George Takei and learning that IMDB isn’t always quick on the draw updating its pages with all current projects, I thought I would play it cool and just ask McHale what some of his upcoming projects are without glancing at the famous movie database. “Didn’t you look at my IMDB?” McHale quickly asked. I gave him my assessment of the situation and told him about my experience with Takei. “Well then, I’m doing six projects with George Takei.” He wasn’t buying it. “Well,” McHale continued. “Since you didn’t take a look at my IMDB page, I’m in the new movie The Happytime Murders with Melissa McCarthy and Elizabeth Banks. It an adult muppet movie that is not for kids! I also did a movie called Assassination Nation where I play the character, Nick. It is bloody, loud and violent - all the good things that I like."
My time is coming to an end so I end with the question 'What is the worse piece of advice you received as a comedian.' “Do a bunch of heroin before you go on stage,” McHale shared. “Don Rickles told me that.” I can truly say that this has been one of the most hilarious, yet embarrassing interviews I have ever conducted. I was glad that McHale asked if I would be attending the show on the 17th, which I replied yes. Nice that he would even want me there. But I will be one of many in the room enjoying his comedy and filing this experience under “No partying the night before and do your fucking homework.”
Joel McHale will be at The Stage at The Santa Ana Star Hotel and Casino on August 17th. Tickets are available at http://www.thestageatthestar.com/event/joelmchale/.