Joel McHale's trademark snark with smarts has gotten scarcer recently, after the end of Community, the cult-favorite sitcom he starred in, and The Soup, the E! series where he spent more than a decade mocking other TV shows. But McHale quickly pursued new endeavors, appearing in the new The X-Files and starring in an upcoming CBS comedy pilot, The Great Indoors. He's also publishing a memoir, Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be, in November. Before coming to DPAC on April 8, McHale chatted with the INDY about his stand-up act, his book, and the future of Community, mostly sarcastically.
INDY: The X-Files, the book, the tour—are you sure you're working enough?
JOEL MCHALE: Well, what about the CBS pilot? And I'm getting a paper route, and training to become a dental hygienist.
That's good. There were some worries you were about to be underemployed.
As you just said, I live a life of desperation—that every job I take could be the last one. If I'm not doing lots of jobs, I'll just be at home, running around in circles, screaming, "This isn't happening! This isn't happening!"
What draws you back to stand-up?
Well, standing on stage and telling people jokes is very energizing and nerve-wracking and fun. And they pay me. I think it lengthens my life, and allows me to ridicule people from different parts of our country.
Diversity is important. Do you have a particular theme for this show?
I would say it's mid-century-modern ... I don't know. It's a new act. I don't think the people of Durham have even seen the old act. It talks about current events, and me and my family. And there's pyrotechnics, a lot of explosions and aerial work; it's a lot like Cirque du Soleil.
Is there anything you can reveal about your book?
It's a memoir-slash-self-help book—how to become a celebrity, and when you become a celebrity, how to get free stuff, and how to operate as a celebrity. There's a chapter called "Angela Lansbury–Eat a Dick!", which is about how to start a celebrity feud.
Ever considered writing film or TV scripts?
I have not written my Game of Thrones episode yet, where you see the White Walkers at home, just kind of hanging out and getting their White Walker kids ready for school.
Community had a strong finale with that hashtag, #AndAMovie. How might such a movie happen?
Well, I'd like to reach out to readers today and ask for $50 million for the movie. That would be very helpful; it would get us a third of the way to our goal, which is a $150 million production. It's going to look much bigger than Pirates of the Caribbean. As far as it actually happening—everyone in the cast is more than happy to do a movie. We very much enjoyed our last season on Yahoo [after leaving NBC] because they let us do whatever we wanted, and I think those episodes are some of the best we ever did.
Has your reality TV expertise from The Soup given you insight on how to defeat Trump?
Defeat him? Why would you want to do that?
Point. He might be helpful for material.
Uh, yeah! Very helpful. I'm voting for Dukakis this year, so I'm feeling he's going to re-enter the race very soon. You have all your Super Tuesdays and your caucuses, and we're just sitting back in California, waiting for you to get done. Then we'll tell you who we want. That's the kind of arrogance you rarely hear about on the West Coast, but it's prevalent. You got your wine out here; in Seattle we got Starbucks; we make your airplanes at Boeing. This is the kind of arrogance you'll hear on stage.
What are some other projects you have coming up?
Trying to raise my kids not to be animals. We're in Southern California, so there's only a one-percent chance they won't.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Community Leader."