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Joel McHale - Biography


Comedian Joel McHale
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images


November 20, 1971

Joel McHale Overview:

Best known for his television work as host of TV clip show The Soup and on the NBC sitcom Community, comedian Joel McHale didn't get into stand-up comedy until after he was already established as a TV personality. Both on his shows and in his act, McHale is a professional smartass -- the latest in a long tradition of great sarcastic comedians (including Bill Murray and Chevy Chase, McHale's former Community co-star), whose worldview is that they are smarter and funnier than everyone else in the room. It's an act that McHale pulls off well

Quick Joel McHale Facts:

  • Joel McHale was born in Rome, Italy (his father worked at Loyala University Rome Center) but was raised in Seattle, Washington.
  • In the early 1990s, McHale was a cast member on Almost Live!, a sketch comedy show that aired in Seattle, and performed with the improv group Unexpected Productions from 1993 until 1997.
  • McHale was hired to host The Soup on E! in 2004, on which he introduces and comments on clips from TV shows from the previous week. The show is a reboot of the networks popular Talk Soup that aired during the 1990s.
  • He started performing stand-up around 2007 and now tours regularly, even headlining shows at the New York Comedy Festival and Just for Laughs Chicago.
  • In 2009, McHale was hired as the lead of the ensemble NBC comedy Community, alongside Chevy Chase and Donald Glover. Though it struggled in the ratings, the show became a critical darling and a massive cult hit.
  • In 2014, McHale was asked to host the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.

Additional Joel McHale Facts:

  • In addition to his work on The Soup and Community, Joel McHale has had small roles in a number of films, including What's Your Number?, Spider-Man 2, Ted and the 2009 Steven Soderbergh film The Informant!, where he acted opposite fellow comedians Tom Papa, Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tompkins.
  • McHale as cast as the lead on the American remake of the popular British sitcom The IT Crowd (opposite original cast member Richard Ayoade, transplanted to the U.S. version), but the show never made it to series.
  • He has appeared in a number of productions with the non-profit Circle X Theatre in Los Angeles.
  • McHale was a regular contributor on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and performed stand-up on the sixth season finale of the NBC summer reality competition series Last Comic Standing.
  • In 2011, McHale hosted the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which were broadcast on IFC.
  • He has had five concussions in his life.
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