Comedy: Soup's On

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It’s really hard to maintain any sort of critical distance when talking to Joel McHale, stand-up comedian, actor and host of the E! Channel’s The Soup. When a fire alarm went off in the E! offices while we were speaking on the phone, he just shut the door and kept on chatting, even though he was just asking me what sports team I root for and where I went to college. When I read him a passive-aggressive email his manager sent me about Joel being too busy to do print interviews days after the E! publicity department set up the interview with almost surgical efficiency, Joel good naturedly offered to “bust some balls.”

It’s hard to keep Joel on track because, a lot of the time, he’d just turn it around and ask me questions. Sure, it’s my job to keep him on track, but, dammit, that kind of kind of charm is severely disarming. Still, it’s not like the dude can walk on water and heal the sick. For starters, he’s a Mariners fan, so it just goes to show that nobody is perfect. But you can see for yourself beginning July 11, when Joel takes the stage at Caroline’s.

NYPress: I just pulled you out of a really important meeting at the E! offices in L.A. to ask you stupid questions about Ryan Seacrest...
Joel McHale: All my really important career meetings involve stupid questions about Ryan Seacrest. We’re all really concerned about what he’s doing and where he’s going and what’s next for him.

So, how do you feel about your basic cable heartthrob status? God forbid Sarah, [his wife of 12 years] ever messes up, because some girls are ready to step in.
How pathetic. Tell those girls to come to Caroline’s and tell them all to pay to get in.

You were once a guest star on CSI Miami [in 2005 the role was “bank manager Greg Welch”]. Tell me, is there any person in the world who takes himself more seriously than David Caruso?
Oh, well, Flavor Flav, I think. I just think he really thinks he’s going to find love. Him or Bret Michaels. You know what? Let’s just say Tila Tequila. She is dead serious about finding love.

Out of Flavor Flav, Bret Michaels or Tila Tequila, which one would rather have raise your sons [Eddie, who is 3 and his newborn Isaac]:
Which one would I let raise my kids? I would just throw my kids off a bridge. Actually, I would rather have my kids raised by a feral cat, wouldn’t you?

Maybe they’d be much better off just being left in the woods to fend for themselves...
Oh, they’d be much better off. They’d have survival skills and a trade. They’d have skills that would actually be respected and from which they could make money.

If you stacked three apples, which would be taller, the stack of apples, or Seacrest?
Well, what kind of apples?

Macintosh apples are kind of squat, so maybe those?
Yeah, it would have to be those. If they were Golden Delicious then the apples would be taller. Actually, Seacrest is rarely in the office, he just floats around like a gas…like he’s Nosferatu.

Out of everyone lampooned on The Soup who is the most useless human being who contributes the absolute least to society.
I’m gonna have to go with myself, because I’m the one who has to filter all this crap.

Oh, come on, Joel...
Who did you think is the most useless person is?

Spencer Pratt. No question.
HOW DARE YOU! I’m gonna tell Spencer you said that.

What, are you in a bromance with Spencer? Is Brody Jenner jealous?
Don’t ever use the word bromance again. If there is ever a term that has past its expiration date, it’s that one… [It is here that I tell Joel that I once wrote a bromance listicle for Radaronline. He gracefully recovers and asks me to send him the article so he can check it out…]

Spencer for that show [The Hills] is obviously very useful, it’s the people on that show whose characters never popped, they have just gotta feel so pathetic. They’ve just gotta feel like “Wow, where did I go wrong?’

What’s astonishing is the cast of The Hills is even on the cover of Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone has jumped the shark.

Well, the argument could be made that Rolling Stone jumped the shark a long time ago...
I stopped reading Rolling Stone a long time ago and got a subscription to AARP Magazine, it’s a lot more edgy.

Was David Caruso on the cover this month?
Ohhhhhhhh, yeah. David Caruso is amazing. Do you watch CSI Miami regularly?

Absolutely, it's the funniest show on TV... But let’s move on to more important matters: Who does Lou the “Clip of the Week” Chihuahua belong to?
Lou belongs to our executive producer Edward Boyd, who benches 400 pounds. So whenever he walks in with the dog, it looks like he’s cupping a gerbil. Ed also brought Yo Gabba Gabba! into the mix. Ed is incredible. He can find anything. I’ve never seen anyone watch as much TV as he does as long as he does so consistently.

What drugs enable him to endure this?
It’s like a kolonopin, heroin, lithium cocktail. Literally in a cocktail.

So, you’re based in L.A., where do you stand on the whole New York versus L.A. rivalry?
A lot of people come out to L.A. from New York and constantly complain about L.A. and go on about how New York is so much better, and then when you ask them how long it’s been since they’ve been back, they’re like, “Oh, 25 years.”

New York is an amazing town, though. I’ve never been able to live there but I always have a great time when I’m there.

But in the summer, man does it smell. Like, around August 15th, it gets really ripe. But as long as no one comes pissing on the side of Caroline’s, I’m fine with it.

Yeah, don’t hold your breath on that one, Joel. Or better yet, hold your breath.

Joel McHale performs July11-13 at Caroline’s, 1626 Broadway (at W. 50th St.), 212-757-4100; 8 & 10:30, $31.

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