McHale visits TU ‘Community’
The Towerlight sat down with Joel McHale, star of E! Network’s “The Soup” and NBC’s “Community” following his act in Campus Activities Board’s annual Comedy Show.
The Towerlight: Where did you get your start?
Joel McHale: I was born in the Shire, in Narnia. I’m kidding, like the Shire is in Narnia. It’s in Middle Earth. I accompanied Frodo when I tossed a ring into the fountain and it was unmade. Then everything was great and I started acting after that. Does that answer your question? Well, where did I get my start as a human being? Where did my mom push me out? Of her uterus. As a comedian? I read some books. No, well I got my start in Los Angeles. I was born in Rome, that’s where I slip that in, but I was raised in Seattle. Then I moved to LA 13 years ago.
TT: Do you like live performances or filming better?
JM: I like both. It’s kind of like saying do you like pesto pasta or a good bolognese pasta? They’re totally different animals. But if you’re taping in front of a live audience then they are very similar. I really enjoy performing, I look forward to it. But when you’re shooting something like “Community” it’s a totally different beast. It takes hours and hours and to see the end result is deeply satisfying. If it’s good.
TT: What do you think of the show in Towson tonight?
JM: In Townsend? There was just a couple moments where I was trying to remember, what was that joke? Some of the early jokes, I didn’t forget them but I couldn’t remember how to order the words. I [expletive] that up. But then I went back to some of the material I had already previously worked on so that worked out. So they were an amazingly nice audience. It’s funny with college shows because it used to only be about “The Soup” but then it really switched and now I really notice that the colleges love “Community.” So thank god for college students. I was really happy. It was an interesting set up though. I was like 30 feet away from the people. I don’t know what they thought was going to happen.
TT: Is it hard to be taken seriously because you’re a comedian?
JM: I don’t think about that, but I did a couple of episodes of “Sons of Anarchy” last year and I was absolutely dead serious. Some people on Twitter were like ‘I don’t get it?’ but for the most part that doesn’t really happen. There’s a lot of serious moments on “Community” so I think people are warmed up to me enough about that. If you follow the model of someone like Tom Hanks who was a comedian and has done tons of comedy but is obviously one of the best dramatic actors on the planet. I don’t think, well, I always keep them guessing. I love stand up but my first love is acting. In college and graduate school I did it and I loved every minute of it.
TT: At the end of the day what do you want to be known for?
JM: As I’m falling asleep? I want to be known for giving the greatest interview in the history of Towson’s newspaper. No, at the end of the day I hope that I am known for being a good father and a good husband to my wife and kids. Because if I failed at that, all of this would be very dissatisfying. That’s where I draw, well I used to draw all my happiness from performing, and that has shifted to them. I still think of performing as so much fun, I can’t believe how blessed I am to be doing it, but my little kids, I would saw off my arms for them. It would be hard to saw off my second arm after I sawed off the first, I would need some sort of electrical saw, a table saw really.
– Compiled by Megan Flannery