Joel McHale is in Good Sprits

Joel McHale talks Independent Spirit Awards, 'Community' and 'Spy Kids 4'.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Joel McHale is in Good Sprits

I finally got an interview with Joel McHale to promote his hosting gig at the Independent Spirit Awards this weekend. The busy star of Community, The Soup and now movies like Spy Kids 4 is always on the run. This week he sat down with a group of press to promote the Spirit Awards and I got all my important questions in.


Crave Online: How far are you into writing your jokes?

Joel McHale: I’m not going to write any. I’m just going to see what happens. Oh yeah, there’s four friends of mine who I hired for the monologue and the other bits. We’re kind of circling. We started with a bunch of stuff and we’re slowly whittling it down to just one joke… just four words.

Crave Online: Have you seen all the nominees?

Joel McHale: All 90 screeners they sent me? Not yet. I’m getting there. Yeah, that’s a lot. When they handed me them, I was like wow, so if I watch two movies… I’ve gotten through all the major ones, no offense to the non-major ones. It’s fun because you get to watch movies. 

Crave Online: You must have seen some already, so you didn’t have to get through all 90.

Joel McHale: Yeah, I mean, I’d seen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I’d seen No Strings Attached and The Dilemma so I was ahead of the game as it was, and Yogi Bear. It was a pleasure. It’s pleasurable work and my wife was very happy about it too. It’s just finding time between Community and my children which are most important and The Soup, so it’s been busy but a great type of busy.

Crave Online: How have you fit movie roles in between two TV shows?

Joel McHale: It was a little crazy. Between September and the beginning of November was the busiest I think I’ve ever been in my life. My wife was not necessarily happy about it because I was shooting Community during the weekdays and then I’d fly to Austin, TX and do Spy Kids. At the same time I had a bunch of standup dates because I was getting ready for Carnegie Hall in November because I didn’t want to phone that show in. I had to cancel some standup but I moved a lot of standup. I figured out that I had not taken a day off or something since late July to the beginning of November. There wasn’t an actual day where I was in my house for a day. I don’t recommend that. Believe me I could not be more thrilled and feel blessed and surprised to get the work, but it was a little much.

Crave Online: What’s the role for a grown-up in Spy Kids 4?

Joel McHale: The dad. I am the dad and Jessica Alba’s playing my wife which is obviously a tragedy for her.

Crave Online: So you’re following the footsteps of Antonio Banderas.

Joel McHale: Yes, and as you knew at the beginning of it I only spoke Spanish, so I learned English phonetically. Yeah, when Robert Rodriguez wanted to use me I was like, “Oh my gosh,” just to get the opportunity to work with him was huge. I couldn’t believe it. It was a great experience and he’s great. Then I did The Big Year in the summer, the one with David Frankel. We already had a vacation scheduled and promotion for The Soup and Community in Europe and I flew back to Boston for one day from Paris to work on the movie and then I flew back. I didn’t know where I was. By the end of it, I thought I was maybe halfway to Mars, I was so upside down. It was great.

Crave Online: In the documentary episode, did you shoot more random scenes cut together to imply meaning than made it into the episode?

Joel McHale: Yes, there was tons of stuff. It made me sad because you only get 22 minutes to put it all in, but there was this whole scene where one of the parts was I was like, “This is where you think that I’m going to reveal something to you that will later inform the rest of the story. Well, I’m not going to do it.” Then Abed’s like, “Really?” I’m like, “No, you’re not gonna get anything out of me.” And I don’t but there’s all these other little random scenes we had shot that hopefully are going to make it into the DVD that had nothing to do with anything and would make a strange poignant scene even stranger. Hopefully that stuff will make it into the DVD.

Crave Online: When will we get a resolution to the big BNL debate?

Joel McHale: Oh, I think that will never stop. All of Canada is waiting to see. I couldn’t believe that was in. That was so funny in there. That was referring to the Barenaked Ladies debate. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. I received a lot of tweets about that. There was a lot of people like, “What the hell, man?” I’m like, “I am playing a character on TV for this. It’s not my actual feelings about Barenaked Ladies.” I really like the song Alcohol. They did the song Alcohol. It’s brilliant I think.