We’d like to think we really launched Joel McHale’s career. After all, it was just four years ago when Instinct named him one of our comedians of the year, and since then he’s gone on to bring the hilarity back to The Soup and strip down for NBC’s Community, all the while keeping us laughing our asses off. We managed to get this very busy funnyman to sit still for a minute and tell us what’s really on his mind at the moment...and it’s probably not what you’d expect.
Two different things are on my mind. I’ll start with one that relates to the other: high-speed trains. I saw 60 Minutes and they’ve been doing these little reports on China, where they’re basically putting in a whole new train system. It’s amazing! Let’s take the distance between New York and Atlanta: on Amtrak that takes 18 hours. In China it takes four. I know it doesn’t sound like the typical thing you’d think I’d talk about, but I believe one of the reasons our country became the greatest country in the world is because we put in a train system that, at the time, was unmatched.
That said—and this is my Soapbox—I think we need to revamp our train system. There’s going to be so many people here and so many more new cars here, in a few years we’re going to just be one huge parking lot. So we need to move people around.
My other point—and again, this is a very strange Soapbox—I saw a special on this like 20 years ago and it never left me: superconductivity. What’s that, Joel? That’s the free flow of electricity with zero resistance. Why that? Whenever we power up something electrical, the device the electricity is flowing through heats, and then you need to invent more things to keep it cool. So these guys a few hundred years ago found that if you cooled wires down to below freezing, electricity flowed freely. They’ve been slowly finding ways to have superconductivity at room temperature. Do that, and you’ll have flying cars! You could have magnetic fields where things suspend in the air. If you want a fast car, it would be the most powerful electrical engine ever created.
And that’s what they’re actually doing in China with these trains! I kinda feel like we’re slowly using up everything on our planet. But at least this would slow things down.
Not the Snooki jokes you were looking for, huh? I should preface all that with saying that much like all the electronics in my house, I love looking at them but understand about 10 percent of their use. Obviously I can’t talk about these subjects on The Soup or Community very often. And it gets pretty boring pretty quick if, in my stand-up, I’m like, “Listen, folks, if we don’t get this smart grid up of electrical power transmission, we’re going to be way behind the Chinese.” Don’t worry. I’m not one of those guys that lies awake at night worrying about China, though.
My stand-up is basically a lot of pop-culture stuff. I talk a lot about E!, and then I move into my family and personal experiences. So it is basically half personal and half pop culture. I mean, shows like Drag Race write the jokes themselves! Sometimes those shows, especially RuPaul’s Drag Race, which I love, become absurd to the point where I’m not even sure there’s a joke to tell—they’re so funny as is. Thank God for those shows. And I love her other show where they brought real women on to make them over as drag queens. What, you’re so ugly as women we’re going to make you look like men looking like women?! And I love RuPaul’s introspective moments like, “You have a real junky trunk.” That’s deep. I just love it.
I also can’t seem to keep my clothes on over on Community. That all started last year with the billiards episode. I had never unclothed for anything before that, so once I heard, I began starving myself and doing push-ups. And then one episode became two became three. I don’t know how it happened! There was one episode where we were all naked. Basically there are a lot of shave-downs happening on that set.
Catch Joel Thursday nights on NBC’s Community and Fridays on The Soup on E! And read more from our exclusive chat with Mr. McHale over at instinctmagazine.com