Joel McHale

Joel McHale

Birth name Joel Edward McHale
Born (1971-11-20) November 20, 1971
Rome, Italy
Medium Film, television, stand-up
Years active 1996–present
Genres Political satire, observational comedy
Subject(s) Celebrities, pop culture, American culture
Influences Monty Python[1]
Spouse Sarah Williams (m. 1996)
Children 2

Joel Edward McHale (born November 20, 1971)[2] is an American comedian, actor, writer, television producer, and television host. He is known for hosting The Soup and portraying Jeff Winger on the NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community. He has appeared in such films as Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2011) and Ted (2012). He currently stars in the CBS sitcom The Great Indoors.

Early life

McHale was born in Rome, Italy, where his father, Jack McHale, worked as Dean of Students at Loyola University Rome Center. His mother, Laurie, is from Vancouver, Canada, and his father is from Chicago, Illinois.[3] Of Irish and Norwegian descent,[4] he was raised Catholic in New Jersey and Seattle, Washington.[5] He attended Mercer Island High School.[6]

McHale received a bachelor's degree in History from the University of Washington in 1995. While at the University of Washington, McHale very briefly belonged to the Theta Chi Fraternity.[7]

He was recruited to be on the rowing team, but later joined the football team. Despite most of his fellow players receiving scholarships to be on a major college team, McHale was a walk on, playing tight end for two years.[8] According to the football team site,[9] he did not letter in football.[10] He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Professional Actors Training Program at the University of Washington. As a Seattle native, he is a fan of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.[11]



McHale was part of the Almost Live! cast, a local sketch-comedy television show produced by Seattle's KING-TV (Channel 5). From 1993 to 1997, he was a member of the improv comedy group at Unexpected Productions, participating in Theatersports! at the Market Theater located in Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle.[12]


After earning his master's degree in acting, McHale moved to Los Angeles and landed small roles in Diagnosis: Murder, CSI: Miami, and Will & Grace. He played a TV reporter in the biopic Lords of Dogtown. He guest-starred as a cast member on the NBC improv comedy show Thank God You're Here during the pilot episode and had a guest role on an episode of Pushing Daisies. McHale also appeared in Spider-Man 2 in a small role as Mr. Jacks, a bank manager.[13]

In 2004 McHale began hosting The Soup, a satirical weekly television show on the "E!" television network. Throughout the show, he takes the audience through the oddities and ridiculous happenings of the week in television. He frequently appears as a co-host on Loveline. He has also had a long association with Circle X Theatre, where he has done several plays. McHale was a weekly guest on The Adam Carolla Show and Mickey and Amelia, and occasional guest on the Opie and Anthony Show.[14] He has been a judge on Iron Chef America. He was involved in the American version of the British TV show The IT Crowd. McHale made a guest appearance on the finale of Last Comic Standing's sixth season, when he recapped the show's events in his typical format of jokes made popular on The Soup. He occasionally appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann in a humor sequence closing the show.

McHale starred in the sitcom Community,[15] which premiered in winter 2009, and continued to host The Soup.[16] McHale made an appearance on the first episode of the fifth season of Tosh.0. He played Rex in Ted (2012) and had a short guest stint on the FX show Sons of Anarchy. He played an NYPD officer in the supernatural horror film Deliver Us from Evil.[17] McHale appeared in The X-Files' 2016 miniseries.[18]

McHale will play the lead role in the CBS sitcom The Great Indoors, which will begin airing in the Fall of 2016.[19][20]


McHale was the featured entertainer at the 2014 White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner.[21] He also hosted the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards and the 2015 ESPY Awards.

Personal life

McHale married Sarah Williams in 1996. They have two sons.[22][23][24] They live in Hollywood Hills, California.[25]

On episode 6 of The Nerdist Podcast Joel and Chris Hardwick talked about being neighbors, including a story about Joel's son Eddie dressing up as a light switch for Halloween.[26]



Year Title Role Notes
2004 Spider-Man 2 Mr. Jacks
2004 Wait N/A Short film
2005 Lords of Dogtown TV reporter
2005 Game Time Johnson Short film
2006 Mini's First Time Host
2008 Onion Movie, TheThe Onion Movie Office worker Uncredited
2008 Open Season 2 Elliot (voice)
2009 Informant!, TheThe Informant! FBI Agent Robert Herndon
2011 Spy Kids: All the Time in the World Wilbur Wilson
2011 What's Your Number? Roger
2011 Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope Himself Documentary
2011 Big Year, TheThe Big Year Barry Loomis
2012 Ted Rex
2014 Blended Mark
2014 Deliver Us from Evil Butler
2014 Adult Beginners Hudson
2014 Merry Friggin' Christmas, AA Merry Friggin' Christmas Boyd Mitchler
2017 Futile and Stupid Gesture, AA Futile and Stupid Gesture Chevy Chase Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Almost Live! Various Unknown episodes
1998 Bill Nye the Science Guy Defendant Episode: "Fluids"
2000 Huntress, TheThe Huntress Quicky the Clown Episode: "Springing Tiny"
2000 Fugitive, TheThe Fugitive Curtis Episode: "Far from Home"
2000 Diagnosis: Murder Richard Episode: "By Reason of Insanity"
2001 Will & Grace Ian Episode: "Cheaters"
2004–2015 Soup, TheThe Soup Himself (host) 313 episodes; also writer and executive producer
2005 CSI: Miami Greg Welch Episode: "Urban Hellraisers"
2007 Pushing Daisies Harold Hundin Episode: "Bitches"
2007–2009 Robot Chicken Various voices 2 episodes
2009–2015 Community Jeff Winger 110 episodes
2011 26th Independent Spirit Awards Himself (host) Television special
2011 Phineas and Ferb Norm head prototype (voice) Episode: "Candace Disconnected/Magic Carpet Ride"
2012 Sons of Anarchy Warren 2 episodes
2013 Conan Conan O'Brien Episode: "Occupy Conan: When Outsourcing Goes Too Far"
2013–2015 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja First Ninja (voice) 5 episodes
2013 2013 VGX Awards Himself (host) Television special
2014 Video Game High School The President of the United States Episode: "OMGWTFPS!?"
2014 White House Correspondents' Dinner Himself (host) Television special
2015 Regular Show DVD (voice) Episode: "Format Wars II"
2015 2015 ESPY Awards Himself (host) Television special
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself Episode: "Joel McHale Wears a Navy Zip-up and High Tops"
2015 BoJack Horseman Alex (voice) Episode: "Yesterdayland"
2016 X-Files, TheThe X-Files Tad O'Malley 2 episodes
2016 Dr. Ken Ross Episode: "Dave's Valentine"
2016 Difficult People Felix Episode: "Hashtag Cats"
2016 The Great Indoors Jack Gordon Lead role

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Lego Dimensions X-PO/Himself Voice

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2010 EWwy Award Best Actor in a Comedy Community Nominated
2011 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Community Nominated
2011 EWwy Award Best Actor in a Comedy Community Won
2011 Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Community Nominated
2012 TV Guide Award Favorite Ensemble Community Won
2012 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Community Nominated
2012 PAAFTJ Television Award Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Community Nominated
2012 PAAFTJ Television Award Best Cast in a Comedy Series Community Won
2012 EWwy Award Best Actor, Comedy Community Won
2012 Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Community Nominated
2014 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program Soup, TheThe Soup Nominated



  1. Pollak, Kevin; McHale, Joel (November 15, 2010). "Kevin Pollak Chat Show" (Interview). Interview with Kevin Pollak.
  2. Smith, Grady (November 25, 2011). "Monitor: Nov. 25, 2011". Entertainment Weekly (1182): 30. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  3. Mercer Island dons its autumn cloak,; accessed February 25, 2014
  4. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT, One-on-one with Joel McHale; The Great Anjelica Huston". CNN. March 15, 2012.
  5. Strawberry, Saroyan (June 2008). "Joel McHale". Details. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  6. Brodeur, Nicole (August 22, 2004). "From Mercer Island, jumping into "The Soup"". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  7. Curran, Dan (October 16, 2008). "An interview with the king of snark Joel McHale". Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  8. Steinberg, Dan (February 14, 2005). "THECHAT: Joel McHale". The Washington Post. p. D02. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  9. "Go Huskies".
  10. McHale, Joel (September 29, 2011). "The Walk-On: The Community star recalls his two-year football career at the University of Washington". Grantland. ESPN Ventures. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  11. International Improv Festival; accessed February 25, 2014
  12. Spider-Man 2
  13. Joel McHale on Opie and Anthony; accessed February 25, 2014
  14. Fernandez, Maria Elena (April 4, 2009). "NBC unveils new programs for fall". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  15. Weprin, Alex (May 4, 2009). "E! Expects Joel McHale To Stay On 'Soup'". Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  16. "Joel McHale talks 'Community,' 'Soup' and upcoming movie".
  17. "Why Joel McHale Is Even More Excited About The X-Files Revival Than You Are". E! Online. July 14, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  18. Wagmeister, Elizabeth (February 16, 2016). "Joel McHale to Star in CBS Comedy Pilot 'The Great Indoors.'" Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  19. Rife, Katie (May 18, 2016). "Manly Men and Eccentric Geniuses Dominate CBS’s Fall Schedule." Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  20. "Joel McHale will host the White House Correspondents' Dinner". Los Angeles Times. February 14, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  21. Report on McHale's marriage
  22. The Soup. January 15, 2010. E!.
  23. "'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for March 12". Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  24. "'Flipping Out's' Ryan Brown settles down in Los Feliz". latimes.
  25. "'Nerdist Podcast Episode 6: Joel McHale".
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