Joel McHale

Joel Edward McHale (born November 20, 1971)[1] is an American comedian, actor, writer, 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 the films Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2011) and Ted (2012). He also starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom The Great Indoors and in 2019, started hosting a reboot of Card Sharks.

Joel McHale
Joel Edward McHale

(1971-11-20) November 20, 1971
Rome, Italy
ResidenceHollywood Hills, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Washington, Seattle (BA, MFA)
  • Comedian
  • actor
  • writer
  • producer
  • television host
Years active1996–present
Notable work
Sarah Williams (m. 1996)
Comedy career

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.[2] Of Irish and Norwegian descent,[3] he was raised Catholic. He grew up on Mercer Island, Washington, and briefly in Haddonfield, New Jersey, near Philadelphia, before returning to his native Washington state.[4] He attended Mercer Island High School.[5]

McHale received a bachelor's degree in History from the University of Washington (1995) and briefly belonged to Theta Chi.[6]

He was recruited to be on the rowing team but later joined the football team. Though most of his teammates received athletic scholarships, McHale was a walk on playing tight end for two years.[7] He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Professional Actors Training Program at the University of Washington. He is a fan of the Seattle Seahawks.[8]



McHale was part of the Almost Live! cast, a local sketch-comedy television show produced by Seattle's KING-TV (broadcast 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.[9]


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.[10]

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.[11] He has been a judge on Iron Chef America. He was involved in the American version of the British TV show The IT Crowd.[12][13] 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,[14] which premiered in winter 2009, and continued to host The Soup.[15] 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.[16] McHale appeared in 3 episodes between the tenth and eleventh seasons of The X-Files in 2016 and 2018, respectively.[17]

McHale played the lead role in the CBS sitcom The Great Indoors, which began airing in the Fall of 2016.[18][19]

In 2018, McHale was cast in the recurring role of Chris on the second season of the Netflix horror-comedy series Santa Clarita Diet.[20]

In December 2018, it was announced that McHale was cast as Sylvester Pemberton, the Golden Age Starman in the upcoming DC Universe series Stargirl.[21]


McHale was the host at the 2014 White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner.[22] He hosted the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards and the 2015 ESPY Awards. In 2016, he appeared as an occasional co-host alongside Kelly Ripa in the ABC morning show Live! with Kelly. McHale hosted the 43rd People's Choice Awards on January 18, 2017 and the 2017 Webby Awards on May 15, 2017.[23]

In January 2018, it was announced that he would be receiving his own talk show on Netflix in February. The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale combines celebrity guests, pre-taped sketches and video clips in a half-hour series that focuses on pop culture and news from around the world.[24]

On April 8, 2019, TVLine reported that McHale would host a revival of the game show Card Sharks for ABC.[25]

Personal life

McHale married Sarah Williams in July 1996. They have two sons.[26][27] They live in Hollywood Hills, California.[28] McHale is also a fan of the LA Gladiators and Rupaul's Drag Race.[29]



Year Title Role Notes
2004 Spider-Man 2 Mr. Jacks
2004 Wait N/A Short film
2005 Lords of Dogtown Reporter
2005 Game Time Johnson Short film
2006 Mini's First Time Host
2008 The Onion Movie Office Worker Uncredited
2008 Open Season 2 Elliot (voice) (replacing Ashton Kutcher)
2009 The 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 The Big Year Barry Loomis
2012 Ted Rex
2014 Blended Mark
2014 Deliver Us from Evil Butler
2014 Adult Beginners Hudson
2014 A Merry Friggin' Christmas Boyd Mitchler
2018 Assassination Nation Nick
2018 A Futile and Stupid Gesture Chevy Chase
2018 Game Over, Man! Himself Cameo
2018 The Happytime Murders Agent Campbell
TBA Dark Harbor Greg
TBA Happily Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Almost Live! Various Unknown episodes
1998 Bill Nye the Science Guy Defendant Episode: "Fluids"
2000 The Huntress Quicky the Clown Episode: "Springing Tiny"
2000 The Fugitive Curtis Episode: "Far from Home"
2000 Diagnosis: Murder Richard Episode: "By Reason of Insanity"
2001, 2020 Will & Grace Ian
Episode: "Cheaters"
2 episodes[30]
2004–2015 The Soup Himself (host) 618 episodes; also writer and executive producer
2005 CSI: Miami Greg Welch Episode: "Urban Hellraisers"
2007 The IT Crowd Roy US pilot
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"
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"
2016–2018 The X-Files Tad O'Malley 4 episodes
2016 Dr. Ken Ross Episode: "Dave's Valentine"
2016 Difficult People Felix Episode: "Hashtag Cats"
2016 Lip Sync Battle Himself Episode: "Jim Rash vs. Joel McHale"
2016–2017 The Great Indoors Jack Gordon 22 episodes
2017 Dimension 404 Dr. Matthew Maker Episode: "Matchmaker"
2017 Mystery Science Theater 3000 Doug McClure Episode: "At the Earth's Core"
2017 Rick and Morty Death Stalker Hemorrhage (voice) Episode: "Rickmancing the Stone"
2017 Milo Murphy's Law Victor Verliezer (voice) Episode: "A Clockwork Origin"
2018 The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale Himself (host) 19 episodes; also writer and executive producer
2018–2019 Santa Clarita Diet Chris 3 episodes
2018 Drunk History George Corwin, Robert Ellis Cahill Episode: "Halloween"
2019 The Masked Singer Himself 3 episodes
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race Himself (guest judge) Season 11, episode 4
2019 The Rookie Brad Hayes[31] Episode: "The Shake Up"
2019 Card Sharks Host and executive producer 5 episodes
2019 Mr. Iglesias Danny Episode: "Oh Boy, Danny"
2019 What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage Himself Episode: “Preetempted”
2020 Stargirl Sylvester Pemberton / Starman Recurring role

Video games

Year Title Role
2015 Lego Dimensions X-PO

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 Nominated
EWwy Award Best Actor in a Comedy Won
Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
2012 TV Guide Award Favorite Ensemble Won
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
PAAFTJ Television Award Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Best Cast in a Comedy Series Won
EWwy Award Best Actor, Comedy Won
Satellite Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
2014 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program The Soup Nominated
2019 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actor The Happytime Murders Nominated


  • McHale, Joel (October 25, 2016). Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be. Penguin Audio. ISBN 978-0735289000.


  1. Smith, Grady (November 25, 2011). "Monitor: Nov. 25, 2011". Entertainment Weekly. No. 1182. p. 30. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  2. Mercer Island dons its autumn cloak Archived January 31, 2011, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed February 25, 2014
  3. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT, One-on-one with Joel McHale; The Great Anjelica Huston". CNN. March 15, 2012.
  4. Strawberry, Saroyan (June 2008). "Joel McHale". Details. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  5. Brodeur, Nicole (August 22, 2004). "From Mercer Island, jumping into "The Soup"". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  6. Curran, Dan (October 16, 2008). "An interview with the king of snark Joel McHale". Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  7. Steinberg, Dan (February 14, 2005). "THECHAT: Joel McHale". The Washington Post. p. D02. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  8. 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.
  9. International Improv Festival Archived October 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine; accessed February 25, 2014
  10. Spider-Man 2
  11. Joel McHale on Opie and Anthony; accessed February 25, 2014
  12. The Failed U.S. Remake Of The IT Crowd Is Fascinating To Watch
  13. Richard Ayoade Regrets Doing the U.S. Pilot for 'The IT Crowd' | Anglophenia | BBC America
  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. Petski, Denise (February 16, 2018). "'Santa Clarita Diet': Joel McHale, Maggie Lawson, Gerald McRaney & Zachary Knighton To Guest Star In Season 2". Deadline. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  21. Turchiano, Danielle (December 12, 2018). "Joel McHale Cast as Starman in DC Universe's "Stargirl"". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  22. "Joel McHale will host the White House Correspondents' Dinner". Los Angeles Times. February 14, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  23. "The 21st Annual Webby Awards Honor This Year's Internet VIPs". Variety. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  24. "Netflix Nabs Joel McHale for Weekly Talk Show". January 19, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  25. Iannucci, Rebecca (April 8, 2019). "Joel McHale to Host Card Sharks Revival". TVLine. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  26. The Soup. January 15, 2010. E!.
  27. "'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for March 12". Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  28. "'Flipping Out's' Ryan Brown settles down in Los Feliz". latimes.
  29. "'McHale attends Gladiator Match' for March 12". Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  30. Swift, Andy (October 3, 2019). "Joel McHale Joins Will & Grace's Final Season as [Spoiler]'s Love Interest". TVLine.
  31. "The Shake Up". The Rookie. Season 1. Episode 17. March 26, 2019. ABC.
Preceded by
Pat Bullard
Host, Card Sharks
Succeeded by
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