In a world full of bisexuals on MTV, aging rockers and venereal disease on VH-1, and nine hours of the Today show every day, television needs a savior.
And what it has, is Joel McHale.
McHale is coming at 8 p.m. Saturday to the Peoria Civic Center for a performance sponsored by the Activities Council of Bradley University.
As the longtime host of E!’s “The Soup,” McHale made a name for himself deftly skewering everything from reality TV attention whores to Spanish telenovelas, with an equal mix of poop jokes and witty commentary. What started as a man in front of a green screen making jokes about “Being Bobby Brown” quickly became an institution.
He has since appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s recent film “The Informant!” and stars in NBC’s newest Thursday night comedy, “Community.”
While appearing in movies, having an episode of “The Soup” almost every Friday and appearing in a comedy for national TV is already a pretty full schedule, McHale has also been performing standup almost nonstop for the last few years.
However, McHale has not always appeared on television, having worked with improvisational comedy for four years before landing small roles on shows such as “CSI: Miami” and “Will and Grace.”
In 2004, E! Network wanted to bring back its once popular program “Talk Soup,” a daytime talk show roundup that had been hosted by such stars as Greg Kinnear (‘Little Miss Sunshine”), Hal Sparks (VH-1’s talking head for “I Love the 80s) , and Aisha Tyler (of ‘Friends” and ‘Boston Legal). McHale auditioned to host the show, and the new program was christened “The Soup.”
Although it was originally meant to skewer reality TV and riff on the tabloid targets of the day, “The Soup” quickly branched out and began targeting every ridiculous moment of television.
McHale’s rapid-fire delivery and general wit turned what could have been an easy-to-overlook clip show into a cult favorite. He took what every mildly funny person does when watching TV and turned it into one of the most watchable shows of the decade.
Now with his new show, “Community,” McHale can finally add some depth and emotion to the biting sarcasm he has mastered during the last four years. “Community” stars McHale as the disgraced lawyer, Jeff Winger, who goes back to community college to get his law degree again. With the help of Chevy Chase, as an aging moist-towelette tycoon, and his fellow students, he forms a study group in equal parts to pass and to hit on a girl named Britta, played by “Choke’s” Gillian Jacobs.
The show appears alongside NBC’s biggest hits, “The Office” and “30 Rock,” and it consistently delivers laughs whether they are demonstrating proper “krumping” techniques, or showing Chevy Chase light himself on fire at a silent protest.
As he appears Saturday at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre, McHale will be returning to his comedic roots.
In an interview with The Onion AV Club, McHale described his stand up as going “a little deeper and wider” than his work with “The Soup,” but attendees can also expect jokes about a wide array of topics, from his family to shark attacks.
Hopefully, he can say something about Ryan Seacrest too.