With less than two weeks before Joel McHale is supposed to stand on a dais just feet away from the leader of the free world and rhetorically skewer him, The Daily Caller asked if the star of NBC’s “Community” and E! channel’s “The Soup” would care to share a joke or two.
“No,” he said, before adding, “fuck no!”
“Are you kidding me?” he continued. “That’s like going, ‘hey before we bring you the main course would you like a bite of it before we bring you your drinks?’ It’s like, ‘well why would I want a bite of my main course now?’”
Well, it was worth a try.
During TheDC’s interview with McHale about his upcoming gig as the comedian for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on May 3, the Hollywood funnyman played coy about his politics before insisting he was an independent.
“Just say I’m from the Whig Party,” he said at one point.
Well, what about a political cause he cares about?
“Ever since I was a kid, after watching Woody Allen’s ‘Bananas,’ I’ve always campaigned to have to wear your underwear on the outside and change it every 30 minutes,” he offered.
McHale was born in Italy, where his father was dean of Loyola University’s Rome campus. Did that Catholic upbringing give him any kind of conservative orientation?
“Because of being born in Rome? Have you seen how the women dress there?” he joked, before noting that his father is a Chicago Democrat and his mother was Canadian-born, so he just assumes she is a Rob Ford fan.
McHale says he is really, sincerely an independent, even if that “sounds like a pussy answer.”
“Being on ‘The Soup,’ I end up watching a lot of crap television, but when I have time I will watch MSNBC and I will watch Fox News,” he elaborates. “I do watch both because I want to know what both sides are saying. “
“I would say I’m more independent,” he reasons.
And as the good independent he says he is, McHale pledges to verbally brutalize the leaders of both Red and Blue America come May 3.
“My goal is to be absolutely fair on how I bash everyone,” he said.
Talking to him, McHale seems pumped for the job, but he says he isn’t precisely sure how he got it.
“I know my publicist had been championing me,” he said. “I don’t know how you get the gig, but he had been championing me for the gig.”
“I could just make up something and say I bribed them,” he added. “But I really don’t know. It’s not a great answer.”
Preparing for the event, McHale says he has talked to past White House Correspondents’ Dinner comedians like Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers and Craig Ferguson.
“They said wear sunscreen on stage. Be well hydrated. Wait – this is for when I go to the beach. I’m sorry,” McHale quipped about the advice his fellow comedians, all friends, gave him.
“No, they’ve all kind of agreed it is kind of the most strange yet exhilarating gigs of their life,” he said. “You sit next to the first lady for two hours before you get up and perform. There’s not many other gigs like that.”
McHale’s predecessors also raved about President Obama’s comedic stylings.
“They all did also say that Obama is really good at telling — and I’ve watched the tapes – Obama is terrific at telling jokes,” McHale said. “They said it is also a very strange thing to watch the leader of the free world kill, you know, just nail the comedy, which is pretty, pretty, pretty extraordinary.”
Asked whether he has ever met President Obama, McHale retorted, “We played Tennis on Thursday.”
More seriously, McHale says he doesn’t exactly “run around in these political circles” and that he doesn’t “think I’ve met really anybody” who will be at the dinner outside of a few Hollywood guests who are supposed to attend.
“I work for the E! network so it’s not like we’re known as the political hub like Comedy Central, which is much more political than we are,” he said.
Fair enough. But has McHale at least phoned fellow E! network star Kim Kardashian? She attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in the past as the guest of Fox News host Greta Van Susteren.
“I consider her royalty so I have not been able to enter the throne room where she sits,” he joked, noting that he often makes fun of her on “The Soup” and he doesn’t exactly have her number.
As performance day approaches, McHale says that he isn’t having any problems coming up with jokes about Obama.
“With him being in office for six years, there’s all sorts of material now,” he said.