Joel McHale weighs in on kids, 'Community' and ... Craig Kilborn?

  • Actor, comedian and TV host Joel McHale joined Geoff Edgers for a conversation in late July.

    Actor, comedian and TV host Joel McHale joined Geoff Edgers for a conversation in late July. The Washington Post

Posted9/6/2020 7:23 AM

Every Friday and many Tuesday afternoons, national arts reporter Geoff Edgers hosts The Washington Post's first Instagram Live show from his barn in Concord, Mass. So far, he has interviewed, among others, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and journalist Dan Rather.

Recently, Edgers chatted with actor, comedian and sometime TV host Joel McHale. Here are excerpts from their conversation.


Q: You recently guest-hosted "Jimmy Kimmel Live!'" and introduced yourself as Craig Kilborn. Do you have a connection to him? Because I mean, theoretically, you emerged at the same time he was leaving.

A: I think I just said that because he is a tall, lanky White man, as I am. And there are probably numerous people that thought it was actually Craig Kilborn. And so why not?

Q: Are there a lot of people in the viewing audience of a mainstream television show who still know who Craig Kilborn is?

A: I don't know. I only said that because, boy, (McHale's E! show) "The Soup" went off now four years ago and I think people hardly remember it. It's very weird, because I don't get recognized for it at all anymore. It's all about (the NBC show) "Community."

Q: Are you familiar with Room Rater?

A: Room Rater? No. That sounds like the nickname for a kid on "The Goonies."

Q: Well, it's on Twitter. You know Twitter, yeah?

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A: Never heard of it. But go ahead.

Q: Room Rater (created by Claude Taylor and Jessie Bahrey, @ratemyskyperoom) judges people's backdrops on Zoom, Skype, etc. It's been interesting to watch because people are taking Room Rater's advice. I asked them to rate your setup and they called it "the hostage video with bulletin board." Two out of 10.

A: Yes, I would agree. I wanted it to look like I had broken into the place. I look at all the setups on the evening news, and everyone's got their books all turned like they want people to know what they're reading and or sell their book. But I am just like, "No, I'm going to keep it full Matthew McConaughey, from 'True Detective.'" Just like a copier.

Q: Do you find being stuck at home and doing things like "The Darkest Timeline" podcast with former "Community" colleague Ken Jeong more exhausting or a great relief and a way out into the world?

A: I am an OCD workaholic and I can't sit still; I feel like I'm dying. Which is a great way to be. So when this thing hit, I had ants in my pants. So I just started doing stuff. Ken Jeong is the exact same way. And that's how that kind of came together. And I do look forward to it a lot. It usually takes about three hours because we talk for almost 2 ½, which I'm sure must be quite annoying to some people.


Q: Joel, how old are your children?

A: Fifteen and 12.

Q: So, how does that work for you?

A: Well, I produced them with my wife starting 15 years ago. Three years later, another one came out. What is going on?

Q: Can I be more direct?

A: Yes.

Q: So I assume that their schooling was canceled during the spring or at least was moved to virtual schooling. And I assume that you are now unsure of what is going to happen in the fall with their schooling.

A: It's looking very much like it will all be Zoom school, which, as you know, is a great way to learn. I've very nicely passed on my ADHD and my dyslexia to my kids at different levels. And so no, it's not for us. I know some kids love it, but for us it's been, well, it sucks. But, you know, the alternative is not good. So we should be very thankful we've got computers and phones and that we can do it. But I've been so busy that the lion's share falls on my wife. So she's loving it, he said very sarcastically.

Q: Will there be a "Community" movie?

A: We did a Zoom call where we read aloud a script for charity and Sony organized it. And everyone was asked whether we would do a movie. And everyone agreed. But as you know, if someone says, "Hey, do you guys want to build a battleship?" That's the sort of effort it takes. So many parts have to come together. Schedules have to work out. Scripts need to be written. I think there's more hope than there ever was, but I don't think it will be anytime soon.

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