Chief Happy Hour Officer Joel McHale Dishes On Q Mixers - Exclusive Interview

Chances are that actor and TV host Joel McHale has made you laugh a time or two. Whether it was his quick-witted observations on "The Soup," as the endearingly snarky Jeff Winger on "Community," or even more recently during guest appearances on shows like "I Can See Your Voice," McHale's knack for comedic sarcasm has charmed audiences for two decades.

But these days, McHale isn't just looking for laughs — he's pouring drinks, and helping us all have a better happy hour with the team at Q Mixers. McHale joined the carbonated beverage company as their Chief Happy Hour Officer, and spoke with Mashed about why he's loving his newest gig. Q Mixers has a whole line of high-quality, carbonated drink mixers — everything from tonic water, to ginger beer, to sparkling grapefruit. You've probably had them in a great cocktail already at one of the thousands of bars and restaurants that use Q Mixers, and you can buy them yourself at major grocery retailers across the U.S. Joel McHale definitely thinks you should, and never settle for a mediocre mixed drink ever again. 

In his exclusive interview with Mashed, McHale also shared his new favorite cocktail recipe, along with some tips for making better drinks at home, and of course dished on his past TV projects, with lots of jokes along the way.

Joel McHale on his role as Q Mixers Chief Happy Hour Officer

It's five o'clock, so let's talk happy hour...I want to start by asking what is a chief happy hour officer?

Well, you're looking at him. I go to all the board meetings here at Q Mixers, I yell a lot, I demand the CEO have fun, and finally have a drink because Jordan, the CEO, works very hard.

People have been making cocktails at home for many months, as evidenced by me, and now things are opening up, and hopefully, people can go back to bars, If they want to stay home, we understand, but hopefully they'll include Q Mixers, since if you order a quality drink and they put a crappy mixer in it, it's ruined. It's like putting bald tires on a Porsche Turbo S, so why would you do that? These are super carbonated. It's all high quality ingredients.

And Jordan, the president ... that was the idea like 15 years ago. He was like, "Why are mixers lame?" And he created a market out of nothing. It's pretty great.

How did you get involved with this team?

I stalked them for about a year and a half. A lot of standing outside of windows and going, "hi!" They approached me, and I was like, "you're not going to believe this. I already have Q Mixers in my fridge." I have been approached by brands that I did not know what they did, and those are always a little bit like, "maybe it's part of the mafia. I don't know." But this one I actually knew, and was like, "oh yeah, I can get behind that because there's nothing lamer than crappy mix." So it worked out great, and I really like the brand, and now obviously their retail sales have exploded during the pandemic. I really like the brand, and so I always say, "Just keep drinking."

Joel McHale's advice for making cocktails at home

Since this pandemic, we're all learning to be our own bartenders. What are some big mistakes that you see when people are making drinks and cocktails? What do they need to do better?

Boy, I think, A, crappy mixers ... I've already said it, don't get a quality booze and then add crappy mixers. It's a mistake. I think quality ingredients is the way to start. The only way you can really mess it up is by messing up the proportions. So, you don't want to serve someone an only-gin gin and tonic, because that would be a violation of the name. But that's really how people screw it up. I mean, yes, when you get into the more complicated cocktails, then those people are scientists, and I can't touch them. But when it's like gin and tonics, and martinis, and even a Moscow Mule is pretty simple. So I would say just say ... don't make the mixed drinks from, I don't know, off of a ledge, because that might fall off. So, there you go.

Joel McHale on his favorite cocktails and his go-to Q Mixers

So what is your go-to drink? What's your favorite cocktail recipe that you can share?

I love a gin and tonic, but again, it has to be like high-quality gin. I usually use Old Raj, and then it has to be, obviously, good tonic. Hey look, Q Mixers is right here. And then you have to have lime and ice, and it's not the most complicated drink, but you can screw it up really easily.

But then if I'm in a bar and I want something, I still love a mojito. I love a scratch margarita. I know that some people are like, "I like the bone marrow with the Pappy van Winkle that is slowly boiled and then frozen and then buried at sea," and then they bring that out and then they pour a kir royale over it. Once in a while, I'll get one of those, I'm there like, "oh my gosh, this is magic. I've never had anything like this," and I look forward to doing that again when bars are super open, so we'll see. It kind of depends on where I am. I live in Los Angeles, so we live in a margarita heaven.

What is your favorite Q Mixer to use?

Thanks for asking, Alexandra. Well, right here in front of you, the Five O'clock Fizz... which is Blanco tequila with Campari, lime juice, and of course, ginger beer. That is great.

And then, well the tonic water. I like a light tonic water for the gin and tonics, because it's like 20 calories for the whole can, and we're in Los Angeles, so all we care about is how we look. I like the cola. I like the club soda.

Joel McHale on his newest TV gig, Crime Scene Kitchen

You have this new baking competition you're hosting. What is up with "Crime Scene Kitchen"?

So thankfully, the nice people at Fox asked me to host it and it's a baking competition show, and I am a big ... believe me, I love food and I definitely let my opinions [be] known about how I feel about it.

Baking is a world that I wasn't really a part of. I just enjoyed it. And then after hosting ["Crime Scene Kitchen"], I'm like, it is a science and it is so difficult to do it right. And the judges — Curtis Stone and Yolanda Gampp, who's the queen of cakes — they talk like they are at jet propulsion labs, and it's pretty incredible. But the way the show is different than regular baking shows is that there's this kitchen they set up and the bakers have two minutes to go into this kitchen and there is evidence left behind of something that has been baked, like five to 10 things. It'll be just a little bit of sugar, perhaps a fork with some simple syrup on it, some type of like, yeast, who knows, and they have to figure out what was baked there.

And you would be amazed at how close people get and amazed at how far people miss. So there's definitely, like, an unboxing sort of vibe to it and a mystery thing to it. So that's really what I think sets it apart. I had so much fun doing it. And of course, ingesting 9,000 calories a day, which I'm still working off, which is cool, but it was, boy, it was a blast. So I think it's going to be the greatest show in the history of television.

Joel McHale looks back on his favorite moments from Community

Let's go back in time a little bit. Do you have any favorite moments from your "Community" days that you can share?

I knew when I was on the show that it was a good show because the scripts were so good and I couldn't believe how talented everyone [was]. And I was like, "Oh, this is what it's like to be on a television show that's on national television," because everyone is such an assassin when it comes to talent and their joke-telling.

It's very difficult for me to name [a favorite moment]. When we did the paintball episode, I got to be an action hero ... then the Dungeons & Dragons episode... I knew this was one of the best things I've been a part of. When Pierce's will is given to us, boy, that was funny.

It's the in-between the shooting of the show, like when we're waiting around to do the next take or they're flipping the room and it was just being with that group of people. And we did that table read a year ago, April, I think, for charity. I got done with that and just burst out crying. I just walked, went, and found my wife, and I was just like, "Boy, do I miss all those people." It was like a family reunion, the first family reunion, and I was like, "Oh, what a cool thing I got to do." So believe me, I have no idea why God has been so nice to me, but I was like, "Here I am. What happened? How come? Thank you." So, boy, I hope there's a movie.

There is so much speculation about this. Do you think it's going to happen?

If you asked me one year ago before the table read, I would have lied to you and said absolutely, or I would have said like, maybe, But in the back of my mind ... I'm always like, "that's a hard hurdle to get over." Now with the success on Netflix, and Hulu, and even Amazon, how it's gotten to this brand new life, I think there's more possibility than ever. But with every movie you need money. So if you have a few million bucks lying around ... definitely. But it's one of those things where there's a higher possibility than ever, but it's definitely not ... we sure don't have a shoot date, and I don't think there's a script. So I would say "maybe" more than ever.

But you think everybody would be on board with it?

I would say everyone would be on board with it if everyone's available. That is one of the harder things to get together. But I can't say everyone ... so I don't know. Maybe ... If they pay everybody $50 million apiece, we're going to be fine. Yes. Then everyone's on board.

Joel McHale on his favorite moments from The Soup

Can you share any of your favorite moments from "The Soup"? Looking back on that. What do you remember the most?

The final episode, when Eric Idle from Monty Python and I were doing a sketch together with my best friend from grade school, I was like, "How did this happen?" And so I was very happy about that. When we had the cast of Mad Men on, and LeVar Burton, that made me so happy ... I'm like, "Who are you?" And he was like, "I'm the redhead." It was so funny.

We did a show every week for 12 years. I saw an interview with Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel, where they don't recall most shows that they've done because your brain can't keep it all in there. So, people will remind me of moments where I'm like, "I have no idea what you're talking about." And then they'll say like, "remember that time you did this." And I'll be like, "I do not. But it sounds like it was really fun for you. And I'm glad it happened." But I look back on it as just kind of like ... one of those things where we started out with nothing on a Friday night at 10 o'clock on E!, which was a desert, and they let us do whatever we wanted ... I couldn't believe it.

Thankfully, no one watched the show for the first year. And I mean, no one. I don't think my parents did. And then finally it started gaining momentum and we're like, "Hey, people are watching." And that was just sort of wonderful. I couldn't believe it. And I can't believe it ended six years ago. That's crazy. It really shows you people age, and time moves on, Alexandra. See what I did?

Joel McHale on his passion for comedy

You've had such a wide-ranging career ... acting, stand-up comedy, hosting, podcasting, like you run the gamut, but I mean, obviously the through-line of all of it is you making people laugh and your incredible knack for sarcasm. Where does that passion come from?

I just want money. If I can just get a pile of money, that'd be great.

I have always been this way, I guess. My mom said it was from the moment I was born. So I went, "Oh, all right." I always wanted to be on stage and I'm super dyslexic and ADHD, so I definitely used humor to combat anyone telling me I was stupid, which happened.

In the back of my mind, I was like, I'm going to do this until the get-a-real-job police come and take me away. And so far they haven't yet. There was a couple of times where I'm like, "hmm, this was maybe it." But I dragged my poor wife down to Los Angeles in 2000 and said, "Just give me five years and let's see what happens." And she was like, "okay." And we didn't have kids at that point, so it worked out. I got "The Soup" four years later. And now she's like, "Are we ever going back to Seattle?" I'm like, "Just give me a minute." So yeah.

I saw Dave Grohl give a speech about ... like he had all his favorite rockstars on his walls as a kid, as did I. And he was like, "Look, somebody's gotta do it, so it might as well be you." And I was like, "yeah." I was like, "If someone's got to be on TV, doing these jobs I've always wanted," I was like, "I'm going to try."

We love watching you and "I Can See Your Voice" when you make guest appearances, and I'm dying to know, can you sing? Will we ever see you on "The Masked Singer"? Is that something you would do?

I'm not answering any of that. And I'm going to say, I have the greatest voice you've ever heard. Everyone loves it. I have sung on "The Masked Singer" one time as a joke. I did a Robin Thicke impression.

Oh my God. Incredible. Well, thank you so much for your time, Joel. This was such a great conversation.

Nice to talk to you.

Upgrade your cocktail game by checking out And catch Joel McHale in the series premiere of "Crime Scene Kitchen" on May 26th on Fox.