The Untold Truth Of Crime Scene Kitchen Host Joel McHale

Joel McHale has had quite the TV and movie career. If you own a television — heck, if your eyes have landed on a functioning TV once or twice in the past couple decades — chances are you've seen him in one of his many roles. For 12 years, McHale hosted "The Soup," which commented on the many cringey moments brought to you by reality television (via Variety). But McHale may be best known for "Community." He played cynical ex-lawyer Jeff Winger in the popular sitcom about a study group full of misfits at a community college (via Entertainment Weekly). McHale even did a turn on "The F Word" and made Gordon Ramsay laugh until he choked (via YouTube).

If you're not doing anything else today, take a look at McHale's list of credits on IMDb. He's been a guest on just about every late-night talk show out there. He's been a panelist on "The Masked Singer," a contestant and a host on numerous game shows, and a character in reboots of "Will & Grace" and "The Twilight Zone." And all of that was just in 2020. The self-described workaholic has been crazy-busy, even in a year when most of us were locked down in COVID-19 quarantine (via NME). Now, he's all set to host "Crime Scene Kitchen," a cooking show with a twist, which premieres on Fox May 26. McHale will manage the chaos as contestants solve clues to figure out what dessert they need to make to win a $100,000 prize.

Joel McHale went from football nobody to successful actor

Joel McHale is an actor and comedian, having graduated from the University of Washington's Actors Training Program with a master's of fine arts, according to his IMDb biography. If the famous actor has a claim to obscurity, it's that he played on the Washington Huskies college football team as a tight end, even going to the prestigious Rose Bowl in 1993 (via NBC Sports Northwest). Okay, "played" may not be the right word. He never saw a minute of game action in his two years on the team. McHale played on a scout team during practice, helping the real players on defense prepare for the next game. "I was the worst tight end in the history of the Huskies, by a mile," McHale said. "I was practically a mascot. They would often accidentally give me the top part of the husky head instead of a helmet."

The guy who jokes his way through just about every publicity interview cut his comic teeth after college on the local Seattle sketch show "Almost Live," which also launched the career of Bill Nye the Science Guy (via King 5). He moved to Los Angeles and landed a handful of minor roles in TV series, including the initial run of "Will & Grace," according to the IMDb biography. McHale's first big-screen role was small, but the movie itself was big. He played a sarcastic banker in "Spider-Man 2," in a scene where the movie's villain robs the place (via WhatCulture).

Joel McHale emerged as the star of 'Community'

People who can't get enough of reality-TV silliness got to know Joel McHale on "The Soup," which ran from 2004 to 2015 (via IMDb). Most of the rest of us learned to love McHale on "Community," which aired from 2009 to 2015. When McHale read his first "Community" script, he knew he just had to be on the show. His character, Jeff Winger, was an ex-lawyer who had to go to community college because he had faked his college degree (via Entertainment Weekly). While his character's backstory didn't necessarily resonate with McHale, his attitude did. "I'm always skeptical to a fault and sarcastic and a cynic to a fault," McHale told Entertainment Weekly — and he saw those same traits in Jeff Winger. "And it was just such a well-written script and I would've sawed off a pinkie to do it. I didn't do that, but I would have."

McHale's co-star on "Community," Chevy Chase, may have come in as the show's marquee name, but that started to change after word got out that Chase was prone to fits of anger on set (via Deadline). McHale told Howard Stern in a clip available on YouTube that he tried to talk to Chase and get him to fly right, but Chase wasn't having it. Meanwhile, as Deadline reported, McHale had eclipsed Chase to become the leading man on "Community."

Joel McHale's worst experience ever came as a stand-up comic

Joel McHale started a side hustle as a stand-up comic in 2005, after he had already established himself on "The Soup" (via Chicago Tribune). McHale started his stand-up career extending the humor he brought to "The Soup," making fun of reality-TV celebrities. He would go on to expand his repertoire, often relying on geographic humor. In one bit on YouTube, he teased people who say they're from California's Bay Area because they're too embarrassed to admit they live in Livermore.

McHale got a really plumb comic gig, headlining the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2014 (via YouTube). He joked at the time that the Republican presidential candidate in a couple years would be Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, or "a bag of flour with Ronald Reagan's face drawn on it." (Little did anyone know at the time....)

By McHale's own account, the worst moment of his celebrity career came while doing stand-up. He told the Chicago Tribune he was one of eight comics at a big show in Anaheim with an audience of 8,000. He bombed as soon as he told his first, "Soup"-themed joke, but he toughed it out for all of his allotted 20 minutes. After McHale left the stage, the show's booker told him to leave ... fast. What did McHale learn from this brutal experience? "Don't get in front of 8,000 people who hate you. That seems like pretty sage advice."

Joel McHale promises to bring levity to 'Crime Scene Kitchen'

When someone hustles for work as hard as Joel McHale does, they're bound to experience rejection and failures along with the successes. "I'm used to rejection because I'm an actor," McHale told the Chicago Tribune. "People will say, 'But you've done well!' And I'll say, 'For every audition I got, I didn't get 60, 70, 80 others." After "The Soup" was canceled, Netflix tapped McHale to host a nearly identical TV-commentary show called "The Joe McHale Show with Joe McHale" but pulled the plug after only 19 episodes (via Variety). Even so, McHale's trendline remains positive. He had a leading part in the 2020 horror movie "Becky," which McHale described as a "super-violent 'Home Alone'" (via NME). He also hosted a bonus episode of "Tiger King" last year. And then, of course, there's "Crime Scene Kitchen," premiering May 26 on Fox. While his latest gig is, in fact, yet another cooking competition show, McHale is sure to leaven this highly predictable format with his biting humor. And he's sure to leave some contestants feeling uneasy.

McHale appeared recently on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (via YouTube). When Fallon got around to asking McHale what "Crime Scene Kitchen" was about, the new show's host deadpanned, "You go to a crime scene, and you eat next to a murder victim." McHale was joking, of course, but it could have been even worse. He could have had Chevy Chase co-host.