Joel McHale dishes on chicken tetrazzini, Ryan Seacrest and more

by Tom Horgen

Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (MCT)

7 May 2010


MINNEAPOLIS — Amid the deluge of soul-sucking reality shows flooding television these days, comedian Joel McHale is a voice of reason, skewering Orange County housewives and Jersey Shore juiceheads on E!‘s “The Soup.”

Just look at what he did for chicken tetrazzini. The faux-Italian dish became an infamous sound bite after “The Soup” featured a “Maury” clip of a woman berating her boyfriend for being seduced by his mistress’ chicken tetrazzini.

More: On April 1, McHale’s 1.7 million Twitter followers cheered him on as he hacked rival Ryan Seacrest’s Twitter account, from which he posted hilarious tweets like “Ryan bought a yacht and will be sailing away on it as soon as he gets it out of the bottle.” (It turned out to be an April Fool’s stunt — Seacrest was in on it.)

McHale talked by phone recently about all of this (and where he gets all those skinny ties) as he drove from the L.A. set of NBC’s “Community” to a taping of “The Soup.”

Q. On the Minneapolis Craigslist, someone posted “Willing to pay $150 cash and a side of chicken tetrazzini for a pair of tickets” to your show. Is that a good deal?

A. It really depends on the quality of the chicken tetrazzini and who’s making it.

Q. Is there anything better about performing for a casino crowd?

A. No and yes. You’d think the strangest things would happen at a casino, but they actually happen at theater shows.

Q. What’s the strangest thing that’s happened?

A. Maybe not strange, but women will come up and show their boobs. That usually happens in theaters. That happened New Year’s Eve in Phoenix.

Q. After five years of “The Soup,” is this the gift that keeps on giving, or are you getting bored?

A. I’ve never gotten bored. TV comes up with new and creative ways to be awful and spectacular. As long as reality shows are on the air and as long as they keep plying contestants with booze, I think we’ve got a lot of material to work with.

Q. Do you ever have nightmares about reality stars chasing after you with pitchforks?

A. Only like every other night.

Q. Which reality star hates you the most?

A. For the most part, when I meet people who are in reality shows, they thank me and then ask to come on the show. No one has been like “How dare you? How dare you insult a fat guy who’s wasted while getting a tattoo while passed out on ‘Road Rules Challenge’ or whatever the hell it’s called.”

Q. Seacrest is a regular punching bag of yours. But are you guys really best friends?

A. We’re friends. If you watch what we actually say about him, we talk about how much money he has, how busy he is and how short he is. In reality, he’s actually not that short. He’s a really good sport about it.

Q. Explain this whole hacking-into-his-Twitter thing — that was pretty amazing.

A. It was his idea. I sent his people a bunch of tweets for him to Twitter later in the day. I couldn’t believe that people actually bought that. You would have to have a military team of hackers to hack something like that. I kept sending out tweets (on my Twitter) saying, “Here’s the password: it’s ‘tinyjockeyshorts’” Or “hairlesschoirboy.” And on my Twitter, people would say, “Hey, I tried that! It didn’t work! What the hell!”

Q. Last question: Where do you find all those skinny ties?

A. I go back in time to the 1950s and I rob an insurance agency full of men. I assaulted some Mormon missionaries and I took them. No, Jose the stylist, who is the greatest guy ever, basically said, “You will wear skinny ties from now on.” I was like “All right!”

//Mixed media