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Joel Edward McHale (born November 20, 1971 in Rome, Italy) is an American comedian, actor, sports fan, and host and producer for various television programming.
Being of Irish and Norwegian descent, he was raised Catholic in New Jersey and Seattle, Washington. He received a bachelor's degree in History from the University of Washington in 1995 after briefly belonged to the university's Theta Chi Fraternity. He was recruited to be on the rowing team, but later joined the football team, playing tight end for two years and ended up graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Professional Actors Training Program.
Originally, Joel was a member of the "Almost Live!" cast, a local sketch-comedy television show produced by Seattle's KING-TV (Channel 5). From 1993 to 1997, Joel was also a member of the improv comedy group at Unexpected Productions, participating in Theatersports! at the Market Theater located in Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. From July 1, 2004 until December 18, 2015, Joel was known for being the host of the E! channel's "Talk Soup", where Joel and that show's writers recapped and lampooned awful-quality television shows each week.
He later became the main star of the comedy show "Community", which aired for five seasons on NBC from September 17, 2009 to April 17, 2014, and continued it's sixth season on Yahoo!.com's official streaming service. The show received critical acclaim, with many critics praising the show's acting and writing as well as being noted for it's heavy use of meta-humor and pop culture references while often parodying film and television clichés and tropes. It ranked on numerous critics' year-end "best-of" lists for 2009, 2010, and 2011. While the show suffered from low ratings throughout its run, a cult following around it developed as it progressed, united by the mantra "six seasons and a movie", a line from a second season episode.
Joel also had guest-appearances and recurring appearances on shows such as "Bill Nye the Science Guy", "Will & Grace", "CSI: Miami", "Pushing Daisies", "Robot Chicken", "Phineas and Ferb", "Sons of Anarchy", "Conan", "Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja", "Regular Show" and the 2016 revival of "The X-Files". McHale has hosted various award show programs and was the featured entertainer at the 2014 White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner.
He had supporting roles in feature and indie films such as Mini's First Time (with Carrie-Anne Moss and Jeff Goldblum), Steven Soderbergh's The Informant! (with Matt Damon), Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (with Jessica Alba and Danny Trejo), The Big Year (with Owen Wilson), Ted (with Mark Wahlberg), Deliver Us from Evil (with Eric Bana) and Adult Beginners (with Rose Byrne). All of the film roles had him lending either dramatic or comedic support.
- Joel teamed up with Michael J. Nelson for the RiffTrax commentary of 1984's Red Dawn which was released on the official site on July 2, 2009. Previously on September 5, 2008, the RiffTrax Presents commentary for Spider-Man 2, a film that Joel had acted in, was posted as well.
- Joel guest-starred on a March 15, 2010 episode Chris Hardwick's "The Nerdist" podcast. It was also the sixth episode of it's first season as well and Joel even revealed that he and Chris were once neighbors.
- In 2013, McHale starred in the Community episode "Intro to Felt Surrogacy", in which the main characters all appeared as puppets. One of the puppeteers for this episode was Russ Walko, who would later go on to operate Tom Servo.
- In December of 2015, Joel, Jerry Seinfeld and Mark Hamill all confirmed on their Twitter social networking accounts that they would be making guest-appearances on Joel Hodgson's relaunch of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 show. McHale then appeared as "Doug McClure" in Experiment #1114 - At the Earth's Core.