Between shooting a new movie with Eric Bana, his longtime hosting gig on The Soup, and a starring role on NBC’s Community—the little sitcom that could—Joel McHale is a busy guy. But apparently not too busy to partner with Klondike on their “What Would You Do For a Klondike Bar?” Celebrity Challenge, or spend a few minutes chatting with Maxim.
So, tell us what this Klondike challenge is all about.
The Klondike celebrity challenge: where you challenge celebrities to deathmatches, and we’ll see who wins.
And hopefully somebody dies…
Yeah, but they get weapons and you don’t.
That’s no fun.
No. Really, the “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” slogan has been around for a long time, but this is a celebrity challenge where we get actually celebrities to do stuff, but people have to suggest it on Facebook and Twitter, and then they have to do whatever they suggest for the celebrity, too. So it’s not like you can tell them to commit arson or intimidate and steal and cheat. You can’t have them steal babies or stuff like that, but you have them do stuff that you could do. I suppose that you could have a base jumper challenge them. That’s actually not a bad idea, base jumping. All I cared about [when I got involved] was that it was gonna be funny.
How is the winning challenge selected? Are you involved in that process?
They narrow it down to, I don’t know, 50 of them for us to start looking over. ‘Cause you get a ton of them, and many are ridiculous. It’s like, um, no, we can’t capture a unicorn and barbecue it. So they narrow it down and then we all wind up choosing one.
Do you get a lifetime supply of Klondike Bars for free?
Yes, but they’ve only given me 12 so far, so I guess they think my life is ending soon.
Tell us about the first challenge.
Alfonso Ribeiro is the first celebrity, and he has to eat a live guinea pig. He has to swallow it whole. He has to detach his lower jaw and swallow it.
That is horrifying.
Do you believe me? [Aside] She believed me, guys! She kinda believed me! No, we’re gonna see if he can still dance well.
Ah, the Carlton dance.
Yeah, I think it’s a decent challenge for him. Although he is gonna saw his foot off before he tries, so eventually he just bleeds out…. Am I gonna be on the cover of Maxim?
Sure, if I have anything to say about it, which I don’t.
I will get an entire sexual reassignment surgery. You just tell me what to do.
I admire your dedication.
Well, I am currently doing this movie with Olivia Munn, who has been on the cover of Maxim, right?
Yes, she has. Who’s up next in the celebrity challenges?
Next up is [‘90s pop star] Tiffany. Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus’ Tiffany. Have you seen that movie, with her and Debbie Gibson?
No, is it like Sharknado?
No, that’s Tara Reid. Come on. Do you think Tiffany would be doing this if she was in Sharknado? She’d be on her private island.
You’ve been hosting E!’s The Soup (formerly Talk Soup) since 2004. What is it like being on both sides of the aisle, as both a celebrity gossip commentator, and a sitcom star?
I’m the male version of Chelsea Handler. She does the same. I would liken it to a comedian that also acts. I see The Soup as kind of like a long late-night monologue that has a lot of clips in it. I took The Soup because—or rather, they offered it to me and I accepted—not just because of money, but because of the Greg Kinnear pedigree, where he transitioned from Talk Soup into acting, though at this point I’m not transitioning, I’m doing both (thank God). And when people see me on Community, I think they see that I can do both. I don’t think they’re like, “I don’t get it! He’s supposed to be telling me about the Kardashians! He’s not Jeff Winger!” But now, with the movie I’m doing now, it’s no joke. It’s not a comedy.
You’re talking about Beware The Night, with Erica Bana?
Yes, it’s heavy, dark, and violent. And really, it has some not-so-pleasant themes. Obviously Eric Bana brings serious cachet to the movie, and Edgar Ramirez is in it, and Olivia Munn.
Do you want to transition into more serious movies?
Well, I want to do more roles like this. But I want to do it all. I mean, I’d like to do comedies too. I think someone like Robin Williams is a good example of someone who can do both. I mean, I’m no Robin Williams—because I don’t have nearly that much body hair.
And you just wrapped a movie with Robin WIlliams, too, A Friggin Christmas Miracle. Some people don’t know that his humor has a very dark side.
Have you ever see him in World’s Greatest Dad?
Yes. Amazing. It’s SO good. It’s so weird when movies like that come out and they don’t get attention, and then other movies get shitloads of attention. It doesn’t make any sense to me. He proves that [actors can have a wide range] – like Tom Hanks or Jonah Hill. These people prove they can do more. People always expect, like [in funny voice], “Well he’s gonna do thatthing, right? Well if he doesn’t do that thing he always does, then I don’t wanna see it!”
Do you ever find that celebrities that you encounter off-screen are afraid that they’ll become targets on The Soup?
No, I mean no celebrity’s ever come up to me and said “How fucking dare you!” I mean, I would justify that by saying, well, don’t drive backwards on the highway while high and then I won’t make fun of you. I’m pretty sure Bruce Jenner’s not a fan of mine, and that’s fine. But The Soup doesn’t break stories – it’s the same thing as a late-night monologue. It’s not like “News flash!” People think that because we’re on E! that’s what happens. It’s just like with Chelsea [Handler] – she doesn’t break stories, she’s just commenting on them.
Courtesy of NBC Universal
Were you surprised that Community was renewed for a fifth season, after Chevy Chase’s mid-season departure, and all the drama involving showrunner Dan Harmon (who was forced out after season 3, but is now returning)?
I’ve been surprised almost every year. What I am surprised and very happy about is that Dan Harmon is back. He’s one of the best writing brains ever, I trust him implicitly, and I’m thrilled he’s back. I mean, he created the show and he knows it. It’s his show. And so I am thrilled he’s back. And with the way he’s talking…it just sounds like he’s very excited.
You guys have such a great cast. Alison Brie is amazing.
Extraordinary. The combination of beauty and funny on her is just nuts. Why hasn’t she ever been on the cover of Maxim?
Time for an offer!… By the way, do you want some Klondike Bars to take back to your office?
Obviously. Is that a trick question?
You should probably eat them before you leave the building [because it’s so hot outside].
I’m going to be done with these before I get out of the elevator—I’m going to have a secret eating contest in the closet on my way out.
You just became my favorite person.
Tiffany’s Klondike celebrity challenge will be unveiled on Facebook Monday, July 22, along with the next celebrity’ challenger's identity. The Soup airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on E! Community returns to NBC next year.
Also on Maxim.com: