Memorial Day Weekend in Las Vegas is going to be hotter than ever this year thanks to several big-name acts performing on the Strip, including comedian/actor Joel McHale. The former host of E!’s long-running series “The Soup” will be performing at Treasure Island for the first time on Friday, May 26, and promises fans an evening they’ll never forget.
“It will be a lot like seeing Bon Jovi in concert in 1987,” McHale told AXS.com. “There will be pyro, leather and chains, I’ll have bandanas wrapped around my hand that holds the mic — I’ll even be throwing signed guitar picks out into the audience but they won’t be signed by me. They’ll be signed by Robert De Niro, and those aren’t easy to get ahold of.”
Known for his sardonic style of comedy, McHale said fans familiar with his work on “The Soup” can expect him to continue to ridicule the things he doesn’t like during his stand-up set—although the father of two has a lot of material about his family, too.
“I’m not very political, even though it’s a wonderful time to be a political comedian right now,” McHale said. “I’d much rather tell you a story about my trip to Nashville or a great fart joke. I like to praise the shit I love and ridicule the stuff I hate, just like on ‘The Soup.’ This is a new show, though, so you’re not going to see any of my old stuff.”
Although McHale has found success in recent years on such successful TV shows and films as “Community” and “Ted,” the funnyman actually got his start onstage doing improv. While he joked that it’s the money that keeps him coming back to stand-up comedy, there’s obviously much more to it than that.
“I feel like [stand-up] keeps me one day away from death’s door,” McHale said. “It’s so exciting and exhilarating. It really keeps me young. Plus, it’s much more consistent than TV or film. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your TV show is being renewed (McHale’s latest series, ‘The Great Indoors,’ was sadly just canceled by CBS) and, let’s face it, as far as movies go, I’m no Zac Efron anymore. Oh, wait a minute, I never was.”
McHale also noted that stand-up comedy is one of the few forms of entertainment that really hasn’t changed much over the years — a topic that was at the center of “The Great Indoors,” as McHale’s character Jack dealt with the magazine he worked at moving to a web-only publishing platform and having to oversee a group of millennials working for the digital publication.
“Maybe the dissemination has changed now that you have all these Netflix and HBO specials, but the act of performing stand-up comedy live hasn’t changed: you’re either funny or you’re not,” McHale said. “There’s this great simplicity to it. You still need an audience and you still need something onstage being performed. Live performance truly is the purest art form.”
While McHale will always love the stage, that doesn’t mean he’s not still busy with various TV and movie projects. In fact, fans of “Community” can soon see McHale playing his former costar Chevy Chase in the upcoming film “A Futile & Stupid Gesture,” which focuses on National Lampoon’s early days and its co-founder, Douglas Kenney (played by Will Forte).
“I called him to let him know I’d be playing him,” McHale replied when asked how Chase responded to the casting news. “He was just excited for Doug’s life to finally be illuminated. They were best friends; he loved him. He was one of the last people to see Doug alive, actually (Kenney died at the age of 33 after falling from a cliff in Hawaii).”
McHale said he prepared for the role by watching a lot of Chase’s early work before he was “the biggest comedy star of the ’80s.”
“A lot of National Lampoon people became ‘Saturday Night Live’ people,” McHale noted. “National Lampoon really was so integral to this whole cultural revolution on TV.”
McHale also recently got to be a part of the heavily anticipated “Mystery Science Theater 3000” revival, which just released new episodes on Netflix in April.
“I helped write one episode and played Doug McClure in another,” McHale said. “The fact that I can say I know Joel Hodgson (the creator of ‘MST3K’) is so strange to me. I worshiped him growing up and to be able to say I worked with him is so kooky and weird. I just don’t know how I got so lucky.”
Despite all his success, McHale still remains down to earth, even saying that he’s not sure if people want to see him hosting a TV show again when asked if he would ever consider doing another satirical series like “The Soup” in the future.
“We’ll see,” McHale stated. “It’s not something that I’d rule out. I never say no to anything — well, maybe tainted heroin.”
McHale even told AXS that he wouldn’t be opposed to doing an extended residency in Las Vegas one day, although “no one has offered that yet.”
“I don’t know if the demand for that is off the charts, but I enjoy Las Vegas,” he said. “Everyone I know who is from there is just such a cool person, like Jimmy Kimmel. He’s this salt of the earth, all-around great guy.”
For now, McHale is just happy to be returning to the Entertainment Capital of the World for one unforgettable night of laughs.
“This really is going to be the greatest show you’ll ever see,” the humble star not so humbly concluded. “Everything else you see after this will be a disappointment. It’s like Game 7 of the World Series all over again.”
Joel McHale performs inside the intimate Treasure Island Theatre on May 26 at 9 p.m. Tickets range from $54.95 to $69.95 plus tax and service charges. All guests must be 16 years of age or older to attend the show. To reserve your seats, click here.