The A-List Interview: Joel McHale

The snarky and stylish Community star and The Soup host talks dude crushes, flirtatious gay fans, and the big thing he has in common with Michael Fassbender.



Whether he’s cracking wise as host of The Soup or as vain ex-lawyer Jeff Winger on the wacky community college-set sitcom Community, now in its fourth season on NBC, Joel McHale looks good enough to be mistaken for gay. Is it any wonder that men throw themselves at him?

The Advocate: What does the support of the gay audience mean to you?
Joel McHale: Community needs all the help it can get, so thank God for our gay fans. Our young gay fans especially are the loudest and most Internet-savvy. That also speaks to the quality of our show, which I think is highly intelligent.

Are you familiar with the gay Community fan fiction?
Oh, yeah, but I haven’t read too much of the fan fiction. I’ve seen a lot of the fan paintings and drawings, which are extraordinary. I’ve also seen and tweeted a bunch of the shipper videos, where fans have reedited Community footage to create their own stories.

If you tried your hand at slash fiction, which male character would you pair with Jeff Winger?
I’d go with Magnitude, whose catchphrase is “Pop! Pop!” So I think you know what he’d say during sex.

Is it fair to say that Community has gotten gayer over the years?
That’s probably true. The first three seasons all came out of [creator and former show-runner] Dan Harmon’s brain, and instead of creating a traditional gay character, he went in the direction of Jim Rash’s character, Dean Pelton, where you’re not really sure what’s going on with his sexuality — other than the fact that he likes to play dress-up and has a Dalmatian fetish.

Is the show leading up to a coming-out episode for the dean?
It’s leading to a graphic gay sex scene with a lot of costume changes. No, I think it’s better to keep it ambiguous. In the fantastical world of the show, which has a tradition of flipping things upside down, you don’t want to remove those questions because you want to keep these people interesting. It’s funnier to keep people guessing. If the writers did decide to define the dean, we’d better have a really good reason, and then we’d better explore that further.