The A-List Interview: Joel McHale
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.
Much like in Say Anything, guys usually stand outside my house with a boombox over their head blasting the Indigo Girls. Actually, guys sometimes will tweet me, “I’m in L.A. Staying at such-and-such hotel. What do you think?” Of course, it all depends on the quality of the hotel. Back when I had just moved to L.A., before I was on any show, I was meeting a friend at a bar connected to this restaurant we went to. When I got there, I was the only one in the bar. While I was messing with my phone, I didn’t notice the whole bar fill up with men. Guys kept coming up, asking, “What’s going on, man?” I figured they’d seen the commercials I was in. Then I realized that these men were coming on to me because I was alone in a gay bar.
What’s the best way for a straight man to handle that situation?
Just a very quick, courteous blowjob.
You once told The Advocate that some people believe you are gay because you dress so well.
Oh, I still see that on Twitter every day. It’s flattering. I always find it really weird when guys flip out over someone thinking they might be gay. If a guy gets offended by that, there’s something’s wrong with him. I take it as a compliment.
Do you have a dude crush?
Ooh, boy, I have so many. Josh Gad. Brian Williams. Patrick Stewart. Nathan Fillion. Kobe Bryant. Chaz Bono.
OK, now you’re just saying names.
Maybe. I’m not picky.