Comedian Joel McHale on the "big hustle" of acting career

The star of comedy hits like “The Soup” and “Community” is returning to television with a new CBS sitcom, “The Great Indoors.”

CBS News

To say Joel McHale is a busy man is an understatement. Along with being a husband and father of two boys, he’s an actor, comedian and author. At the root of that drive is his love for comedy, reports CBS News contributor Jamie Wax. 

It’s tough getting through an interview with Joel McHale without laughing. With a knack for comedic timing, the 44-year-old has built a career cracking jokes using his trademark snark-and-deadpan delivery.  For six seasons, he starred as self-obsessed Jeff Winger on the cult comedy, “Community.” But he had already attracted a community of fans hosting “The Soup.” The long-running pop culture show ended late last year.

“It’s been just about a year since you last worked on ‘The Soup.’ Do you miss it?” Wax asked.

“You know, once it was over. I was like, ‘Oh all right.’ Yeah, it was time – 12 years – and boy, it was a silly, wonderful time,” McHale said, “I could not believe I was making money making fun of reality shows.”

Thursday night, McHale returns to TV in the new CBS sitcom, “The Great Indoors.” He plays Jack Gordon, a well-respected adventure reporter tasked with managing a group of millennials in the digital department of a magazine. 

“Yes, this show makes fun of millennials and Gen X’ers. Everybody will get it,” McHale said.

Throughout his acting career, McHale has continued sharpening his stand-up skills. In 2014, he delivered some of his zingers at one of comedy’s most high-profile gigs – the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. 

“I’m a big fan of President Obama. I think he’s one of the all-time great presidents – definitely in the top 50,” McHale joked at the dinner.

“Is it the kind of thing that you’re just sort of glad to survive the next day?” Wax asked.

“Once I got going, I started to have a very good time. When you go after the Democrats, they don’t laugh. The Republicans laugh and vice versa, so people are like ‘Oh, oh, oh’ – a lot of that,” McHale said, making faces. “It’s like you’re on a roller coaster guys.”

“But is it true that you feel as sort of a fear that any given moment could end?” Wax asked.

“Fear? Yes. Even when I started making money, I still had that, ‘Well, what’s next?’ I always feel like acting or entertainment is one big hustle.”

If you want to learn more about the secrets to Joel McHale’s success, you can check out his new book, “Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be.” It’s part memoir and part self-help guide with, of course, a healthy dose of sarcasm.