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Joel McHale: Building ‘Community’ of fans

Comedy Impact Report 2010: Tube Titans

I try to keep my busy-ness to a Seacrest-ian level,” Joel McHale jokes, though his work ethic is no understatement. The star of NBC’s “Community” and host of E!’s “The Soup” is also currently working weekends on “Spy Kids 4” and just finished a standup tour. “As an actor, 98% of your time is spent trying to get work, so I’m thrilled just to be able to work,” he says.

It’s paying dividends. “The Soup,” a clip show lampooning talkshows and reality TV, averages about a million viewers on slow Friday nights. And on claustrophobic Thursdays, “Community” draws 5 million eyeballs and a solid critical backing. The confluence helps sell his standup — a mixture of pop-culture riffs and personal stories. “I did (‘The Soup’) as a means to act,” he says. “Hollywood is a talent show, but also a popularity contest, and I wanted to get in the door to audition.”

The real measure of success, though, isn’t ratings or McHale’s breakneck pace: When he meets reality stars he’s mocked on “The Soup,” “Without exception, they ask to be on the show,” he says.

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