×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale’ on Netflix

The comedian returns to a very familiar format in a 13-episode run of a weekly, timely, satirical clip show

With:
Joel McHale

To quote Joel McHale’s interview with Variety, the difference between E!’s now-defunct “The Soup,” which McHale hosted for over 10 years, and Netflix’s new “The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale,” which debuted Sunday, is as follows: “Nothing.” “What’s going to be different about it is that Netflix has really nice studios and catering,” McHale quipped, adding that the green screen behind him, used to project the reality and unscripted television clips that he then tells deadpan jokes about, is a “totally different” color, like a “forest green” instead of a “kelly green.” The premiere episode of the new Netflix show, which will air weekly for its current 13-episode order, doesn’t even attempt to transition viewers to the new show; instead McHale launches into his format from “The Soup,” with a knowing grin at the audience.

The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale,” like “The Soup,” is such a lazy cocktail party of a show — unerringly brilliant, but usually graceless — that it seems dated in 2018. With its bit-saturated format and weekly output, it seems like it should be a podcast (and indeed, there are many that have cropped up in the three years since “The Soup’s” cancellation). What distinguishes it is the snarky, superficial brand of postmodern commentary about reality show narratives and foreign soap operas’ recurring tropes, and it’s rewarding to see that again. But again and again, McHale reminds you that all the comedy the writing staff has to offer about these clips is barely elevated vulgarity. Almost every clip would be funnier if McHale just said nothing after airing it. In a bit from the premiere that must play well with teenage boys, McHale shows a clip from a South African soap opera, performed in Afrikaans, in order to marvel at the language’s word for child: “kunt.” McHale then takes full advantage of Netflix’s freedoms to repeat c*** several times. Because comedy.

There is still quite a bit of satisfaction to be found in the bizarre moments that make it to television, and viewers who like McHale’s style or “The Soup’s” brand of snark will find “The Joel McHale Show” a welcome return to form. The show tapes weekly, so there’s a nice recency to the material, and the show mocks Netflix with a lot of affection, in a poking way that feels like how “Saturday Night Live” makes fun of NBC. The clip show format is also easy to translate to other languages, which is an explicit priority for the streamer as it locks down its global markets. Presumably there is no accounting for taste in dozens of languages.

TV Review: 'The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale' on Netflix

Talk show, 13 episodes (1 reviewed): Netflix, Sun. Feb. 18. 30 min.

Crew: Executive producers, Joel McHale, Paul Feig, K.P. Anderson, Jessie Henderson, Brad Stevens, Boyd Vico

Cast: Joel McHale

More TV

  • Anthony Scaramucci to participate in the

    Anthony Scaramucci Light on Trump Talk in 'Celebrity Big Brother' Premiere

    CBS reality show “Big Brother” loves to tell its audience to “expect the unexpected,” but things went pretty much according to the assumed with Anthony Scaramucci on the second season premiere of the celebrity edition of the show. Right from his introductory package, Scaramucci had to acknowledge he was fired from the White House, “for [...]

  • 76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS --

    Tyler Perry: 6 Lessons He Shared at NATPE's 'Living the Dream' Summit

    MIAMI — Tyler Perry took time out of his “Madea’s Farewell” live stage tour and spent his Martin Luther King Jr. holiday giving an inspiring speech to aspiring producers and students gathered here for the annual NATPE convention. Perry was the keynoter Monday at the conference’s first ever “Living the Dream: A Career in Content” session [...]

  • Megan Mullally70th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals,

    Q&A: Why Megan Mullally Won't Talk Politics While Hosting the SAG Awards

    Megan Mullally is funny. The “Will & Grace” star can also sing and dance. While she’s not picking up the Oscar hosting gig after the Kevin Hart fiasco, Mullally will take center stage on Sunday, Jan. 27 when she makes her debut as the host of the 25th annual SAG Awards. Variety caught up with [...]

  • New England Patriots running back Sony

    CBS and Fox Cheer Big Turnout for NFL Conference Championships

    Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games were nail-biters that went into overtime and sent viewership into overdrive. CBS harvested a whopping 53.9 million viewers as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led his team to their third consecutive Super Bowl berth in a hard-fought primetime game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Viewership for the AFC [...]

  • RENT: Top L-R to Bottom L-R:

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Jan. 21, 2019: 'Rent,' 'Celebrity Big Brother'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Rent: Live” airs on Fox and “Celebrity Big Brother” returns for a second [...]

  • Black Monday: How Showtime Dusted Off

    'Black Monday': How Showtime Dusted Off An Old '80s Logo For Its New Comedy

    Cocaine’s a hell of a drug, but you’re not seeing things: That, indeed is Showtime’s old 1980s-era logo pasted all over marketing materials and promos for “Black Monday,” a tongue-in-cheek tale of the excesses exhibited by Wall Street traders in the lead-up to the stock market crash of 1987. The logo, which hasn’t been in [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Review

    TV Review: 'Russian Doll'

    This is a particularly tricky review to write, but not because the merits of “Russian Doll” are at all ambiguous. On the contrary, the show is so striking and smart that I made a note to include it on my favorite TV shows of 2019 immediately after blowing through the season — which is saying [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content