×
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

  • Liza Koshy Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards

    How Nickelodeon Capitalizes on Social Media to Stay on Top of Kids' Campaigns

    When Nickelodeon’s green slime first oozed its way over talent’s heads 40 years ago on the acquisition Canadian series “You Can’t Do That on Television,” there was no way of knowing the stuff would transcend series and generations of children — let alone launch a festival. But green goop was just the beginning of the [...]

  • Grime Star Stormzy Joins Upcoming BBC

    Grime Star Stormzy Joins Roc Nation Exec Produced BBC Drama ‘Noughts & Crosses’

    “Noughts and Crosses” just added another musical heavy hitter with grime supremo Stormzy set to star in the adaptation of the Malorie Blackman novels for the BBC. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is already on board and will exec produce, as will Participant Media. Stormzy has an on-screen role and will play Kolawale, a newspaper editor and [...]

  • Cineflix Alum Launches New Banner Fugitive,

    Cineflix Alum Launches New Banner Fugitive, Tees Up Alex Gibney, Yolanda Ramke Shows

    Anthony Kimble, formerly of Cineflix, National Geographic, and Viacom’s Channel 5, has launched Fugitive and will develop, finance, and exec produce drama and unscripted TV through the new banner. Its first projects include “Uncanny Valley: The Truth About Thinking Machines,” which comes from producers Topic and Jigsaw. A series about A.I. and the future of [...]

  • Cineflix Rights Scoops Icelandic Political Series

    Cineflix Rights Scoops Icelandic Political Series 'The Minister'

    Cineflix Rights, a leading U.K. content distributor, has acquired “The Minister,” the anticipated political drama series headlined by Icelandic star Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”). Produced by the Icelandic company Sagafilm, “The Minister” centres on Benedikt Ríkhardsson (Ólafsson), a populist politician who becomes Iceland’s Prime Minister. However, Benedikt is suffering from [...]

  • WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make

    WGA Authorizing Managers, Lawyers to Make Deals if Agents are Fired

    The Writers Guild of America has authorized managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents — if the guild tells members to fire their agents on April 7. The guild’s negotiating committee notified members of the plans in a message Wednesday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents having made [...]

  • Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna'Jane

    Rachel Bloom on the 'Beautiful Mystery' of the 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Series Finale

    While four seasons of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” have explored musical genres from boy bands to country, the one type of music series co-creator and star Rachel Bloom admits the show will not explore before the end is Rebecca’s own style. “Basically the idea is that part of the music in her mind is her looking inside [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content