Joel McHale Can Make Fun of the Kardashians and Jenners as Much as He Wants (If He Wants) on New Netflix Show

Joel McHale bid adieu to The Soup in 2015 after it was given the boot by E!. The talk-show host used to offer a satirical take on current events in pop culture. Three years later, McHale returns to that world with The Joel McHale Show, a project Netflix described as a place where “trending news, pop culture, social media, original sketches and more come together.”

McHale, 46, had always anticipated his return to talk-show hosting after a regime change at E! Entertainment resulted in The Soup’s end. He was no longer able to poke fun at the Kar-Jenners or the E! network, something late-night hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien often do. Former E! star Chelsea Handler concluded her show in 2014 due to the network’s association with the reality family. Like Handler, McHale moved to Netflix. Some reviewers suggested his new show was “The Soup 2.0.” Both shows share similarities, but McHale can do his new project how he sees fit.

On The Joel McHale Show, McHale once again is an executive producer and a writer. He has swapped his suits on The Soup for casual sweaters. If he drops an F-bomb or other expletives, he can do so without being bleeped out. He said he’s been given more creative freedom to make the show he desires, courtesy of Netflix.

“We knew we wanted to be on a streaming service, and Netflix gave us the best offer. Then we were off and running. They bought it, and it all came together,” McHale told Newsweek. “Believe me, it usually doesn’t go that smoothly. But again, it’s Netflix. It’s a new frontier.”

McHale’s show won’t cover serious topics, but while it aims to focus on material that “tickles,” no topics are off-limits. The Joel McHale Show primarily discusses reality television programs such as Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor. Subject matter featured on YouTube and Twitch are on the table as well. However, McHale said he enjoyed featuring clips that were more “obscure,” including a standout moments in local occurrences.

“Content-wise, they didn’t care what we did,” McHale said of Netflix. “They liked having it broader, as far as the clips [were concerned]. E! was all about entertainment clips and sports clips. [They] didn’t like international stuff. Here, they’re like, ‘Do it all.’” 

Netflix’s openness to various forms of content allows McHale to mock the Kardashian-Jenners once again, only if he so chooses. He elaborated on E!’s decision to halt discussion of the reality family, saying, “They asked us to stop making fun of the Kardashians, to which I thought, ‘Oh, we’re not going to be around much longer if that’s how they’re going to censor us.’”

McHale has a few more projects underway. He’s starring in Assassination Nation, a Sundance Film Festival flick that is a grave departure from his comedic past. He returns to his roots in August with Melissa McCarthy’s The Happytime Murders. McHale described it as “the dirtiest puppet movie.”

Fans of his NBC-turn-Yahoo! Screen series Community are likely questioning the possibility of a reunion. McHale, who brought former castmates Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs on his Netflix show as guests, said an all-cast reunion wasn’t impossible, noting “it’d be great, but...we’ll see.”

“Just talk to Donald [Glover]. His career has tanked. It’s no good now... Nothing’s worked out for him,” McHale joked about his former Community co-star. “Oh, that’s right. He’s the biggest person on the planet!”

Season 1 of The Joel McHale Show is now streaming on Netflix.

Joel McHale Joel McHale attends the 21st annual Webby Awards in New York City on May 15, 2017. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Webby Awards