Interview: Joel McHale

The Community man is working like a dog for his army of fans---somebody get him a $10 massage!

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  • Photograph: Celeste Canino; Groomer: Pamela Lliubo-OBrien; Stylist: Jose Camilo; Hair stylist: Jade Perry

    Joel McHale

    Joel McHale

  • Photograph: Celeste Canino; Groomer: Pamela Lliubo-OBrien; Stylist: Jose Camilo; Hair stylist: Jade Perry

    Joel McHale

    Joel McHale

  • Photograph: Celeste Canino; Groomer: Pamela Lliubo-OBrien; Stylist: Jose Camilo; Hair stylist: Jade Perry

    Joel McHale

    Joel McHale

  • Photograph: Celeste Canino; Groomer: Pamela Lliubo-OBrien; Stylist: Jose Camilo; Hair stylist: Jade Perry

    Joel McHale

    Joel McHale

Photograph: Celeste Canino; Groomer: Pamela Lliubo-OBrien; Stylist: Jose Camilo; Hair stylist: Jade Perry

Joel McHale

Joel McHale

The acerbic host of TV-recap show The Soup returns as Jeff Winger in college sitcom Community this fall. Who better than the alpha student to pick his favorite cheap thrill?

Have you spent much time in New York?
My first trip to New York was in '77 or '78, when I was a really small kid. I always liked to buy rip-off sunglasses. In the last six years I probably [come] to New York four to eight times a year. I like going to McSorley's. I do four glasses—a round of the light and a round of the dark. I like riding the Staten Island Ferry, you can see the Statue of Liberty and the city—it's pretty cool. New York is my favorite city in the world.

More so than Los Angeles?
Even when you're in the middle of [L.A.], you can be insulated. But in New York, you step out on to the street and you are a part of it. It's like plugging into a huge computer.

You're instantly enveloped by the smell of hot trash.
Yeah, you're like, Is that urine? Is it feces? Is it a corpse? I don't know and I don't care.

What else do you like to do here?
I like FIKA Coffee. There are two locations, it's a Swedish coffee company. It is one of the best. And now in the Ace Hotel you guys have Stumptown coffee from Portland, Oregon. That's not an activity, really. I just basically described where to drink coffee and booze.

When was the last time you spent a mere $10 on something?
Like, 25 years ago. Well, I'm going to say almost daily. Coffee is under $10. Though some places would charge you more than that now.

Did any of TONY's $10 suggestions appeal to you?
I'd like to go to the Green Tea Spa (240 E 28th St between Second and Third Aves; 212-683-4048, greenteabeautyspa.com; Daily 10:30am--10pm; $10). A ten-minute massage for $10? You bet.

Are you stressed?
This week, we're so busy [that] we have to start taping The Soup Friday morning at 8am and we'll probably work until five [the next] morning on Community. That's a good problem to have: I don't get to sleep because people are employing me to do what I love. It's not like I'm a soldier or doing a real job.

How does Community's new season differ from previous ones?
John Goodman and Michael K. Williams [have joined the cast], so they are this new presence—the new antagonists of the show. Both of them are freaking terrific actors. Goodman is one of the best there is. I met him in a makeup trailer and blasted him with questions.

Goodman plays the dean of the [Greendale] air-conditioning school.
Yes, it turns out to be the only really profitable part of the school, which means he has the power. His character is amazing, I cannot wait for everyone to see it.

I'm hoping he'll reprise his role as the football coach in Revenge of the Nerds.
Wow, that's going back. No, he is not reprising that, [his character is] much more sinister.

How has Chevy Chase taken to Goodman? I have a mental image of Chase marking his territory—urinating on trailers.
They haven't been in the same scene yet, so I'll let you know when that happens. [But] I would watch out because John looks to be younger and faster.

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