"It's Time for a Female Voice": Meet the New Host of 'The Soup'

Jade Catta-Preta takes over for Joel McHale and joins a club that has also included Greg Kinnear, John Henson, Hal Sparks and Aisha Tyler at the E! pop culture talk show.
Evans Vestal Ward/NBCUniversal
Jade Catta-Preta

Jade Catta-Preta is ready to deliver her take on pop culture.

The stand-up comedian and actress is adding host to her résumé as she takes over E!'s pop culture talk show The Soup some three years after the NBCUniversal-owned cable network ended its Joel McHale-fronted incarnation.

The Brazil-born comedian, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, says she grew up watching shows like The Soup, which helped her learn English after she moved to the U.S. at the age of 12. Catta-Preta also isn't afraid to bite the hand that feeds her and plans to test her limitations and take on popular E! franchises like the Kardashians as she joins a club of Soup hosts that has included Greg Kinnear, John Henson, Hal Sparks and Aisha Tyler.

Still, the openly pansexual comedian says she hopes viewers can see a version of themselves in her and her comedy as she looks to keep things relatable while also staying present and not worrying about E!'s track record of talk show cancellations that have included similar programs from the likes of Busy Philipps and Chelsea Handler. Read on for more from the @midnight and Girl Code alum.

What does taking over The Soup mean to you?

It's been crazy because I was a fan of the show since I was a little kid. I moved from Brazil when I was 12 and TV was a big reason as to why I speak English now. I watched a lot of TV growing up. It's big shoes to fill and people are like, "Where the fuck is Joel?!" But it's time for a female voice. And there's so much stuff out there, and I love it all. I think I'm the right person for it this time.

What do you bring to it that's different than your predecessors and how do you plan on making The Soup your own?

I think a lot of the guys looked down on the material and I look up to it. I'm a fan. I love the Kardashians. There can't be enough reality TV for me. Love Island UK, I'm buzzing.

The Globes ads were you in TV costumes. Is your take more pop culture focused as opposed to celebrity?

I don't think it was ever celebrity focused. It was always based on TV clips. First, it used to be Talk Soup, because they only made fun of morning talk shows. And now we have so much more to make fun of: social media, reality TV shows, scripted stuff that is just gold out there — The CW stuff has been really good for us. There's a movie called Ghosting, too good! We are trying to touch on everything that's out there — we want to make fun of it.

What are you particularly interested in?

I went to Bravo-Con and that was very exciting. I love Bravo, the Housewives series, The Bachelor, I watch the Kardashians. I love Botched, 90 Day Fiancé, which is one of my favorites. My 600-Pound Life and anything on TLC, really, has been good for us.

Will you bite the hand that feeds you and take on NBCUniversal-owned fare?

There's a fine line. We can't pull up things that they probably don't want to hear about but you have to be able to make fun of yourself.

I mean, NBC has a show called Lincoln Rhyme: The Hunt for the Bone Collector, whose porn parody title is pretty much right there waiting for someone. Would you take a stab at that?

Absolutely. Nothing is safe. Of course, there's lines we can't cross.

How do you determine what that line is?

I don't. Somebody calls down and says, "You can't do that joke." I try to always push the envelope. My comedy tends to be on the blue-er side. It's finding that medium where we don't offend too many people but we still push the envelope a little bit.

What kind of lead time to you have?

We're on Wednesdays and we're hoping to help viewers through the hump of the week. It gives us enough stuff from the week — the weekend plus Monday and Tuesday — to touch on. We want to be curated and be the first to touch on something. We tape early Wednesdays, like at 7 a.m., and turn in by like 3 p.m. And then I'm on the road touring with my stand-up every weekend following that.

How does your stand-up background prepare you for your first hosting gig?

I come from a stand-up background and a lot of the hosts got into stand-up after doing The Soup.  I have an idea of who I am [in comedy], which is helpful.

There are few women — NBC's Lilly Singh and TBS' Samantha Bee among them — in the late-night space. What do you think of the landscape as it is now?

It's been hard with Lilly because it's her first time ever doing something like that and she has to carry it on her own and that format is live and different than a YouTube video that's edited. I'm happy to have the stand-up background I have; I've performed in front of a lot of drunk people late at night and that's gotten me ready for whatever is ahead of us. I'm excited to be one of the first women doing this. Aisha Tyler did it but it was a long time ago.

Busy Philipps and Chelsea Handler each previously hosted similar shows on E! — and Busy Tonight didn't end so well. Do you feel nervous about The Soup's long-term prospects given the short life of Busy Tonight?

I don't. I feel like it's the right timing. Everything I've ever done has gotten me ready for this. I'm excited. I don't get too stuck on the what-if's.

Critics loved Busy's show, she had clips that went viral and a lot of great and timely segments. Do you feel a sense of trepidation being on a network that would cancel that show so quickly?

I feel like they've put a lot of effort into The Soup and I feel like the network is really behind me. They've given me a lot of resources to work with. I feel really supported.

Have you spoken with Busy?

I don't know her personally but I saw she aired all that stuff. People's experiences are different. Mine, so far, has been really cool. I've had a lot of failed shows leading up to this. This was going to be my 17th pilot. So to have something go and already have this many episodes, I'm excited about making it the best that I can versus thinking about the what-if's.

Are you concerned about disrupting Hollywood with anything you might do next?

You have to piss people off a little bit if you want them to notice. And there have been a lot of people upset about Joel not being on the show anymore. They just have to give it a chance. If people don't hate you or love you, you're doing something wrong. We don't have time for the in-betweeners, there's too much crazy shit.

How much of your sexuality will you share with viewers on The Soup?

I'm very open about my sexuality. In my stand-up and my everyday life. I hope to put a voice out there. Lilly is one of the few that I can even think of that does a late-night setup, and there's always Ellen. I just want the show to be fun and good and people to take a break from all the crazy shit that's happening in the world. I don't want to overthink it. I just want to make it a funny show.

Yes, but to be able to be who you are and have viewers turn on the show and see a version of themselves...

Yes, I want people to relate, obviously. But I really just want them to laugh.  

The Soup premieres Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 10 p.m. on E!.