Joel McHale Talks 'X-Files' Revival, ESPY Hosting and Michael Eisner: "Clearly He's Wrong"
McHale chats with THR ahead of his ESPY Awards hosting gig about Caitlyn Jenner, performing for the President and the chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
Fair enough. Instead, we asked McHale about all things ESPY as well as (of course) his upcoming role opposite David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson on the The X-Files redo.
Congratulations on the hosting gig. How ready are you?
I’m unprepared and I’m not going to look at a single joke before I walk onstage. I’m just going to get drunk. No, there’s an enormous amount of material and it has to be honed down. As far as the jokes go, you really have five to eight minutes. Which sounds like a lot, but once you get out there and start doing it, its very little time. I want to hit as many big sporting stories as I can.
What are the big stories you want to hit?
We need to tell some World Cup jokes because that just happened. The [U.S. women] winning the World Cup is a huge story. The Triple Crown hasn’t happened in a long time, so that as well. I’m a huge Seahawks fan, so going to the Super Bowl and losing it in the final seconds is also on the list. LeBron James almost winning but losing was significant. But the world has run out of deflate gate jokes at this point.
You mentioned your team, the Seattle Seahawks. Have you recovered from that loss yet?
I’ve recovered as long as we don’t talk about it too long. Yes, I have great hopes for next year now that we have one of the best tight ends in the league in Jimmy Graham. We have a tremendous chance to get back to the Super Bowl. As a matter of fact, on this phone call right now I will guarantee that we will get back. You can guarantee that.
What’s more pressure — hosting The White House Correspondents Dinner or the ESPYs?
They are hard to compare, because I’ve already done the White House and once you’ve done that you’ll never be nervous again. With [the ESPYs] you do not have the added factor of the president and most powerful person in the world. So unless the president decides to stand up next to me during my monologue, I think I’ll be okay. But you do have world famous athletes sitting and staring at you. It’s not a crowd I’ve ever entertained before. It’s a different animal. It’s live on ABC and that’ll be a big audience, especially with Caitlyn Jenner being honored.
You’re on the X-Files reboot. What can you say about the new series?
I’m an alien and I kill both Mulder and Scully and it’s over. It happens in the first episode and the next five looks back on what happened. No, you can imagine how much I can say. I’m playing a conservative talk show host and it’s the time of my life. I loved that show growing up. Duchovny and Anderson have a chemistry that comes along once in a century. And it’s one of the best-written shows to ever exist.
I’m sure you heard what Michael Eisner said recently — basically that beautiful women who are funny are impossible to find. What do you think of his comments?
Clearly he’s wrong. To say that it’s really hard to find a beautiful woman who is funny is wrong. I do think that it’s hard to find movie stars in general. Think about the number of people who have come here and the number of people who’ve gotten shots. They give you a big movie to star in and think of how many of those people don’t make it. The list goes on and on. It’s hard to find bonafide movie stars. It’s very difficult to find someone who the entire world says, "We will watch you." Finding a superstar is so rare. I know so many insanely good actors who don’t work or they work a little. A Harrison Ford and a Sandra Bullock only come along once in a while — they are special, they are different and they have something that isn’t tangible.