If there's one thing I love, it's news that makes fun of the news (hello and welcome back Last Week Tonight with John Oliver!). When The Soup with Joel McHale was canceled in 2015, my broken heart poured one out for the best pop culture commentators on television. Because sometimes, reality TV and celebrities are so outrageous that the jokes practically write themselves. While union regulations also played a role in why the show was canceled, they also got in trouble for biting the Kardashian hand that fed them.
"'Don’t make fun of the Kardashians. We don’t want you to make fun of the Kardashians anymore,'" McHale says to Variety, explaining a directive he received from higher-ups at E! McHale alleged that some of his jokes would leave Kris Jenner, well, less than amused. Because The Soup had the misfortune of sharing a network with Keeping Up With the Kardashians, jokes about Kris and her offspring, who are a huge money-making machine for E!, were a touchy subject. "So I was like, oh this show is doomed because that’s why the show worked, because we would make fun of ourselves."
The Soup, if you never part of its devoted fandom, was a revamp of Talk Soup, which shared a similar premise: McHale acts an anchor to lob jokes at the week's funniest moments in pop culture. No topic was safe: he regularly took shots at Ryan Seacrest, The Bachelor, and bloopers on local news broadcasts. Luckily, The Soup has been resurrected on Netflix as The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale. It follows a similar premise, but they aren't bound by the same restrictions as E! "We’re definitely having a tribute to Stranger Things in our first episode," he says.
McHale isn't the only content creator who is leaving traditional network television to join a streaming media company. David Letterman and Shonda Rimes have both partnered with Netflix, and it's easy to see why: they are offered a level of creative freedom that they can't have on broadcast TV. Is this the wave of the future? McHale seems to think so, seeing it as a cooler younger sibling in the media world. "Netflix is just wonderful. It’s just a whole other thing," he says. "There are no focus groups, they have great taste, they know exactly who’s watching and when they’re watching so there’s no guessing game [with research], so it’s been great."
Those darned celebs are always up to something, and we finally have the show that can make sense of it all for us. The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale airs weekly on Netflix, with new episodes dropping on Sunday night. You can watch the first episode now.