Joel McHale’s new talk show on Netflix, The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale, recalls his long-running stint on The Soup for several reasons, including the “genial snarkiness” of the Community alum. Naturally, everyone’s been asking McHale about the differences in the clip shows, as well as what Netflix has to offer compared to E!. In an interview with Variety, McHale contrasts the streaming company’s supportive yet hands-off approach to the input he got from his old network—namely, “Don’t talk about the Kardashians.”
Being on the same network as The Soup never meant that Keeping Up With The Kardashians and its spin-offs were off-limits for McHale and his writers, but neither did the latter go out of their way to mock reality TV’s most famous clan. McHale says the Kardashians ended up in segments like “Reality Show Clip Time!” because of their ubiquity. Apparently, this got to Kris Jenner, though, who complained to former E! Networks president Ted Harbert, who in turn asked the Soup writers to “lay off of [Jenner] for a week.”
But what started as the occasional admonition from the network president turned into a mandate after Harbert left E!. McHale says future input from the network was pretty straightforward: “Don’t make fun of the Kardashians. We don’t want you to make fun of the Kardashians anymore.” It was disappointing for The Soup gang, with McHale saying he initially worried “the show is doomed because that’s why the show worked, because we would make fun of ourselves. It’s like when Letterman made fun of GE in the ’80s. You have to bite the hand that feeds you.” Ultimately, the talk-show host says, “The network really did not like when the Kardashians first came out and then we just said Kim Kardashian was only famous for having a big a– and a sex tape.”
E! declined to comment to Variety on McHale’s quotes.