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October 13, 2015

Joel McHale talks about The IT Crowd and the reality TV fat trend

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 17th 2009 11:03AM
Joel McHale of CommunityWith the much-anticipated premiere of Community finally bowing tonight, I figured it was a good time to pull out the interview I did with Joel McHale when I encountered him at the NBC party during the TCA press tour. I didn't talk to McHale about his current NBC show, however; I talked to him about his previous NBC show.

Fans of the British sitcom The IT Crowd may remember that an American pilot was shot and the show was announced for NBC's midseason schedule a couple of years back, with McHale playing Roy and Richard Ayoade bringing his breakout role of Moss over from the original. Only, the pilot never saw the light of day, and a series was never picked up.

I asked McHale about what caused the show to be dropped and if he has any regrets over the show's flame-out. Then, as a person standing in front of the host of The Soup would tend to do, I asked him about what in the reality TV landscape gets him charged up. Interview is after the jump.

What happened with The IT Crowd? Because it was ready to go on the schedule, and then it disappeared.

Well, what happened was, a regime change at NBC came in basically the same week that we got picked up. And we were kind of a vague mid-season replacement. So we didn't go to upfronts, there wasn't any sort of rollout. And it just kind of, it just kind of petered away in the summer and was kind of dead. Because they brought in other comedies that would've been in our time slot.

How much had you watched the original British show?
I hadn't watched it at all. I didn't even know about it. And then when I got the role, I began watching it. I was so pleased when Richard Ayoade, who is one of the funniest people on our planet, was cast in it.

Because he was cast in the same role, right?
Yes. And that is the only tragedy of that show not going. Because America will not see...I'm sure eventually they will...but would not see his genius.

Is the pilot anywhere to be seen?
Yeah, it's around.

It's on YouTube or around?
I think I could get you a copy. I'm not kidding.

I wouldn't mind seeing it.
(to his publicist) Can we send him an IT Crowd pilot...? You got it somewhere right? (back to me) But you know, ultimately, things work out the way they work out, and now I'm on this show. And I think this show is tremendous. And Dan Harmon, the writer, he's a genius. So I really, I'm very excited.

Despite your busy schedule, what reality shows are you're just really eager to not only watch, but get on The Soup and start ripping into?
The show that we ripped into this year was The Bachelorette.

That's an easy one to do, yeah.
Well, yes. But there's something, like with the Rock of Love Bus and then Flavor of Love, there's no pretense about those. Bret Michaels is pretty much like, "I'm getting together with groupies. If I happen to meet one I kinda like, I'm gonna stay with them for more than 10 minutes." (The Bachelor / Bachelorette) was like, "Will I find my true love?" I don't know if you will out of the 30 guys you're gonna try to date over two months.

When it's that sort of thing, I'm always so happy to hit it hard.

And of course, there's More to Love.
Yeah. Well, with More to Love and Dance Your Ass Off, oh Lord. How many shows... I feel like America's going to run out of large people.

Wasn't it ingenious to take a weight loss show and pair it up with a dancing show? No one ever thought of that before.
It's a little embarrassing.

And put them all in spandex and revealing outfits.
Oh my Lord. It's quite something. So we love taking those out.

But I also love the obscure shows like I Love Toy Trains. Or Dutch Oven. Or like fishing shows. I mean, just things you would only find when you can't sleep and you turn on your television. You're like "I've never even been on this channel." I turned into Andy Kaufman.

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Awww! Did you get the copy of it or what?! I wanna see it, man! I just want to see how Richard Ayoade would interact in the American environment and what kind of changes they would make.

November 05 2009 at 7:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Los Angeles Locksmith

Community does look really good! I am sad that i never did see the pilot of the US version, but it seems that there is a atrend lately of British -> US since the hit of The Office. I know Top Gear "America" was in production by NBC as well, but that got canned (thank god)... so maybe there is a new british invasion... but not by music, by TV!

September 17 2009 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I saw the pilot for "IT Crowd" and it was pretty terrible...but I'm happy to see they gave McHale another shot, "Community" looks great.

September 17 2009 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to MJL's comment

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