Joel McHale, 41, began his career at the University of Washington, where he received a Master of Fine Arts from the Professional Actors Training Program. His early career included time spent in local theater groups in Seattle, as well as small parts in CSI: Miami and Will & Grace. Best known, today, as the host of The Soup, (a satirical show about television that airs on the E! network) and Jeff Winger on the NBC comedy series, Community, his film roles have included Spider-Man 2, The Informant!, and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. During a recent interview, he talked to WebMD the Magazine about his best and worst health habits, his son's open heart surgery, how he keeps his marriage alive, and his upcoming movie, Ted.
You star in two hit TV shows – NBC's Community and E!'s satirical The Soup. You've got a new movie, Ted, coming out this summer. How tough is it to balance career and family? Have you learned any strategies over the years?
I was having sex with a Dutch girl when my wife walked in. “What do you
think about this?” I asked.
“Um,” she said. “It’s a little weird.”
The Dutch girl wasn’t real. Well, not really real? She was an avatar
in Second Life, the online, 3D, digital world developed by San Francisco
company Linden Labs. But there was a real person on a computer somewhere in the
world making her avatar have sex with my avatar by clicking a pink ball on the
ground. I don’t know where the real user was located,...
Here's one strategy: Never sleep. That way you can get everything done. Seriously, though, at all times, I make time for the family, even though I'm not very organized about that. I take them with me on trips when I can. I try to get home to dinner every night, but it's really difficult to get home all the time. But that's how you get out of synch with your kids and find them saying when they finally see you, 'Oh, it's you. I remember you.' I try to keep a rhythm no matter how crazy it gets. I hurl myself at my family whenever I can.
Your first son, Eddie, had open heart surgery as a newborn. How did you and your wife make it through that frightening time?
He was born with two large holes in his heart. It was horrific; we couldn't believe it. But we just started dealing with it. There's nothing else you can do but proceed. One thing that was so hard was seeing this other family whose little boy died, just as Eddie was doing so great. Throughout the ward, there were all these kids who'd just had surgery, who had gone through things that a kid should never have to go through. It was a dark tunnel, but we came out the other end. For other parents, it's a tunnel that never ends.
What advice do you have for parents who find themselves faced with serious health issues with their children?
You have to dump your life into your child. You have to live for them. That's when you really have to be a parent and shower them with love, even if they are tiny and don't understand what's going on.