Joel McHale joined NPR’s Terry Gross on Fresh Air earlier this week for a wide-ranging interview that covered everything from his youth to his gig hosting this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner to all his various TV/film projects (The Soup, Community, the new creepy action film Deliver Us From Evil). The most interesting part, however, was his discussion about being “pretty dyslexic” and how he’s dealt with it both in school…
I do have a very similar trait to [my] character [on Community] in that I cheated my way through high school and college. … I am pretty dyslexic, so I never could really read. I did terrible on my SATs. I couldn’t read the way that other students read, so I would just cheat, which in my silly brain, I was like, “This is a skill that I’m developing — how to just get around everything!”
… and as the host of a television show that requires him to, like, read a teleprompter.
There [are] all these live shows I’m doing with The Soup now, and I’m reading [a] teleprompter the whole time, and people wanted to promote [the show] by saying, “Anything could go wrong!” That’s what the E! executives wanted, and I was like, “No, no, no! Just tell them I’m dyslexic. That should raise the stakes enough.”
So I really have to concentrate. It might not look like I’m concentrating and I’m just screwing around, but I really do have to concentrate while I’m reading. And half of the time I’m getting it wrong, but you can’t tell because I’m just making up different words for it. It’s smoke and mirrors.
And speaking of The Soup, there’s also this, which I recommend printing out and showing to your mom, especially if you are a garbage-television-loving teenager and/or grown adult who still lives with his or her parents.
Now I tell my mom, I go, “Mom, you know when I was a kid and you told me to turn off the television and go outside and play?” I’d be like, “You literally were hurting my career when you did that. You literally stopped me from doing now, what I do for a living.”
See? There you go. Now that weekend Franklin & Bash marathon you were planning is totally justified. You’re welcome.