Watch Joel McHale And Bear Grylls Scale Canyons In A Clip From ‘Running Wild’

The more sanitized society becomes, the more our innate, ancient hunger for the unpredictable, the uncertain, and the wild becomes and the more appealing it is, even if it’s just to watch it on the TV… I think it’s pretty universal for people to want to know what would happen if they’re tested. Where would they be if it was all taken away from them?

-Bear Grylls speaking to Uproxx’s Steve Bramucci

There’s a great moment in tonight’s episode of Bear Grylls’ celebrity survival show, Running Wild, that captures the program’s concept perfectly. Joel McHale is slowly making his way up a canyon wall in an Arizona slot canyon when we catch a glimpse of him as we’ve never seen him before. For once in all his time on television, the man is quiet. All the snarkiness we know, love, and expect from the former host of The Soup and the man who gave us Community‘s Jeff Winger is completely gone.

Instead, McHale is exhausted, arms completely taxed, no quips or comebacks, just heavy breathing, and a mild freak out about whether or not his rope is jammed. Bear looks down and offers some tips before taking in the view of the canyon below them, “Look at the height down here!”

Joel, still struggling, peers down, “Dear God. Wow, thank you, lord. Welcome to the greatest moment of my life!”

Running Wild is all about chasing that moment. It’s what Bear has been focused on for five seasons now — the moment when his famous friends are humbled by the beauty and challenge that comes from true adventure and pushing the limits of their bodies and minds. Along the way, the series manages to humanize the celebrities Bear brings along for the journey, from Brie Larson to Channing Tatum. No matter how badass they are on screen, they still don’t manage to stay perfectly composed when real danger is present.

In the exclusive clip above, we see the beginning of Joel and Bear’s journey as they repel down into a canyon. Here, Joel is in high spirits, cracking jokes about his role in the movie Ted. It quickly becomes obvious Bear hasn’t seen Ted — when would he have? While he was diving into Arctic snowscapes from helicopters? Braving desert islands and living off bugs? Before or after teaching us… something by drinking his own urine?

This is the push and pull the show offers: Bear may be in his element when he’s hanging from canyon walls, but throw Joel McHale into the mix and suddenly it’s Bear who is dealing with the unfamiliar ground. It’s Bear who has to try to keep up and riff with a master of the quip. These contrasts in personality and persona are exactly what make Running Wild compelling television.


Running Wild airs Tuesdays at 10/9 C on National Geographic and is available to stream on Disney+ now.