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Joel McHale Says E! Asked Him to ‘Lay Off’ Kardashian Jokes on ‘The Soup’

Joel McHale Kardashian Jokes The Soup
Joel McHale discusses "The Joel McHale Show" with the Build Series at Build Studio on February 8, 2018 in New York City.Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

During its 12-year run, The Soup was one of the most successful shows on E! with host Joel McHale making fun of nearly every show on television. However, one show was tougher to mock than others: Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Related: The Kardashian Family: Get to Know the Next Generation

“When [former E! Networks President] Ted Harbert got in there, he basically said the sky is the limit and do what you want to do,” McHale, 46, told Variety about the show’s beginning in 2004. “Way back when, Kris Kardashian would complain about our jokes, and Ted would literally go, ‘Hey man, Kris called, can you just lay off of her for a week?’ It was like our softball went into our yard and they were like, ‘Just don’t throw it over the fence.’ So that was cool and that’s as far as it went with him, but when he left, things changed and they definitely had a different feeling.”

The Community star then realized a major change. “The next administration, the president said to my face, ‘Don’t make fun of the Kardashians. We don’t want you to make fun of the Kardashians anymore.’ So I was like, oh this show is doomed because that’s why the show worked, because we would make fun of ourselves,” he explained. “It’s like when [David] Letterman made fun of GE in the ‘80s. You have to bite the hand that feeds you. 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 ass and a sex tape.”

Khloe Kardashian Kourtney Kardashian Kim Kardashian Kris Jenner Kylie Jenner
Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Kylie Jenner arrive at Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 50th Birthday Celebration at Ysabel on October 12, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. BACKGRID

Related: Kim Kardashian's Best Booty Moments

McHale is now the host of The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale, which launched on Netflix on Sunday, February 18. This time around, nothing is off limits. Since the show is week-to-week, he admits he may be bringing up the famous reality TV family again.

“If the clips are good and engaging, absolutely, we will cover them. Even on The Soup, if we didn’t have a good Kardashian clip, we wouldn’t just do it. So I don’t know. It could be a lot and it could be very little,” he explained. “There is more reality programming on right now than there was television in 2012. It’s not a thing where I’m like, ‘Finally, I get to say what I want to say about the Kardashians!’”

Related: Kim Kardashian's Most NSFW Selfies

McHale also said he considers himself “a tiny little pilot fish on a huge whale shark that is the Kardashian empire,” so he doesn’t think they worry about him. “They probably saw a bloated Paul Bettany somewhere and thought it was me — not that Paul Bettany is bloated,” McHale added.

The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale is streaming now on Netflix.

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