New Jersey Stage

Monday, October 24, 2011

Comedian Joel McHale Comes to Monmouth University

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– Maybe you first noticed Joel McHale in his top-billed role on Community, the ensemble comedy series now in its third season on NBC. Portraying Jeff Winger — the disbarred attorney scrambling to get back in the game from the bottom-rung level of fictional Greendale Community College — the actor has hit just the right note as the smarmy, sarcastic (yet strangely sympathetic) ringleader of a motley study group of misfits.

Then again, you might have known Joel McHale from his long-running stint as host of the E! Channel's weekly clip show The Soup — a wild, often wickedly wisecracking vichysoisse collecting the "best" of the worst of TV in a YouTube world, in a manner that combines the sly snarkiness of Tosh.0 with the production values of the old Uncle Floyd Show.

While his leading-man looks and his six-foot-four-inch height might have fast-tracked him on a career as a local news anchor, McHale instead honed his satirical stuff in front of "tough room" audiences as an improv trouper — and his increased visibility on TV has led him to revisit his live comedy skills, as a stand-up comic who literally stands head and shoulders above the pack.  On the evening of Saturday, November 5, the Seattle native who's packed theaters from coast to coast returns to New Jersey, in his debut appearance at Monmouth University.  

For the 8:30 p.m. event, produced by Concerts East and AEG Live and presented by the Center for the Arts at Monmouth, the comedian takes the stage of the only venue on our West Long Branch campus that's big enough to contain him — the all-new MAC at Monmouth University. Since opening its gates two years ago, the multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena has been home court to Monmouth Hawks NCAA Basketball — and has hosted a series of sold-out concerts by top alternative rock and hip-hop acts, as well as Hall of Fame music legends Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne. In short, it's a far cry from the paintball-pelted auditorium of Greendale CC.

Mixing comedic bits that draw from his personal life (as a family-guy father of two) with anecdotes and observations that strafe the current darlings of popular culture (E! colleague Ryan Seacrest remains a perennial butt of the jokes), McHale performs a crowd-pleasing, energetic set for modern audiences; one that's simultaneously reference-savvy and candidly universal.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the MAC venue's box office opening for day-of-show ticket sales at 5:00 p.m. on November 5. To purchase tickets in advance, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. Patrons will be able to purchase up to 8 tickets for this event, and the parking lot will open at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the show, with a $10 parking fee per vehicle.