Sunday, June 7, 2009

Whatever happened to Joel Whatshisname?

Joel McHale from E's The Soup is branching into movies, TV sitcoms, and stand-up comedy. We have two words for him: Craig Kilborn.

Years after David Caruso left a hugely successful role on NYPD Blue to pursue a career in movies — a career with a trajectory that maps out just like a trap door over an alligator pit — Kilborn left a somewhat successful gig as host of the Late Late Show to do exactly the same thing: start a career in movies. He got tiny and forgettable parts in three or four mainstream Hollywood vehicles, and now he stars in that mundane saga on the Trivial Pursuit Network, known as Whatever Happened to Whatshisname?

Caruso is back, finally, as Horatio Caine on CSI Miami, best known for his bizarre line readings, humongous ego, and two body movements: shades on/shades off, and hands on hips/hands off hips. He's so awful, he's mesmerizing. McHale is doing great stuff on The Soup, but we get the sense that, unlike Caruso, if he tanks in the film/sitcom/standup expansion, the only comeback role he'll be able to get will be starring in the Craig Kilborn Story. Careful, Joel. Don't buy the house in Malibu just yet; rent it and see what happens.

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