When it comes to anniversaries, people like a nice, round number like 500 — but 499 is pretty cool too, right?
The Soup is one week shy of show No. 500 (that’s more than nine years of Joel McHale in front of a green screen, for those keeping track), and for the big occasion, the E! show is going all the way live, for both an East Coast and West Coast airing. McHale and executive producer K.P. Anderson invited reporters to watch this week’s taping and talk about the big 5-0-0 (more on that next week, when the show goes live Wednesday, Aug. 21). But before you watch tonight’s episode, we went inside the studio for the penultimate party.
The Community star was nonstop during the taping, with commercial breaks used to improve jokes with the writers or just to warmly banter with the audience. We’ve compiled McHale’s best offscreen one-liners below:
When he first arrived on set and pulled a white cord out of his suit jacket pocket: “Today, someone’s gonna win an iPhone 5 charger!”
When introducing the rest of the crowd to the reporters: “Welcome to two rows of the press. Listen to their enthusiasm! Good thing we put them in the front! Pretend you’re just here to be entertained.”
When introducing special guest Shaq, promoting his upcoming truTV show Upload With Shaquille O’Neal: “Shaquille O’f—ing-Neal!”
When making small talk with Orlando resident Shaq: “Do you ever go to Disney World? It’s a great way to lose your children.”
When setting up for take No. 3: “Get ready to hear the jokes a third time. Third’s always funniest! … That’s right, critics: I tell jokes three times. The secrets of The Soup!”
After tripping over his words: “That’s on me. I take full responsibility. Take that out of my paycheck. Wait, I take that back. I don’t get paid. It’s just an exchange of pelts.”
After introducing a bit on Paula Deen: “Wonder what she’s doing these days? Probably just sadly burning a cross somewhere.”
After the stage manager joked “What’s Community?”: “It’s a Chevy Chase vehicle on NBC.”
Making small talk with the audience: “I was in Georgia yesterday.” (“The country?” a crowd member quipped.) “No, the lady.”
When saying goodbye to guest Adam Richman, host of Travel Channel’s Fandemonium: “Hope your show does better.”
When doing a bit with Soup fixture Dominic “Mankini” DeLeo: “We went to grade school together … where we killed some people.”
To a khaki-clad family who asked for a picture with him: “Did you guys go to a Land’s End outlet before this?”
The Soup‘s 499th episode airs tonight at 10 p.m. on E!; in addition to Shaq and Richman, the Bella twins and Natalya from E!’s Total Divas also stop by. The 500th episode of The Soup airs live at 10 p.m. ET/PT next Wednesday, Aug. 21.