Checking In…with the Hosts of Talk Soup

Starting today, you can see Joel McHale earning a paycheck in the literally diaper-smelling Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World. Just kidding, Joel — I love you dearly, because you play Jeff Winger on Community, make fun of celebrities who deserve ridicule, and were in an episode of Pushing Daisies, and anyone who appeared on Pushing Daisies is good in my book. You are also the host of the always-excellent The Soup, which seems like it’s been on E! since the beginning of time. But lo and behold, there exists a pre-Soup era, one now referred to as the Talk Soup age. And over its 11 seasons on the air, Talk Soup had four McHale-like hosts. Let’s see what they’re doing and who they’re voicing today.

Greg Kinnear (1991-1995)

The second longest-lasting of the Talk Soup hosts (and the only to win a Daytime Emmy), Greg Kinnear is also the most recognizable to a mainstream audience, who have likely seen him in As Good As It Gets (in which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards), Mystery Men (as Captain Amazing), and Best Picture-nominee Little Miss Sunshine. Other well-known movies he’s appeared in include You’ve Got Mail, Nurse Betty, and We Were Soldiers. Kinnear’s less recognizable as the host of Later, a late-night talk show that previously had been helmed by Bob Costas. He recently played JFK for The Kennedys, which aired on ReelzChannel, and can next be seen in I Don’t Know How She Does It, which opens on September 16 and also stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, and Christina Hendricks.

John Henson (1995-1999)

Nope, he’s not related to the guy who was the focus of last’s week column; John Henson’s actually the host of ABC’s Wipeout, a show that should be so much worse than it is. It’s like Family Double Dare meets Japan! Henson, the longest running of the Talk Soup hosts (with over 1,000 episodes to his name), had his own variety show, The John Henson Project, on Spike TV in 2004; occasionally guest hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; and is producing Making Jack Falcone, a film based on the hit book about an undercover FBI agent. He can be seen in the music video for blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” Also, according to an unverified Wikipedia statement, “Henson was born with a white streak of hair on the right side of his head. As a result he received the nickname Skunk Boy while hosting Talk Soup.”

Hal Sparks (1999-2000)

He’s more than just the guy who made snarky comments on Talk Soup and VH1 specials (although he does that a lot, too). Hal Sparks also played Michael Novotny on Showtime’s Queer as Folk, which aired for five seasons beginning in 2000; regularly fills in for Stephanie Miller on her Radio Show; and has his own band, ZERO 1. Sparks appeared in Spider-Man 2 and Mike Judge’s Extract, voiced the titular character for Nickelodeon’s Tak and the Power of Juju, and in 2012, will star in Disney’s new TV show Lab Rats, created by Chris Peterson and Bryan Moore of That ‘70’s Show fame. He continues to tour the world, performing stand-up. Here he is in the music video for a cover of “Beat It” by Fall Out Boy.

Aisha Tyler (2001-2002)

Aisha Tyler is known for many things: Her podcast, Girl on Guy, one of iTunes’ most popular comedy ‘casts. Her 2009 comedy special, Aisha Tyler: Is Lit: Live at the Fillmore. Her role as Charlie Wheeler, Ross’s paleontology professor girlfriend, on Friends (according to Tyler’s website, she was the first African-American to have an extended story arc on the show). Her role as Kazaam’s, er, Shaq’s girlfriend in the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, “Shaq.” Not to mention her recurring appearances on 24, CSI, and Ghost Whisperer, or her book (Swerve), video game voice acting work (Halo: Reach), or all her various charities. But my all-time number one favorite ever thing Tyler’s ever done will begin airing on FX again on September 15, 2011.

Yup (or should that be “nope”?), she’s the voice of Agent Lana Kane on Archer, and she does a remarkable job, something that can’t always be said for the straight (wo)man character. I could quote Lana all day, so let’s just go with one for now: “Well, if your aunt had balls, she’d be your uncle.”

Josh Kurp really likes Archer.

Checking In…with the Hosts of Talk Soup