‘Can you believe this is happening?’


Joel McHale said his new Fox sitcom, “Animal Control,” is a “different take” on the workplace comedy genre.

“I thought maybe someone did it, but they didn’t,” McHale, 51, told the Post. “I was like, ‘That’s a good sign that it looks like it could and should have been done.’ Let’s be the first to do it!’”

Airing Thursdays at 9 p.m., the sitcom follows the personal and professional lives of Frank (McHale) — a no-nonsense former police officer who works for animal control in Seattle — and his co-workers: friendly-but- forgetful ex-snowboarder Fred (Michael Rowland); party-girl Victoria (Grace Palmer); frazzled family man Amit (Ravi Patel); and their nervous and insecure boss Emily (Vella Lovell, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), whom Frank likes because he thinks she’s easy to manipulate.

Victoria (Grace Palmer), Frank (Joel McHale) and Amit (Ravi Patel) in “Animal Control”.
Bettina Strauss

Joel McHale stands among the ostriches.
Frank (Joel McHale) ruffles his feathers in “Animal Control.”
Sergei Bachlakov

“The cast is really an extraordinary group of actors. I’m really excited about them, and I hope the streak continues because they’re so awesome,” McHale said. “I have no doubt they are going to be big, big stars.”

McHale is no stranger to playing snark and/or eccentric characters. His resume includes the manipulative Jeff Winger on “Community,” a grifter on “Sons of Anarchy” and a ruthless, in-your-face chef on “The Bear.”

Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi in "community" Sitting around a table.
Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi in “Community.”
©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Frank (Joel McHale) with Fred (Michael Rowland). "Animal control" Walking down a sidewalk looking serious.
Frank (Joel McHale) with Fred (Michael Rowland) in “Animal Control”

“I’m very sarcastic, and now my two sons are very sarcastic, so it’s come back to haunt me in a big way,” she said. “That’s what I was asking for. So, I think that’s the part where I relate to Frank. I like characters that have some degree [morally grey]. It’s fun to play someone like that. He is someone who is deeply dissatisfied, and is trying to work on it.

In each episode of “Animal Control,” the team deals with a variety of critters, from foxes to ostriches. McHale said he found himself in his element.

“If you ask my wife, she was like, ‘This is really the right thing for you.’ I love animals, I have three dogs now, and we have a rabbit,” she said. “When I was younger, I worked at a Catholic CYO camp, and they had a horse camp part… For the summer, I was a wrangler-in-training and helped lead trail rides and water and saddle horses. . I am thrilled with that. And I’ve been hosting the Beastly Ball at the LA Zoo for the past five years. If my wife would let me, I would bring animals home every week. I am no longer allowed to … ”

Joel McHale stands in an office smiling and crossing his arms.
Frank (Joel McHale) in the office.
Sergei Bachlakov

Joel McHale is typing on a computer in an office.
Frank (Joel McHale) is set to work on “Animal Control.”
Sergei Bachlakov

“Animal Control” uses a mix of puppets, CGI and real animals. But even for a self-proclaimed animal lover like McHale, there were some furry co-workers that took some getting used to.

“I had never worked with a tarantula before,” he said. “And once I got over the initial ‘this is something I was nervous about,’ once I got to know her — her name is Gretchen — I fell in love.”

In addition to “Animal Control,” McHale hosts the Fox cooking competition series “Crime Scene Kitchen” and is also starring in and producing the movie “Community,” a revival of the cult show. is

“We plan to shoot it this summer,” McHale said. “I know the outline of the script [and] It is now on track to happen. The peacock has given us money. We’re still like ‘can you believe this is actually happening?’

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