Joel McHale Brings His Smirk to Spirit Awards

Star of “Community” and host of “The Soup” to emcee Spirit Awards’ return to Santa Monica beach

The motor-mouthed British atheist didn’t work out very well.

Maybe the smirky American sitcom actor and TV host will.

Joel McHaleThe Film Independent Spirit Awards announced the host for its 26th annual show on Wednesday, and the gig has gone to Joel McHale, the star NBC’s “Community” and host of the long-running E! compendium of televised stupidity, “The Soup.”

McHale will be on hand as the Spirit Awards, after a year in downtown Los Angeles, return to their traditional time and location: a tent on Santa Monica Beach on the afternoon before the Oscars, February 26. The show will air that evening on IFC.

Last year’s Spirit Awards host, comic and actor Eddie Izzard, used much of his time onstage to mock organized religion, and seldom really connected with the audience.

Other past hosts include Rainn Wilson, Sarah Silverman, Steve Coogan, John Waters and Samuel L. Jackson.

McHale’s “quick wit, talent and charm makes him a perfect fit for our audiences,” said Film Independent executive director Dawn Hudson in the press release announcing his selection.

Added IFC’s executive vice president and general manager, Jennifer Caserta, “Joel’s unique brand of comedy is perfectly in line with IFC’s ‘slightly off’ sensibility.”

McHale’s upcoming films include “Spy Kids 4,” “What’s Your Number” with Anna Faris, and “The Big Year” with Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. According to the press release, he also majored in history at the University of Washington and played on the school’s football team.

Spirit Awards nominees will be announced on November 30.