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Still, the comedian says fans can expect it to be as funny and sharp as before: "Nobody's safe ... [if] it's funny, and it makes us laugh, it's on the show."

By Rachel Yang
February 11, 2020 at 09:00 AM EST
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The Soup - Season 2019
Credit: Casey Durkin/E! Entertainment
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Joel McHale’s The Soup was a pop-culture snarker’s dream. Each week, from 2004 to 2015, the comedian skewered all things entertainment in his sardonic style on E!

But in the short time since the program went off the air, it seems like the amount of news and content have tripled. Vine died. This Is Us became a TV phenomenon. Donald Trump was elected. #MeToo happened. Representation in Hollywood … sorta-but-not-really improved.

It makes sense that a different media landscape calls for a different kind ofSoup. Enter Jade Catta-Preta, the new host of the revamped show, which premieres this Wednesday. While she was a fan of the series and its previous formats like Talk Soup, the Brazil-born standup comic told EW she felt the show’s voice was often “bro-y” and looked down on entertainment. As a woman from an immigrant background who genuinely adores pop culture, she told EW she wants her various perspectives to shine through. So take McHale’s The Soup, remove some of the salt, add in Real Housewives and TikTok references, and you’ll have Catta-Preta’s new recipe.

Read more of EW’s chat with the host below:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Can you walk me through the format of the show?
JADE CATTA-PRETA: We’ve stayed true to the format because I think that’s what people love. It can’t feel overproduced. So we still have a green screen. It’s sort of the second character on the show. But we are working with two cameras just because we wanted to differentiate when we’re talking about social media stuff versus all the other stuff, just so it lives in a different universe. And also, when people watch it digitally that can look a little different. So we’re working with two cameras, a monitor, and a green screen. And then you can see the set every once in a while but we’ll probably be in the green screen for most of the time.

Were you a fan of Joel McHale’s The Soup or previous incarnations? Did you take away anything from your predecessors?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve been a fan since the ’90s. I was a big TV watcher as a kid and it stayed with me. I was a nerd as a kid too. A lot of what I learned was from TV, I didn’t speak English. I was ESL, and a lot of my English is from that. Everybody thinks I’m a Jewish person from New York because I watched Fran Drescher and Howard Stern too much as a kid. So I would say that a lot of my influence came from TV and one of my favorite [The Soup] hosts was John Henson. He’s the one that I mostly related to just because he was like, such a goofy, sweet guy. And I want to come across that similar way, where a lot of the jokes are about me and not as much about making fun of the clips.

I remember in one of the promos, it said the updated show is going to be “less salt, more flavor.” So does that mean that the show is straying away from the snarkiness that it was known for?
Yeah, I think that for a long time, it was like a little bit bro-y, you know, which was [Joel’s] style and I loved and I think that people really, really loved. But I think it’s just a different time and different people want to relate to the show. For a long time, before I did stand up, I would go to these comedy shows, and every joke was putting down women and I would heckle. And so I just hope to bring in people that never felt like they had had a voice.

I’m a woman. I’m gay on a good day. I’m an immigrant and I want those people that watched the show before and didn’t feel like it was relatable to them to have a voice and I just want it to feel like you’re watching it and it’s a friend making fun of stuff that you would make fun of.

Does that mean that you’re going to call out bros from time to time?
Yes, definitely that. They had like the whole “chicks, dude” kind of thing and we have our own version of it. So I’m very excited to highlight the dumbest dudes of the week, every week. But you know, making fun of everything and nothing is safe, and we’re still going to be making jokes. Just because we’re not as snarky doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be funny. What we’re trying to relay is that I’m a fan of this stuff, so instead of looking down on it, I’m looking up at it. And I want to feel like I’m part of this universe. Like you might even see me on a clip or I’m in the reality show or some people from the show might be coming through and there might be some sketches, and we just want to create this whole universe for people who really love this stuff.

What kind of news or content are you going to be talking about?
Nobody’s safe. More than ever, we have a lot more to pull from. Originally the show was called Talk Soup because all they had was talk shows. And now we have talk shows, we have scripted stuff, we have judge shows, we have TikTok, which is its own category. There’s definitely some Hallmark that we’ve gotten. There was a movie called Christmas a la Mode that we made fun of on the test show that was just * chef’s kiss* Can’t get any better. Also, Lifetime has been great. And the CW.

Our writers, this whole time, we’ve just been trying to figure it out. And so there’s so much more to cover now. And people are such fans of reality shows now in a way that they weren’t before. And so I think we just want to do it justice and if it’s funny, and it makes us laugh, it’s on the show.

How much of a hand do you have in picking out the content that you talk about or jokes you make on the show?
I’m fully in the process, from picking the showrunner, I’m in the writers’ room every day. I really want it to feel like it’s my point of view. I’ve been doing stand up — it’s gonna be my 12-year anniversary in a couple weeks, and I want it to feel like it’s something I would say on my own regard like in a stand-up show. I want it to feel like it’s just a friend that you’re having fun with laughing at stuff.

Why do you think you’re the right person to pick up the mantle and host The Soup?
I feel like it can’t be more of a fitting job. I’m not only a TV addict — I love talking about this stuff. This is what I’m doing, regardless if I’m on the show or not, but also just bringing in every aspect of things that I’ve practiced over time. I get to tell jokes, I get to act, and I get to host all at the same time. So it’s just bringing in all the grinds into one — oh my God, might I say soup? Oh, wow. I brought it around. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of tea. I’m sorry.

I read that Lisa Rinna was your dream guest — I take it you’re a reality TV/Real Housewives fan?
I love all the housewives. I’ve slowly met a few of them now and I’ve been on the road with Countess Luanne for a couple of her cabarets. I want that line of the universe to be crossed. Like in a way that hasn’t been done on the show. They would have clips and stuff, but I just want to feel like I’m really, really involved within that universe. Like when I went to BravoCon. I couldn’t believe that it was happening. I was like, is this for me? Was this curated for me? And I want people who love those shows to feel that way every time they watch it.

For people who were loyal to McHale’s The Soup and might be skeptical about the shaken up version, what would you say to change their mind?
I would say, change is hard, and I totally get it. But you know what? Hold my hand. Let’s go. Let’s do this together. You can still watch the old clips if you want to, but why not watch some new stuff that’s a little more relevant to what’s going on now?

I just hope people tune in and they have an open mind. The show was great in the past; let it have an evolution… I think we all kind of need it. It’s a place for people to have escape from everything that’s going on in the world.

The Soup returns to E! on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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The Soup

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