During its original run as Talk Soup from 1991 to 2002, the daily send-up of talk shows of the era saw a range of hosts including Greg Kinnear, John Henson, Hal Sparks, and Aisha Tyler. The show rebranded as just The Soup in 2004, with Joel McHale setting the tone for the show’s revamp—not to mention serving as the franchise’s longest-running host at 11 years.
Now the ladle, so to speak, is being passed to stand-up comic and actress Jade Catta-Preta.
“I can’t believe this is my job now. Like, I’m getting paid to watch all this reality TV?” Catta-Preta says. “I’m such a huge fan of it, but it’s also in my stand-up. I do a lot of act-outs and character work. So it just lives in that universe for me.”
Catta-Preta has performed stand-up across Los Angeles, New York, and her home country of Brazil, and she’s landed roles on such TV shows as Californication, Modern Family, and The Jim Gaffigan Show. She appeared on E!’s radar having done a pilot with them last year (a social-media panel show with Nick Cannon that’s currently being shopped around), as well as red carpet and -head appearances. When the network decided to reboot The Soup, Catta-Preta did some screen tests, punched up a script, and soon found herself staring down the legacy of comedians who have come before her.
But she knew she couldn’t necessarily take the same route that her predecessors did. In fact, actually being a fan of talk and reality-TV shows that often are up on the roasting block on The Soup is what Catta-Preta is leaning into instead.
“I’m coming from the perspective of a fan, which I think is different from any other host,” she says. “There was kind of a little bit of snark always. I think the jokes are more self-deprecating than ever just because I am a fan of this stuff. So I’m looking up on it, as [previous hosts] were kind of looking down on it.”
The other perspective that Catta-Preta is making sure punches through the comedy is the fact that she’s a woman at multiple intersections.
“I’m a woman, I’m gay, I’m an immigrant. And I hope that all my life experiences come out in a way for people to relate,” Catta-Preta says. “Before I did stand-up, I remember going to stand-up shows and feeling frustrated in the audience. I would even heckle! I would be in the audience like, ‘Why is every joke about a woman?’ I always felt like we were getting put down. That’s probably why I got into stand-up, because I want our perspective to be told.”
Alongside Catta-Preta is her showrunner, Sue Murphy, a former executive producer and writer for Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately and Chelsea), and writers Chris McGuire (Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, The Arsenio Hall Show, Lopez Tonight), Karen Anderson (Martha & Snoop), and Mike Lawrence (Inside Amy Schumer, and the Comedy Central Roasts of Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, and Rob Lowe).
Having a crack comedy team is one thing, but how Catta-Preta builds her own legacy around what McHale created with The Soup remains to be seen.
It doesn’t hurt, though, that he’s supportive of her taking over the show that made him famous.
“Oh my gosh—it was so magical. We were on a show together, and it was the first time I met him. I was so starstruck, one because I was such a fan of the show, but also because it was really important for me to feel like I was getting his blessing,” Catta-Preta says. “He was just like, ‘Have fun and don’t take it too seriously.’ It was cool to have that. And I know a couple of the other hosts as well from stand-up, so it’s feeling really familial now. I just feel really honored. I mean, God, I can’t even believe the group that I’m following.”
The Soup premieres February 12 at 10 p.m. EST on E!