Joel McHale Promises Lots of Laughs in ABC’s ‘Card Sharks’ Revival

Card Sharks - Joel McHale
Eric McCandless/ABC

Comedian and actor Joel McHale (Community, The Soup) adds biting wit as emcee of the fast-moving fifth revival of the television classic that first aired in 1978.

Two players, who can win upward of $500,000, are each dealt a hand of oversized cards that are displayed on a large board, with only the first one face up. They guess if the next card will be higher or lower.

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“The cards are enormous, so we went to a mythical land and hired a giant to shuffle them,” McHale quips. “Sadly, he was killed by a paper cut.”

How is this version of Card Sharks different from the others?

Joel McHale: When I watched the older episodes, I noticed it was only gameplay. Now, there’s more joking. The audience is on camera screaming and yelling while waiting for the cards to turn, much like the final table of Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments in Las Vegas. And, we still have two beautiful assistants — but one is a beautiful male assistant.

(ABC/Eric McCandless)

Any particularly memorable contestants we can look forward to meeting?

There’s an Olive Garden waitress who was tremendous. Also, there’s this man whose dream was to marry his boyfriend and go to Salzburg and do the Sound of Music tour for their honeymoon. He’s so funny. He could probably do stand-up if he wanted.

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Previous versions have been hosted by Jim Perry, Bob Eubanks, Bill Rafferty, and Pat Bullard. What drew you in?

This show ate at my cold heart, which is a tiny piece of coal encased in peanut brittle. You see people win an enormous amount of money. With a turn of cards, they can win half a million dollars, and their life changes before your eyes. I was so happy for them. Plus, I got a really great suit out of it.

Card Sharks, Series Premiere, Wednesday, June 12, 9/8c, ABC