The 45-year-old tells PEOPLE exclusively that he's "very excited" about his upcoming gig

By Alexia Fernández
Updated December 02, 2020 03:26 AM
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Credit: Matthew Eisman/Getty

The 2017 People’s Choice Awards are ready to bring on the laughs with Joel McHale as host of the awards show, PEOPLE exclusively confirms.

The 45-year-old tells PEOPLE he’s “very excited” about his upcoming gig, a departure from his previous hosting gigs at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in 2014 or the ESPY Awards in 2015.

“I didn’t expect it,” he says of landing the hosting job, “but now, here we are. With the ESPY’s and the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, the first few rows are filled with people so rich and famous they’ll never need to laugh again. With this, I’ve watched it before but I’m not sure what to expect with the actual audience.”

The comedian says he rarely gets jitters when performing in front of a large audience, but that he still feels pressure to deliver.

“I feel pressure in that I want to be funny,” he says. “I don’t really get nervous anymore. I probably won’t be nervous, but I’ll definitely be amped up to do it.”

McHale currently stars in the CBS comedy show The Great Indoors, and many of his writers on the show will also be writing jokes for the 2017 People’s Choice Awards.

Along with his CBS show, he recently released a memoir and is starring in the upcoming Netflix film, A Futile & Stupid Gesture, portraying actor Chevy Chase.

The actor divulged a few secrets as to what audiences may expect from him as host, including some “death-defying tricks.”

“[There will be] pyrotechnics, live exotic animals, the helicopter from Miss Saigon, Cirque du Soleil acrobatics from me, death defying tricks,” he jokes.
“I’m very excited to host it and, hopefully, it’ll be funny!”

The 43rd annual People’s Choice Awards airs Jan. 18 at 9 p.m. on CBS.