Joel McHale reveals that after years of struggling to read, he recently discovered he was dyslexic.
The epiphany came when his son was diagnosed with dyslexia.
“When I started The Soup back in 2004, I was so anxious because I can’t really read, and I had to read teleprompter,” the former The Soup host shared while on pal Dax Shepard‘s podcast, Armchair Expert, this week.
McHale told Shepard – who also has the learning difficulty – that he was forced to “repeated grades” in school but teachers failed to recognize he was dyslexic.
“They literally diagnosed me [as a] slow-starter,” shared McHale, 46, who went on to describe how he eventually got a real medical diagnosis.
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“One was being diagnosed, and the doctor goes, and she was describing all of the symptoms, and I was like, ‘That’s what I have,'” said the Community alum. “And she goes, ‘Oh I was wondering which one it was because it’s passed down.'”
The actor-comedian revealed that his father also “clearly has dyslexia.” “He would never really admit it for a long time… He can’t remember names just like I can’t,” said McHale, noting that “if it’s just two people I’m fine.”
Later on in the podcast, Shepard asked McHale if being “labeled a slow-starter” growing up impacted him as an adult.
“No, I decided not to pursue pop music,” teased McHale before seriously explaining that he “always thought [he] was going to show ’em.”
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“I fought it,” said McHale, who went on to graduate from the University of Washington. “I thought, ‘I know how to get around it.’ So I was always figuring out ways to get around stuff.”
Ultimately, sports gave McHale his “confidence and self-esteem.”
“I mean I knew I was good at sports, and I knew I loved acting and performing, so I really dove into that, and school always became secondary,” explained McHale. “And I knew that I could tell jokes in class, and that always did well.”
He added: “I always excelled in sports, so I knew I had advantages there. That really gave me like confidence and self-esteem.”