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Series / Talk Soup

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Talk Soup was a comedy series on E! Entertainment that ran from 1991 until 2002. It focused on reviews of various talk shows that aired during this time, with it's most frequent focus being on The Jerry Springer Show. It was hosted first by actor Greg Kinnear in its first four years, then by John Henson from 1995 until 1999, then briefly by Hal Sparks, then after a slew of guest hosts including Suzanne Somers it was lastly hosted by Aisha Tyler.


It later produced a similarly popular retool called The Soup hosted by Joel McHale that also enjoyed an eleven year run from 2004 to 2015.

The show had the following tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Even as the show ended up getting more publicity and more popular, many people who spoke about the show would still accidentally call John "Jim Henson" (to his chagrin).
  • Big Rotten Apple: During a Today Show segment that featured an artist who made a Lego replica of New York City, John then mentioned three people you'll meet in the city that were forgotten: a Transvestite, The Dime Bag Dealer and the No-Lego Man.
  • Butt-Monkey: Stagehands Tom and Alan were the frequent source of ridicule. This even extended to when the two were audience members of Jerry Springer and the latter asked if two feuding women (who, to be fair, looked eerily alike) were sisters and got cursed out for his troubles.
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  • Celebrity Resemblance: From time to time during his era, John would point out who a random talk show guest's resemblance to a famous celebrity or character. It could be complimentary (where he once said a teenage girl on Sally looked like Lisa Kudrow) or insulting (where he once said a woman on Jerry Springer looked like Flip Wilson's Geraldine character).
  • Eye Pop: An episode with a clip from The Late Show with David Letterman featured a woman who did this and was followed by John and everyone in the studio freaking out. It happened again when another talk show had her and another man doing these at the same time.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Greg Kinnear, to the point of being called the "Magic Eyebrow".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During a fan mail someone had sent into the show of a young man doing a spot-on impression of John Henson and the show, John commended him on the spoof except that during a part where "John" was checking on himself in the mirror, the cameraman was visible.
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  • Going Commando: An episode of The Daily Show (then hosted by Craig Kilborn) had him interview Montel Williams and when asked if he wore boxers or briefs, Williams slyly replies neither. This prompts John to say "I see London, I see France, for God's sake put on some underpants!"
  • Groin Attack: One Jerry Springer episode featured a man who (allegedly) cut off his own penis to detract another man who was obsessed with him. When it cut back to the studio, all we could see was John's feet in the air.
  • Hypocritical Humor: One memorable Jerry Springer episode had a cheating man shift back in his chair for some reason only to fall backwards and off the stage to the laughter and ridicule of the audience. Cutting back to the studio, John begins to point and laugh at him while saying how stupid and clumsy he is, only to immediately fall out of his own chair as everyone starts laughing at him.
  • Lame Comeback: A rebellious girl featured on Sally was tired of the audience badmouthing her so she told them to "step the back up!" Naturally, John had fun with this.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Whenever it was time for the viewer mail segment of the show, it would involve John saying some sort of unrelated topic, such as, "Either this tingling in my head is sign of a brain tumor, or it's time for a little VIEWER MAIL!!"
  • Mr. Fanservice: The ruggedly handsome Greg, of course, who has a lovely speaking voice, piercing blue eyes and a strong chin to match.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both Aisha Tyler and Suzanne Somers captivated the viewers in and out of the studio with their beauty and charm.
  • Oh, Crap!: One talk show clip featured a woman who could hang by her incredibly strong hair, so they tried to replicate that with Tom (against his will), only for them to accidentally hang him by his neck. Upon realizing they did the stunt wrong, they frantically cut him down as John insisted that he was going to be okay.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: During the 1997 Oscar season, John joked about three porno movies named after the big contenders, including Big Jerry Maguire, Secrets and Thighs and Sling Butt.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: One viewer mail segment had someone writing in to ask John when he was going to begin staring on his own talk show. Sure enough, the accompanying segment has a fictional show called The Staring John Henson Show with Staring John Henson which has his staring silently at an increasingly angered William Shatner.note 
  • Share the Male Pain: See the example listed in Groin Attack above.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One episode has the show making a music video spoofing the Spice Girls' "When 2 Become 1" called "This Crap's Number 1".
    • Then not too long after that, the video was remade with "pop up" fake/useless information about the video production and about John Henson himself a la Pop Up Video.