Joel McHale reveals that after years of struggling to read, it was not until his son was diagnosed with dyslexia that he too found out he had the learning disability.
“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 slow-starter,” shared McHale, 46, who went on to share how he eventually got a real medical diagnosis.
“So my sons are also dyslexic,” explained McHale, who shares sons Isaac, 10, and Edward, 13 with wife, Sarah Williams.
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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,” shared McHale, who added that both he and his father have trouble remembering people’s names.
“He can’t remember names just like I can’t,” said McHale, adding that “if it’s just two people I’m fine.”
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Later on in the podcast, Shepard asked McHale if being “labeled a slow-starter” growing up impacted the star as an adult.
“No, I decided not to pursue pop music,” teased McHale before seriously explaining that he “always thought 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.”