Alumna to host revived talk show “The Soup” on E!


Courtesy of Jade Catta-Preta.

Jade Catta-Preta ‘07 will host The Soup on E! Wednesday nights in addition to her stand-up comedy career.

By Shruti Rajkumar

Emerson alum Jade Catta-Preta ‘07 fondly recalls watching the TV show Talk Soup on E! during her childhood and being drawn to the humor and friendliness of its host John Henson. After the show’s 2015 cancellation, E! announced at the People’s Choice Awards in November 2019 that the show will return for their 13th season on Feb. 12, 2020 with Catta-Preta as the new host.

The show originally aired under the name Talk Soup from January 1991 to May 2002 and included hosts Greg Kinnear, John Henson, Hal Sparks, and Aisha Tyler. It returned as The Soup in July 2004 with comedian Joel McHale as the host, before it’s cancelation in December 2015. 

The Soup’s format consists of humorous commentary from the host and clips selected from reality television, daytime talk shows, scripted television series, and social media. 

“This is a dream job,” Catta-Preta said. “I was a fan of the show since I was a kid, [and] it’s a great job for a comedian because it combines not only your ability to be on your feet and improvise as you go, but it also allows you the chance to do scripted material and act out and be funny and be myself.” 

Catta-Preta was born in Brazil before moving to Charlottesville, Virginia at age 12. After graduating from Emerson in 2007, she pursued her passion at the Comedy Store comedy club in Los Angeles, where she performed stand-up at open mic nights. This paved the way for performances in larger venues with bigger crowds, and landed her cameos and roles in television shows including Manhattan Love Story and Modern Family. In January 2020, Catta-Preta released tour dates for her Tiny Heads Tour, which included stand-up comedy shows in cities all over the U.S. from February 2020 through May 2020.

Catta-Preta said she entered E!’s radar when she tried to sell a pilot to Nick Cannon’s production company, NCredible Entertainment. E! reached out to her in May 2019 to discuss the revival of the show. Catta-Preta underwent an audition process for the host role, which she officially acquired in June 2019.

Catta-Preta also chose the writers team for the show, which includes one of her close friends, Justine Marino. Catta-Preta began performing stand-up with Marino 11 years ago, when they met at the Comedy Store.

Marino said that the show’s writing process begins with the writers on the team compiling clips from across media and the internet.

“We’ll all watch [the clips] and see which ones make us laugh,” Marino said. “We’ll know right away [if] there’s nothing there, and if there’s a little something there, we’ll try to riff jokes.”

Catta-Preta said E! allowed her to be involved in the writing meetings for the show in Glendale, California. Typically, hosts do not write for their shows, but Catta-Preta said E! wanted her involvement in the show as much as possible to further emphasize her point of view.  

“Having done stand-up for 11 years, I definitely have a specific voice and a point of view, and it was really cool that E! is letting me be myself,” Catta-Preta said. “It’s definitely my perspective on the videos and ultimately my point of view. I’m in the writers room with [everyone] and I’m involved as much as I can.”

Episodes film on Wednesday mornings and air the same night. Catta-Preta said this allows her to continue her current tour from Thursday through Sunday. 

“The whole thing is really emotional for me because I graduated [Emerson] in 2007 and have been grinding ever since, so it’s cool to work with people that I love,” Catta-Preta said. 

Catta-Preta majored in musical theater and acted for films and improv groups while at Emerson, which drew her to stand-up. She said majoring in musical theater gave her the confidence to perform stand-up on stage. 

“She’s always been really confident on stage, but I think just watching her really step into her point of view and own it has been really cool to watch,” Marino said. “She’s an attractive woman with a strong point of view and she’s a boss. I think it’ll breathe new life into The Soup.” 

Senior comedic arts major Claire Farnsworth believes the industry would benefit from more female representation in comedy, and is glad to see Catta-Preta taking on the role as the host.

“It does feel harder [as a woman] to get into an industry that has been historically straight, white, cis-male dominated and feel heard rather than just looked at,” Farnsworth said. “[Catta-Preta] gives me hope [as a female comedian].”

Catta-Preta said she hopes the show serves as an escape for people after the end of a hard day, and that she can make people smile and laugh.

“The struggle is of course the pressure of [the show] being good, and I have big shoes to fill,” Catta-Preta said. “People are really upset that Joel McHale [isn’t the host anymore], so I guess the pressure is the only thing that’s difficult, but pressure is a privilege, so I’m happy to take it on.”