At long last, tonight marks the return of Community! This quirky little comedy has quickly become one of my top favorites, and aside from Fringe and The Vampire Diaries, it’s the show I was most anticipating the return of.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Winger’s alter ego Joel McHale, as well as funnyman John Goodman who will be guest starring as Vice Dean Laybourne for the first few episodes of the season. Let me just say, you guys are in for a treat this year – just hearing both actors talk made me overly excited to see what the season will bring.
In the second season finale of the NBC hit Community, paintballs flew, kisses were shared, and enemy lines were drawn. With all that dust still settling around the Greendale campus, we’re left wondering how on earth the third season will kick off – and what new antics can be expected from our favorite study group. We recently caught up with series star Joel McHale and guest star John Goodman, both of whom graciously took time out of their busy schedules to talk about on-set antics, their new Dean, and what surprises are in store for season 3.
“I just went with it,” Goodman says of joining a cast of actors who refer to themselves as a little crazy. “Whatever happens, happens and you know, try to show up and know my lines and bump into anything, and that’s true. I’m just a hired hand, you know, there to help and then some.”
“Yeah, we did the regular thing where you haze the person that shows up,” McHale adds. “We hazed him for about a week, and then we finally did the initiation and he had to wear his underwear on the outside and, you know, carry a live chicken around.” Although we’re quite sure McHale is joking, it doesn’t stop Goodman from firing back at him.
“My body hair is growing back,” Goodman deadpans, setting the relaxed tone of the call.
On what makes Community such a popular show:
McHale: “I think the originality of the show is not like anything else on TV, if I do say so myself. And I think going back to shows like M*A*S*H or Cheers it’s an ensemble and the world – they care for each other and the world around them changes, obviously Community’s changes drastically…I think you know it’s the right combination of actors and obviously now with John Goodman it will – we should see – you know, I feel like that will really bring even more people in with someone of his status and stature.”
On what we can expect to see from Jeff in season 3:
McHale: “I can tell you that the Jeff and Annie relationship will develop further on the romantic end of things, much to the chagrin of half the audience, at least who comments on message boards, and it’s divided right down the middle. I know that my father will become present in the series. Jeff has a lot of father issues, and so that will be dealt with. And according to Dan, my character’s going to kind of be put through hell, so I’m really looking forward to taking the journey.”
Who had the most impact on their comedic careers growing up?
Goodman: “W.C. Fields. Later on, everything was National Lampoon and Saturday Night Live for me, and Firesign Theater.”
McHale: “I would say for me it was a – down the middle between Monty Python and Bill Cosby. Firesign Theater, yeah. And Steve Martin because as a child he was like some sort of father of comedy. And then, I think Richard Pryor’s Live on the Sunset Strip is probably one of the greatest performances ever recorded.”
On why Goodman wanted to return to comedy:
“Because it’s funny. There’s a sense of – I haven’t done comedy in a long time, intentional comedy. There’s a great sense of achievement because it’s so damn hard. There’s a lot of ingredients to doing it and it’s – it keeps your skills going. You have to learn how to juggle again and it’s just a great thing. Plus, there’s a great payoff when it works. And I like to laugh almost more than anything in the world and if you can make somebody else laugh, that’s a great thing.”
While Goodman plays the nefarious head of Greendale’s air conditioning repair school, he admits that he knows absolutely nothing about working with air conditioners. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. “I know how to turn them on, off, pick up a phone when they break,” Goodman says with just a hint of dry humor. “That’s all I need to know. I was not born handy.”
Ready to return to school? Community returns for its third season on Thursday, September 22nd at 8/9c on NBC.