I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dan Harmon (far left) and Joel McHale. Dan is the creator of the new NBC show 'Community' which is premiering TONIGHT on NBC at 9:30/8:30 central. The interview was a long one, so I've included the best moments below.
Joel, let me ask you, what was the appeal of this project for you?
Joel McHale: Oh, well, I read a lot of pilot scripts and always, you know, want to be in something that's good and after reading Dan’s script it was so head and shoulders above everything else that I was reading. It was just incredibly funny and then it had really strong characters and a lot of heart.
NBC has been talked about as kind of a sinking ship with the ratings and things like that. So they’ve been really hyping up the show. Does that put more pressure on you guys to really deliver?
Dan Harmon: There is - there’s two hats that I wear. One is the guy who sits in an office and has to put this show together, and that guy doesn’t focus at all on any of that stuff because there’s so much to do. And that guy will do his job wrong to the extent that he thinks about anybody’s sort of standards other than his own. Like in terms of how good the script is or anything like that.
Then there’s the guy that my girlfriend has to be at home with, who is from Wisconsin and who desperately wants the world to love him. And only does anything that he does to try to get peoples’ approval. And who is absolutely terrified that all of this attention and all of this approval from the critics and all of the support from the network can only end in backlash.
I was just wondering if you have any fears of working with anyone after your time on The Soup? Do you foresee any potential problems if there was a certain guest star on Community?
Joel: I’m not working with Tila Tequila if I’m not properly vaccinated.
Dan, why do you think people want to take their time to tune in and watch Community?
Dan: I don’t know. That’s a tough one for me to, you know, because I would have to say, “Well because it’s obviously really good.” I think people will enjoy it when they do tune in because I run everything through a filter in my head when I’m writing, especially for something in this venue. I come from the basic cable world where it’s like, you do the Sarah Silverman Show, there’s a certain section of the audience you’re trying to shock and this is more of a mainstream thing. And so, while that does not mean watered down for me, it means heavier lifting, It means working harder.
Joel, did you ever have a teacher in school who resembled any of the professors we'll see on the show?
Joel: Upcoming in one of our episodes with John Michael Higgins, all I’ll say is that there’s a carpe diem future. And I had a guy in high school named Mr. (Anslow) and he was a teacher that would scream and he would yell and his passion about history was unbelievable and that is the only reason why I majored in history in college because of his screaming at us.
He would go, “Students, students, I’m waiting for the answer with bated breath," and then he would stalk the class and then like stop in front of a desk and go, “Mr. Hanson.” And then Mr. Hanson goes, “Yes?” And he’s like, “Who led the allied troops across Europe?” And so - and it was just, yeah, so he was a real inspiration.
Make sure you tune in to Community tonight at 9:30 on NBC!