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Community Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Jim Rash and Gillian Jacobs

This is a transcript of an interview with Jim Rash and Gillian Jacobs on May 15, 2012 about the NBC television series Community.

Question:
Is there any costume though that we won't ever see the Dean showing up in?

Jim Rash:
Never? I don't know if there's a never, because I've already worn flesh colored panties, so unless they remove those flesh colored panties that would be the only costume left. I don't think the Dean would ever have any editing when it came to what he wanted to or what I as an actor was asked to wear.

Gillian Jacobs:
It's his art.

Jim Rash:
I don't draw lines.

Question:
Gillian, for next season is there an interest in having Britta mature a bit?

Gillian Jacobs:
I would say even though everyone makes fun of her she did make some valid points in her therapy sessions. I think she actually wasn't too far off with some of Jeff Winger's daddy issues, and she was maybe accidentally able to help some people. I think you're going to see a little bit more of that in Thursday night's episode. But, I don't think that we ever want these characters to figure it all out, because then it would be a very boring show. So, I hope she continues to make a lot of mistakes.

Jim Rash:
Yes, because I think one of the things that's great about what they've been doing with Britta and Gillian's performance of it it's like all these characters sort of evolve and sort of started one way. And it's not like they completely changed, but they're true selves sort of start to shine through. You know, I think Britta had up a wall and she was supposed to be the smartest person in the room, or at least she thought herself that way. And I thought what's so great is that, you know the small things that came out of breaking that down and seeing this sort of insecurity inside, which I think is played very well.

Question:
Is there a chance maybe you could convince Clooney to co-star in Community?

Jim Rash:
That's going to be such an easy phone call. I imagine he can sense as I dial that I'm going to ask him that, and I'm sure he'll pick up instantly. And I'm not surprised if the whole Ocean's 11 gang has to be on it, and I'm not surprised if I'm not in Italy right after we wrap. All those things are possible.

Question:
Gillian, how does it feel to be considered the worst out of the group?

Gillian Jacobs:
Every group needs the worst, so I'm happy to provide that service. I think that it's like that family dynamic where everybody picks on one member of the family, but at the end of the day they're essential and everybody does love them deep down. And I think Britta is a loud mouth a lot of the times, so she draws attention to herself. But, she's very stubborn and she has a surprisingly thick skin, so you know she may get hurt, but she doesn't really seem to be deterred by their scorn. So, I kind of admire that about her. I'm far more sensitive. She's got a thick skin.

Question:
Jim, it seems like Chang has kind of taken over Greendale and since you're always trying to get in with the group, is this your chance to finally like get on Jeff's good side and he's going to come rescue you and save the school?

Jim Rash:
I think you'll definitely see on Thursday, I mean obviously the result of the Dean making another horrible decision to sign over his security detail to Chang, so he has only himself to blame for the chaos that ensued. I do think this is a, you know as you will see this Thursday, it's sort of nice to see as the Dean gets involved with the study group as we try to reclaim Greendale. And I think, you know at least this is the closest he has, or least hope to become one of the group, but you'll just have to wait and see.

Question:
How are you guys feeling about the schedule and moving to Fridays?

Jim Rash:
First and foremost we have to celebrate, you know what has been a long, hopeful journey to get to a Season 4, so I think with the help of the fans we'll start there and be grateful for the fact that we get to say that sentence, ???We're having a Season 4.??? And then there's always something exciting about some small change. We've survived little changes and moves and our fans seem to follow us, so just hope they find us again and I'm sure they will. They're a very tenacious group.

Gillian Jacobs:
I think that we have to be so grateful for all the hard work that they did to make sure that we campaign back from hiatus and got this fourth season. And we're just excited to get to tell 13 more stories and hopefully more down in the future. So we're the little show that could. You can't ever really count us out, so God only knows what will happen.

Question:
Jim, when it comes to the Finale do you think there's a certain part of the Dean that's going to be very happy in the sense that this is really the first time the Greendale needs him and he's constantly the one trying to get all over them?

Jim Rash:Question:
Gillian, what has it been like this whole kind of second half of the season working with Donald Glover and doing kind of the sort of Troy/Britta stuff that's going on?

Gillian Jacobs:
I love it. We have the sweetest hugs on TV. We've really cornered the market on longing looks and really sweet hugs. He's obviously an incredible performer and we've so enjoyed getting to have these scenes together and there's not a bad apple in this group, so I'm really lucky to get to work with this cast and it's been really fun to get to have all these scenes with Donald.

Question:
Is there anything you'd like to see both Dean and Britta do more of in Season 4?

Gillian Jacobs:
I think Britta should probably sing some more. That's really where the gold is. I'd like to meet Britta's family. I think that would probably be pretty fun and give some more insight into how Britta ended up the way she is. So, I always think it's fun when we get to see glimpses of the characters' families and we got to meet Pierce's dad this season, and we've met Chang's brother. I'd really love to meet Britta's family.

Jim Rash:
I think for me some of it started this season where they sort of explored pairing off certain characters and sort of mining what happens when those two, like whether Jeff and Shirley and sort of started with Britta and Troy a possible relationship. So, I think I would love to see like more of that because it always evolves and changes and finds new things for these characters. Now, as far as the Dean, I mean how can I not want some kind of forced on Jeff's, you know character again, or to see his living arrangement. I'd love to be where the Dean lives and how seedy it might be.

Question:
What has been your absolute favorite costume to wear?

Jim Rash:
Probably the Gaga outfit from Halloween, because that jacket they had made for it.

Gillian Jacobs:
Your Tina Turner was also pretty spectacular.

Jim Rash:
Yes, Tina Turner was good as well. That skirt was just one squat away from revealing everything. It was very short. I really can't complain. All of the costumes are too enjoyable to put on.

Question:
With two showrunners leaving now, and Dan Harmon's fate uncertain, what do you expect we're going to see next season?

Jim Rash:
Who knows? We love Neil and Garrett and spent three great years with them, and in the natural evolution of these things is that people move on to the next chapter for them, you know? What's wonderful is that Community has always had its voice, has always had its vision and that started in the very beginning. And I think that we want to discontinue that. The show that we started, the show to continue, and close out whatever chapter, whenever that may be.

Gillian Jacobs:
I just think that nothing ultimately has been decided at this point, and I think we're all just very hopeful. And we're really grateful for everyone that's worked on the show, and we've been really blessed with incredible writers and producers and such insanely talented people.

Question:
How much of Community is Dan Harmon's voice and his vision for the show, and how much of it is something that has evolved?

Jim Rash:
I think this nugget started in his brain with the pilot. All these characters have evolved from that nugget, so obviously that's where it started and it evolved over a lot of different attributes, which is both his vision, the writers, they pull from us as actors and what we've brought to it and the quirks that sort of evolved, and the evolution of those characters from both sides, so it all began there.

Question:
Jim, what do you think Dean Pelton would have worn to the Oscars?

Jim Rash:
He should just paint himself in gold, and then sort of a gown of gold and gold gloves; just really celebrate a sort of on the nose interpretation of the statue. So, that's what would I imagine.

Question:
Gillian, Britta has traveled a long way from the fair typical love interest in Season 1 to the sanest group member through her insanity today, and both Dan Harmon and Joel McHale praise your comedic abilities on the last conference call. Could you speak even further to Britta's development and growth this season?

Gillian Jacobs:
I just feel really blessed with some really great material that I was given in Season 3 that allowed Britta to further develop and need to unleash my awkward dancing on the world. So, I have really enjoyed here growth and evolution and development and I think that this show is not conventional by any stretch of the imagination, and therefore the role of traditional love interest really has no place on this show. So of course, we have to subvert it and change it and she has to be awkward and silly and strident at times and deeply flawed. And it's really great to play a multi-dimensional character with shortcomings as strengths, and I'm really grateful that I don't just pine after Jeff Winger.

Question:
Are you currently looking at the fourth season as a last season? Are you preparing yourselves just in case it isn't renewed for the fifth? It is the little show that could, but just in case it doesn't puff one more puff?

Gillian Jacobs:
I think that nothing about this journey has been average or predictable. You have to maintain this balance between optimism and realism. But, it's already so far exceeded my expectations of what this experience would be like that who am I to predict what's going to happen this fall and beyond?

I'm just really grateful that I've gotten a chance to work with the writers, the directors, and the other actors that are a part of this show. And I've learned so much from them and I've made some really great friends, and I feel like I've come out on the other end a stronger performer and I feel like I went to Graduate School for comedy. So, regardless of whatever happens, I'm just really grateful for the time that I got to spend with these people.

Jim Rash:
I don't know if I can say it better than that.

Gillian Jacobs:
Jim didn't need to learn anything. Jim came in a comedic genius.

Jim Rash:
I didn't.

Question:
Is there any type of fan response that stands out to you that you've especially appreciated or, maybe even been a little bit taken aback by recently?

Jim Rash:
I think just in that time that we were off the air for a while, I think any and all of that from flash mobs to the goatee and all that stuff, it really can't compare to the outpouring of fans in that capacity to almost protest for you to come back, and it was because of a lot of that stuff, and then our nice return. You know, it showed that their voice was heard.

Gillian Jacobs:
There's an upcoming gallery show in Los Angeles of all fan art our show called Six Seasons and Movie that starts on June 23rd. This is totally fan-initiated, fan-driven, and fan-created. And so, to see them continue to organize in this way, and they're all so talented from out of their just like their love of the show and in their free time and their talent they've created all this incredible art of us. And we've always felt so flattered and, you know surprised and delighted by what they've created. And we've developed like sort of friendships by the Internet with some of these artists, and so it's really exciting that they're going to get a whole gallery show of their work.

Question:
What's it like to see yourself drawn as a cartoon character?

Jim Rash:
I think there's different levels. Going to the fan art there was someone who did us as X-Men and I looked pretty bad ass. And then we had the Webisodes and then where I had more of a flatter ass.

Gillian Jacobs:
I would say when some of us went to the studios where they were animating the Stop Motion Christmas Episode that was a pretty surreal moment to see those figurines of all of us and I'd never seen the process of making a stop-motion animated episode and it was pretty incredible. So that was surreal and sort of a realization of a childhood dream that I didn't even dare to have and then...Yes, and then to see the fan art is a whole different other kind of shock and delight because they're not being paid to do that and they haven't been asked to do it by NBC or Sony or the writers, they're doing it just out of their love of the show. And I've never been a part of something before that had this kind of devoted fan base.

And I sort of feel like we're almost like a sci-fi show like we have the level of devotion that you would kind of stereotypically associate with like a sci-fi show and that's been really remarkable to see it develop because I don't know how many actors on sitcoms get to experience this. And I highly recommend it! All you actors out there, get on a show with a rabid fan-base; that's my recommendation.

Question:
Gillian, was it cool to go and do something so completely different and at this point do you enjoy doing comedy or drama more or do you sort of enjoy the mix or how does it feel?

Gillian Jacobs:
I had done a string of films that were sort of similar in tone and content to the Gardens of the Night meaning I had played a lot of prostitutes, strippers, homeless, runaway, teens, drug addicts and rape victims so I would say that Community was a welcomed change of pace for me. I was really excited to get this job and get to do something different and I think my hope is that I get to continue to do more serious material and also continue to do comedy in the future. So I don't want to choose I just want to get to do everything all the time. But, yes, that's certainly a very different kind of role that you saw me in.

Question:
What would you say was the theme that was really fun to do and do you guys have any fantasy themes that you'd love to have them do in future years?

Gillian Jacobs:
Daytime soap.

Jim Rash:
I think it would be good with just some full on organ music the whole time.

Gillian Jacobs:
And of course our show would like whip in to the organ player.

Jim Rash:
Yes, and most likely the Dean would insist that somehow in that soap version he and Jeffrey fought in a water fountain.

Gillian Jacobs:
Somebody would have to play twins, right, themselves and their own twin.

Jim Rash:
This is writing itself

Gillian Jacobs:
I know, its rich).

Question:
Jim, what was it like to win the Oscar?

Jim Rash:
It is cliche to say but it's also a very true cliche in that it's very surreal and if there was ever a time that you just feel into the moment of something that you can't quite comprehend until after it, that's what it felt like. It feels like it's just sort of something that's happening and everything's sort of going into this weird vacuum of sort of silence as you're looking and walking your way towards the stage and seeing so many friends that you just happen to be on this weird journey at sort of a similar time and it was it's hard to say that it was anything less than incredible.

Question:
Looking back on this season, what would you guys say has been your most memorable or your favorite moment on the show?

Gillian Jacobs:
My appearance in the Christmas pageant definitely springs to mind when I think of this season. Dancing around in a skin-tight brown unitard, that's pretty memorable. I felt like Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo up there. So the combination of embarrassment and adrenaline made it pretty memorable.

Jim Rash:
For me I guess memorable only because we did it over and over and over again and it might have been because they were just sort of punishing me but I guess I'm going to call it Dean's spastic orgasm, that scene Jeffrey back from break and Pam with his aviators on. And falling to the ground because we did that over and over again and it really wasn't even different coverage it just seemed like I was being asked to keep going and basically having my full release moment I'll call it on the floor, that was memorable to shoot because they would keep rolling and I just kept going. So, that was fun.

Question:
Looking to this upcoming fourth season, what are the both of you looking forward to?

Gillian Jacobs:
I'd say getting back to work first and foremost.

Jim Rash:
The first thing is to be back and it becomes true that we're six seasons of movie or we have this chapter, it's so nice to sort of go into this with this idea that it really is the fourth chapter of these people's lives and sort of following the third which sort of turned into sort of a darker exploration of each character and them figuring out what it is that they want and then to sort of see the end result coming up this Thursday and where that could take us into the fourth season is the most exciting thing for me and just sort of continuing their chapter.

Gillian Jacobs:
I think we're all so grateful because probably on any other network we might have been canceled first season we might have never made it to a full first season, might never have made it to a second season and the fact that we've been given this opportunity to grow and develop this show into the truly singular television experience that it is has really been such a blessing because I think we as actors when we sign on for this pilot really didn't know the scope and depth and creativity and originality that this show was going to have and so it's been a surprise to us as much as it has been to the viewers. And so I think we all just have to have these feelings of gratuity.

Not gratuity because that's what you put on a tab at a bill but grateful, some form of the word grateful. We're grateful! What I want to say is that we're grateful because how often are you surprised and in a positive way by the job that you have as an actor. It's really just been kind of incredible to see Community become the now sort of iconic TV show that it is.

Question:
Would you guys say that you are happy with where your characters are and the development that you guys have made throughout the past three seasons?

Gillian Jacobs:
Yes.

Jim Rash:
Yes, absolutely. Because it goes to what Gillian was just saying, it's like I started as a pilot just as this very top of the show just doing this what was supposed to be a guest star at the time and then that turned into recurring and then by Season 3 was added to the cast but as far as the character and watching this evolution it's sort of like even this year getting to do the documentary episode it's like every now and then you get to watch and learn something new about these characters. So if there's anything that I can't do it's complain that I had this great ride and even in small doses you learn something new.

Gillian Jacobs:
And I think it's really a testament to Jim's talent that he has become such an invaluable part of this show and that I cannot imagine the show without him. And we as fellow cast mates are so blown away by his talent and his humor and also his grace in handling the whole award season and his humility. So it was such a pleasurable experience to watch your friend win an Oscar. I started crying so hard that the people around me thought that I had emotional problems.

Question:
Who do you see yourself working with more in the future or who would you like to work with more in the future?

Jim Rash:
It is not lost on me on how much I have enjoyed these past three years and look forward to this coming year and because of this cast, and it's not everyday that you get a job where you genuinely enjoy the company you're working with but that is the case here and so no matter what happens I couldn't name one person, I just name all as people that I would hope that our paths continue to cross in every capacity not just obviously as friends but in working because these are people you trust and these are people that you admire. So that's the best qualifications for someone you want to work with.

Gillian Jacobs:
I think I see us sort of in the same vein as Arrested Development or Freaks and Geeks where you see a group of people continue to work together long after the TV that brought them together goes away. Because everyone is so incredibly talented and versatile on this show and I think that's the thing that I've been impressed with continuously over the last three years that so many different genres and plots and styles have been thrown at us and you just watch everybody rise to the occasion and you just get more and more glimpses of what people can do and what they're capable of. So, I would work with all of them and be delighted to do so and it's so exciting to be on a job where you're learning from your co-workers which has really truly been my experience on this show.

Question:
What you're saying is should we expect to see Dean Pelton and Britta featured on maybe a Childish Gambino album?

Gillian Jacobs:
I don't think we should punish Donald in that way. Jim is a better rapper than I am. Jim has some rhymes to lay down. I would be there maybe more as the hype women where I get on the mic and I get the crowd going but you don't actually hear me rap or sing. I'm kind of there to bring the energy, the fire, the excitement and just really the sizzling skillet-like fire.

Jim Rash:
What a wordsmith. Donald will be too humble to admit this so don't verify this with him but he would insist that I join him on stage I just know it.

Gillian Jacobs:
Jim has a song called Party is Party.

Jim Rash:
I have a song called Party is Party and he is insistent that we lay these tracks. Now, don't ask him, don't confirm it because he will be too humble to admit. But, anyway, so yes, it should happen.

Question:
Jim, in an interview a while back you mentioned that if they ever asked you to write for Community you would be panicked. Now do you think they might actually ask you to contribute as a writer?

Jim Rash:
I would probably still say panicked only because I think that what they do and where their brains go and what they do I don't know necessarily if I would feel like, man, that would be too much pressure to come aboard and even attempt what they have been able to do and the places that they've been able to go. I feel it's easier for me just to get to act on the show. So, I don't know if they'll really need me. Now, I will pitch some horrible story. I'm still panicked.

Question:
Have you given your Oscar statute a name and, if so, what?

Jim Rash:
It's Gillian. Sweet, sweet Gillian. We're hugging right now, I'm physically hugging her. I haven't bothered to name but that seems like an appropriate name to me.

Question:
Is there anything that you can recommend that fans could view)to help build that following and tell their friends, tweet, Facebook, do you have any more suggestions?

Gillian Jacobs:
Somebody suggested buying the episodes on iTunes if you have extra cash which everyone does just has piles of extra money. But, I think continuing to buy the DVD's, by the episodes on iTunes, buy the merchandise and I think show NBC and Sony that you're willing to spend money on the show. If you are going to DVR it, I hate to say this, but don't fast forward through the ads because it sort of disqualifies your viewing on DVR. So please don't fast forward the ads and then I think your viewing will count. That's something I learned recently.

Jim Rash:
Wow, I didn't know that at all!

Gillian Jacobs:
Yes. So sit through the ads, by merch. I've been told that our Troy and Abed in the Morning mugs are incredibly popular at the NBC store in New York and they almost can't keep them in stock. So keep buying them!

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