[03/03/10 - 07:00 PM]
Live at the Paley Festival: NBC's "Community"
By Jim Halterman (TFC)

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7:08 PM - Tonight's archival clip features none other than Chevy Chase on a 1991 talk show, "Inside The Comedy Mind," telling Alan King that he probably won't do TV again until his film career is... see Chevy do a diving down motion with his hand. Oops...

7:12 PM - Paley Center Vice President and Executive Director Craig Hitchcock introduces the fourth night of the 27th Annual PaleyFest. Craig quotes EW's reference to "Community" as "absurdly funny" and then detours to introduce William C. Paley, son of William S. Paley. Applause from all.

7:16 PM - Entertainment Weekly scribe John Young, who does the recaps of "Community" takes to the stage and talks about how he loves the show's "lack of vampires." He said he has taken the show to task and, upon doing so, creator Dan Harmon tweeted that he would run John over with a car. Dan comes out and corrects him by saying he'd name a character EW PopWatch and run them over with a car. "Mr. Young flatters himself." Dan introduces the episode airing this week, "Physical Education."

7:41 PM - John returns to the stage to introduce tonight's "Community" Panel - Chevy Chase! Ken Jeong! Neil Goldman! Anthony Russo! Gillian Jacobs! Joe Russo! Russ Krasnoff! Joel McHale! Donald Glover! Garrett Donovan! Dan Harmon!

7:44 PM - John asks Gillian if she feels odd being the only woman and she says that fellow female castmates Yvette Nicole Brown and Alison Brie (along with Danny Pudi) are working and couldn't attend so she's glad to represent.

7:45 PM - The naked pool match in the just-screened episode is a hot topic mostly because of Joel's very fit torso that gets an ample amount of airtime. "My parents came and just happened to be in town." On the many days it took to shoot the scenes Joel said, "I got so used to being in nude underwear. It was no problem. I didn't realize it might be weird to be at the craft services table."

7:48 PM - Dan talks about how his own community college experience in Glendale helped him come up with the idea for the show. At one point, he looked around at his classmates (who had come to him and wanted to study with him) and bookmarked the thought, "Oh my God! I like these people that I'd never hang out with if I met them in a bar." He later pulled out that bookmark and used it to create "Community."

7:53 PM - Chevy makes the first of many complaints that he can't hear anything (Ken, who sits to his right, repeatedly screams the questions in his ear). Suddenly, Chevy leans back and falls in his chair. Classic.

7:56 PM - As Ken explains that even though he came in after the pilot that he just loved the script and his character. Ken pontificates as Chevy mocks, makes faces and mimics until Ken can take it no longer and busts up. Ken does manage to give a shout-out to missing castmates Yvette, Alison and Danny.

7:59 PM - Chevy blurts out "boob" for no apparent reason (which is something executive producer Russ Krasnoff predicted would happen backstage before the event began). He'll continue to disrupt at random times throughout the night by falling asleep, checking his phone and playing with his microphone.

8:00 PM - Joe on casting: "The casting on the process of the was fascinating... you're going up against 80 other shows that are all casting at the same time. The talent pool is limited." Joel was the first one cast and Joe said everyone loved him and his personality from the start. "There's a voice on the page and what the actor does is bring their own life to it and their own dimension to it and then creators like Dan start picking up on it, making adjustments to the script and filling out the script so that it fits the character."

8:02 PM - Anthony jokes that Chevy took the job because he needed the money, which prompts Chevy to reach into his jacket pocket and pull out a huge wad of cash, which he begins to pass out to the panel.

8:03 PM - Donald jokes that he got the job because Nick Cannon said, "No, I'm busy with Mariah." Dan revealed that the character of Troy was originally white and then spends the next several minutes talking about race neutrality in characters in his past and present projects. He does admit that Donald "exploded" out of a two-dimensional character and brought Troy to life.

8:07 PM - Joe on the casting of Britta being difficult: "[Dan] had an incredibly specific idea in his head about what he wanted Britta to be and he wanted what you see on the show which was a tougher version of the character that is two parts full of herself, two parts totally sincere and he wanted to do something very different with the lead female character and it took us forever to cast that role."

8:09 PM - Gillian says that this is her first role in comedy after playing a slew of drug-addicted prostitutes ("Look on IMDB!" she says). Despite being a Julliard grad, Gillian admitted to being intimidated by everyone on the show. "For me this is the first time I've been given the opportunity to do comedy and, obviously, I'm in very good company so I'm learning... this is like graduate school to me."

8:11 PM - When Donald first saw Ken on the set he said, "Oh man, I saw that dude naked!" (i.e. "The Hangover"). Donald adds that Ken is great because he's not afraid to try new stuff.

8:13 PM - Dan on what his talented cast does with his scripts: "From a writer's perspective, to write a show and know that any of these actors are going to make it better."

8:16 PM - Chevy decides to start gargling and then compares the cast to a group you'd find at Home Depot. Joel would be the tool master. Joel then says, "Chevy, you've never been to a Home Depot." Laughs galore.

8:19 PM - What has Joel learned from working with Chevy Chase? "How not to match my clothes," Joel says. "Chevy is like Nolan Ryan in that he's still alive... Chevy is the funniest person on the set." Joel then adds, "To watch him work is great. If he read the scripts it would be greater." Everyone also agrees that Chevy tells the best stories.

8:22 PM - In turn, Chevy talks about working with Joel and, after burping into the mic, says that his co-star - who he never watched on "The Soup" - has his own sense of humor, he's a "very, very funny, a genuine a good guy" and he hopes he gets that hemorrhoid problem worked out. Ken seconds that by saying, "My favorite scenes I've done on the show have been one-on-ones with are with [Joel]."

8:23 PM - Chevy gives props to his castmates: "It takes a lot to make me laugh and I laugh all the time!" He added, "I started on 'SNL' in its first year with really wonderful people like Belushi and Gilda and people who are still here like Jane, Danny and Billy. I've worked with some of the best and I don't know that any of them , for this type of show, could do any better than this cast does."

8:27 PM - What episodes are coming up? Dan said that their conceptual episode is going to be a 20-minute action movie. Action director Justin Lin directs and "every time we're told we can't afford anything I'm told it's because of this episode," Joel says "It's like 'The Warriors' meets 'I Am Legend' meets 'Casino Royale' meets 'Die Hard'" Donald, adds, "Any time I get to say 'Get some bitches!' in something, it's going to be good!"

8:31 PM - The first Q&A question is about the mascot, who they say is not Abed regardless what everyone thinks.

8:35 PM - Joel on Dan's take on the sitcom world. "He's some kind of strange oracle. He has observed human behavior. It seems he's immortal and has learned our ways. Almost every episode, whenever there is a convention of television that has been used for years, he will take that, scrunch it up, spit on it, eat it, poop it out and then he'll put it in the script and smears it on but he's like some oracle!"

8:41 PM - As for the characters showing some depth, Donald says that Dan "takes these weird, crazy people and he shows you the other side of the coin. What if you knew Woody Harrelson on Cheers was like that because his brother hit him in the head. That's really dark and sad but, dude, are you going to laugh any less?"

8:44 PM - A fan asks about the digital content on the web and Dan gives props to NBC for being so pro-digital and to his assistant Dave Seger, who runs Channel101.com and does most of the online content. "He's horrible at bringing me coffee but I made sure a guy that was web-savvy and could grab a camera and shoot some stuff on the fly was the guy closest to my desk."

8:47 PM - A fan asks Chevy to tell one of his infamous stories but Chevy mishears and struggles to come up with an intimate story. Maybe he couldn't hear so well after all.

8:49 PM - What would Chevy think if Joel would play Fletch in a new Fletch movie, a fan asks. Joel chimes in, "We've all seen Fletch and I seriously don't know how you could top that performance!"

8:51 PM - The last fan question is whether Abed has Asperger Syndrome but, in Dan answering, Abed is instead likened to Star Trek's Data or Spock... or maybe he's God.

8:55 PM - And that's all folks. I'll be back Thursday night with "Dexter."

  [march 2010]  


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