Joel McHale made his first TV appearance on a Burger King commercial as an office jerk.
Joel McHale stars as himself on “The Soup” and as cocky playboy Jeff Winger in “Community.” Dan Harmon is the executive producer and writer for “Community,” but he has also written for “The Sarah Silverman Program” and he wrote the screenplay for the children’s movie “Monster House.” After an “extended hiatus,” “Community” is scheduled to be back on the air this Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 8pm on NBC. “Community” is a hilarious comedy show that follows the adventures and drama of a study group at Greendale Community College. Shakefire had the honor and privilege to talk to Joel and Dan about “Community” and the rest of their third season.
SHAKEFIRE: Hey fellas! How are you guys doing today?
DAN HARMON: I am doing great. Thanks you.
JOEL MCHALE: I’m well. Thanks! Wait! Oh my gosh! There’s a magazine called Shitfire?
SF: Um...nope. It’s a website called Shakefire.com
JM: Oh, I thought it was a jalapeno kind of magazine.
SF: Not really, but that would be hilarious.
SF: If no one else has said to you guys enough already, I just want to say congratulations on coming back, because I can't wait for the new episodes. I am a huge fan and I love your show so much.
DH: Wow! You just high-roaded everybody that we’ve talked to today! Thank you so much. That means a lot to us.
JM: Yes and F-U douchebags that we have talked to earlier and for not saying that to us. How dare you!
DH: Yeah! I wish everyone we talked to had some grace and charm like shitfire.com.
JM: Yeah! Everyone should go check out shitfire.com....I mean Shakefire.com right now!
SF: Thank you, but you guys are too much.
SF: Joel, you are on “The Soup,” which I also watch religiously, on “Community,” and you also do movies. How do you find time to do everything?
JM: I really don't. I don't sleep or see my family very much. No, I mean, when Community's in season that's my focus and that's where I spend my time. The Community production has graciously allowed me to get away to do The Soup and I come back. I haven't been in movies for a while. I try to when I can, like two years ago when I did Spy Kids 4. I was flying away on the weekend and it's really busy, but thankfully, at Community, we all like each other. It would be difficult if that wasn’t the case. You hear horror stories about sets like that, but as much time as we spend there, those people have really become my friends. It's a really good problem to have, which I thank God. I don't know how it happened but I get to work in the field that I love working in and I also get to work on a show that I love. It would be really strange and odd to be on these calls if I didn't like the show I was on. So it's really good high class problem to have. I'm not like a person in Syria who might get shot by a sniper while buying milk, so I count it as, you know, very thankful.
DH: When's that Spy Kids movie coming out Joel?
JM: It came out last summer.
DH: Oh Joel, I'm so sorry!
JM: It's alright, and I knew and I had a feeling you weren't going to see it in the theatre. So I bought you a Blu-ray edition.
DH: Is it true that this is the one where they become spy men and women like and they actually have spy kids?
JM: The spy kids, I mean the original spy kids are older and they're fully adult spies. Not adults, you know, like porn stars, but they're adult spies. I play the husband of Jessica Alba, which was difficult, and the kids are our kids. So they're not, it's not the exact, it's kind of like, alright I'll stop talking! It's not as complicated as it sounds as I just made it.
SF: Okay! The cast is full of comedians and funny people. Who's the most difficult person to work with in a scene without cracking up or messing up?
JM: I'm going to say it's a three way tie between Donald Glover, Jim Rash and Ken Jeong. Those three guys can do comedy where there is no comedy. They make moments out of things that I didn't think were possible and they're just so comic and different. They're cut from a different mold and for that matter Danny Pudi can be grouped with them too. I have trouble getting through a lot of stuff and once again, it's a great problem. There are some things, like in an episode coming up, that Ken Jeong and Jim Rash do that I can't look at them while they're doing it or I will ruin the scene.
SF: Sounds like you guys have a blast while working on the show. What do you guys think the webisodes brought to the show?
DH: I don’t know. I think it was a nice methadone shot for people craving to hear those beautiful voices. I thought Tom Kaufman and Dave Seger did a great job capturing the voice of the characters on the page. I don't know if it will it increase ratings. You know an earthquake could change our ratings. A basketball game changes our ratings and so we figured everything changes your ratings when your audience is the wits of the meter's needle.
SF: Also, you guys had mentioned that it's going to be a darker season this upcoming season. Even Jeff was on that trailer and dumped a dead body. What is that all about? I'm sure, Dan, you and the writers have a way to make even death funny somehow?
DH: Yes. Well we did and that's nothing new to sitcoms. I mean one of the funniest episodes of Mary Tyler Moore was when Chuckles the Clown died. I think that you know that death, just like Christmas, birthdays, weddings, love, sex, jealously and all that stuff, is as handy a tool for comedy because it's something everyone talks about. We're all scared of death and we all face it together so you can get as big a laugh as you can with a topic like that. I think I meant it when I said that this would be the darkest season as more of a prediction then anything else. It turned out to be right because the show itself in a medical sense suffered a cardiac arrest. And yes, that energy trickles into the writer's room when you've got a guy like me who thrives on constant affirmation. A big spoiled baby who's so used to the show airing once a week and us getting that feedback and having that ego stroke. You know me being deprived of that, I think we can translate that into a darkness that seeps into the second half of the season. But with that expressing darkness is just another way of worshiping the light. I mean so it's all good as they say in the hackie sack circle.
JM: And if you look at one of the darkest episodes last year, Dungeons and Dragons, which was literally dealing with a guy who was giving away his stuff because he was going to commit suicide. I don't want to raise expectations but this is going to be the greatest second half of any television show in the history of the world. No, I’m kidding.
SF: Now onto Jeff’s love life this season. He’s already hooked up with everyone in Greendale, from the students to the teachers. Is he going to get serious with anyone?
JM: He’s going to hook up with Leonard. (Laughing) I’m trying to remember and do know that the second half of the season Jeff’s romantic life is not a huge topic. There’s always stuff going on with Jeff and Annie but.....
DH: The focus is very much on the group for this season and the relationships between the two people are sort of a subset of that.
SF: Wow! Thanks a lot guys! Before I go, if you guys could do me a favor and tell Donald his CD is unusually really, really, really good. Childish Gambino is awesome and I listen to his songs often.
SF: Yes! The latter.
SF: For sure! I love the show and I can't wait for the rest of the season. Thank you guys again!