Danny Pudi Interview

 

Matt: How did you guys find out you were coming back? 

 

DP: We didn’t really know anything.  When we found out we were on hiatus it was probably through twitter and face book.  And when we found out that we were going back on the air, I also found out by a re-tweet by a friend of mine, Dan Harmon.  We find out almost at the same time as the fans. During that time period we were still shooting and hopeful that our episodes would air sometime.  I think we had confidence that we would be back on the air at some point­ –we just didn’t know when. But then again, we operated under the assumption of who knows what will happen.  We just had fun and went wacky.

 

Matt: How has the cast responded to the fans freaking out at the prospect of the show getting cancelled?

 

DP: It’s pretty incredible and it helps our confidence too. Our show isn’t a huge ratings hit and there’s always a little uncertainty about the future.  It’s after the 3rd season now and each season we’ve been hopeful and excited, but also nervous about whether or not we are coming back.  Seeing the fans and the reaction gives us hope one, and it just kind of feeds of this energy to go in next year. While we’re shooting, we are pretty much in this vacuum on Paramount’s lot and we shoot a lot of hours and we’re there all the time with each other and making bits and stuff and sometimes you worry if your bits and comedy and what we are doing connects with people.  That is the greatest thing about this show.  We get the fan fiction and the drawings and all the youtube videos and the mash-ups.  It shows that the fans not only have a connection to the show, but they are really finding things and making it their own. They tweet us all the time with different drawings or sketches or poster ideas about inspector spacetime.  It’s fun and it becomes more of a dialogue and a conversation.  I think that is part of our show too–the audience is part of it.  I think everyone feels apart of Greendale, which is fun.

 

Matt: Do you guys know if you’re coming back next season?

 

DP: I’m sure it will have something to do with the ratings when we return on March 15.  Everyone tune in! We’ll see. You tell me man. You’ll probably know first–call me.

 

Matt: What can we expect for the rest of the season?

 

DP:  The first episode is with Malcolm-Jamal Warner and he comes back to Greendale. There is a wedding on campus and Abed and Troy decide to try to be normal for it.  So that is our mission for this episode. In terms of Abed there is definitely some exploration deeper into his mind and dreamatorium.  There are a couple of episodes that are pretty complex that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. In particular one episode the time line episode where we shot remedial chaos theory was complex, but this dreamatorium might be even more confusing.  That was fun and challenging to get to work on something where you think your brain is going to explode the entire time. There is a blanket and pillow forts episode with Troy and Abed where there friendship is really tested.  Of course it takes blankets and pillows to really test our friendship.

 

Matt: Wow you guys are doing anther pillow fort episode?

 

DP:   When we revisit something we go pretty big. Like in paintball, I don’t know if we can top it, but it’s very different and things escalate very quickly this episode.  But   even though its about blankets and pillows, it’s also about exploring this friendship to the core which is really cool. That’s the fun thing about our show. If you just look at the episode from a visual perspective it is about a monkey or a pet, is it about a pillow fort, is it about paintball.  Beyond that it is about these characters and their relationships to each other first and foremost.

 

Matt: Are you doing another paintball episode?

 

DP: I hate to disappoint man, sorry. I’m sure NBC was like we don’t have any money left for paintball–you guys destroyed everything. If you walk around our set, there are still places in the hallways or the study room in corners, there is still paint rubbed in there, so now more paintball this year.  Maybe if we come back for a season four there’s a possibility.

 

Matt: When did the show go from a more generic comedy to the absurd, pop culture obsessed series it is now?

 

DP: I think first time where I remember feeling that the show is changing was the Halloween episode.  It was probably our sixth episode of season one and we were all in costume.  It was the first episode where we were in different wardrobe and we took on these different characters and personas, I got to play Batman which was my childhood dream–and adult dream, and continues to be my dream, and that episode in particular sort of was the first shift.  Then I remember later in the year towards the chicken fingers episode, the end of season one right before the paintball episode, was kind of like the next shift where I felt the show was starting to do some special things in terms of tone and the ensemble.  The Halloween episode from season one was the first time where every character was starting to already just kind of enter a scene and be doing their thing.  I think that’s the fun thing about doing our show.  We get one goal that is being provided in the beginning of the episode, that there is a Halloween dance or there is a battle vs. a city college, and everyone approached it from their point of view.  I think that that Halloween episode where everyone was dressed as, Eddie Murphy, a matador, I think the show started to do some fun things then. That’s the first time I thought we were on to something.

Matt: Any chance Abed’s gonna hook up with Annie?

 

DP:   I don’t know if it’s romantic, but there is an episode with Annie that I think is really interesting in terms of their relationship.  You know, Annie moves in with Troy and Abed this season–which changes the dynamic.  Up until now Troy and Abed were able to do whatever they wanted in their apartment. They can dress up as whomever they want; watch inspector spacetime for 60 hours straight, and no one will stop them.  But now with Annie, they are forces to explore the female perspective.  I think there is an interesting episode between Annie and Abed where they really kind of look into each other’s character and start getting a little deeper with each other, which is cool. In terms of romance, I don’t know about it. I think it started with Britta being the one who wanted to psychoanalyze the group.  I think in many ways, I think we are all kind of being analyzed by ourselves and the group this year.

 

Matt: It’ great how Britta, who on any other show would be the lead character, is the butt of the joke.

 

DP: It’s pretty awesome that she has to take on that role of the person whose name literally means you messed something up.  You Britta’d it, which is so fun.  Our favorite jokes are when she has to say something like, “ yes Abed exactly like Rowboat cop,” all her little mash-ups and her assumptions, it’s just really fun to watch. I don’t know if I remember seeing a character like that who starts off being your typical female lead turning into someone doing the snake or doing a really weird Christmas tree dance.

 

Matt: Why has the show hit such a nerve with the fans?

 

DP: I think it’s very specific. Sometimes it’s really hard to explain why it just works for you and what it was about it that made it special or really connect with it. You just all of a sudden are a fan and you’re like that’s my show.  I know when I first read this script I was immediately like shaking and really scared because I was basically like I want to audition for this show and I really want to play Abed, but if I don’t play Abed I’m going to be really disappointed because I’m going to be watching this show–no matter what.   The tone, characters, I think the underdog nature, some of the basic things that people can relate to, the diversity of the characters, people can find themselves in any one of the characters.  Like Britta for instance, it takes traditional ways characters are portrayed and flips them.  I think there is something really cool about that.  I think the whole group dynamic is very relevant with what people are going through right now; it’s a very diverse world.  It’s a world where you are forced to work with people sometimes that you might not seem like you’re going to get along with, but at the end of the day you got to come together and make a diarama.  That to me is really cool.  It’s fun to be part of a study group where we are looking at things from different points of view.  Like Pierce, and older generation, Shirley, her Christian perspective, Jeff, A defeated lawyer who is coming back and somebody who can be seen as too cool, but ultimately he’s there, he wants to be there and he’s our leader.  I think there is all that.  There’s also very specific geek stuff that people are really into. The Dr. Who fans, the farscape fans and people can play on that.  There’s also a monkey and he poops, so. There is something for everyone.

Matt: You may play a geeky kid on the show but you just had twins, how do you switch between you and your character?

 

DP: I’m married and I have twins– about eight weeks old now. It’s wild, Community is like a vacation compared to being home now, but it’s pretty incredible.  I think Abed has been in Greendale a little while.  I don’t have the pop culture knowledge or capacity that Abed has, I wish I did sometimes.  I grew up more of a sports fanatic.  Most of my stats that I can read off are mostly from the 80’s and 90’s baseball teams or Michael Jordan Statistics from the Chicago Bulls Championships.  But some of the stuff does cross over and as times goes on in the third season there is a melody between the two characters, between Abed and me.  It’s fun to find those connections when there are certain things that we do that I’m like, “ oh that’s something that Abed and Da

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