Alison Brie & Danny Pudi (Community)

Alison Brie & Danny Pudi (Community)
Interesting Tidbits

Danny Pudi is half Polish and he is fluent in the Polish Language.

Community” is in its 4th season and the show can be seen every Thursday at 8pm on NBC. With a string of new episodes, a lot has been happening at Greendale Community College. To get everyone caught up and to give us some insider information, Shakefire had the chance to interview Alison Brie (Annie Edison) and Danny Pudi (Abed Nadir) from the show. Annie is the prissy over-achiever that has loosened up as the show progressed while Danny is the all-around nerd and movie buff that is a genuinely a unique character. They both talk about everything from the upcoming episodes to their dream guest stars for the show.

SHAKEFIRE (SF): Good morning Alison and Danny! I love “Community” and I was surprised to see you both being interviewed on Breakfast Television Toronto when I turned on the TV this morning. 
DANNY PUDI (DP): Yes that’s right. We didn’t even know we were on it. (Laughing)
ALISON BRIE (AB): (Laughing) Thanks Paul.

SF: You guys are a bunch of kooky characters.
AB: The whole bunch is kooky actually.

SF: I was wondering, for the both of you, who is the most difficult person to do a scene with without breaking a scene, or laughing, and so forth?
DP: For me, it is Alison probably.
AB: Yes, probably Danny for me.
DP: Because it’s down to the point now where Alison specifically targets me.
AB: No! Danny targets me! Here’s the problem, because we’re so close and there’s inside jokes within inside other jokes, it’s like Danny just lifts an eyebrow and I just lose it. So it’s kind of like that all the time and it’s not even in just scenes where it’s just the two of us. It’s because we sit kind of across from each other at the study room table. We’ll have moments and also I think we’re probably the two worst in terms of cracking ourselves up.
DP: We allow ourselves to laugh when know it’s not going to end up in the episode. More of what we do is, I guess, we convince ourselves that it’s good for morale and for company morale.

SF: Dan Harmon, the show’s creator, had recently left the show and you guys have all new writers for the show. Were you worried about that and were you relieved that the show keeps pushing the boundaries with the new episodes?
AB: Yes. I think it’s a tough thing to learn that your show runner is not coming back to the show and Dan is such a big part of the show. I think we were a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but that’s not really a new feeling, having worked on our show for four years.

I mean when we met the new writers, they really stressed how much they loved the show and wanted to keep it the same and some of our writers were still the same. We all were certainly very vocal this season to speak to what our characters would or wouldn’t do and the way things might go on the show. We were all sort of working together to keep the show intact.

DP: Yes I think “Community” itself, the show, is very specific. I think there was a lot of fear that the show isn’t going to maintain its usual level and also if people will get it?

I think, for us, the one thing that we wanted to do and make sure that comes across this year is that our genuine love for the show and I think you’ll see that with us this year. Still, there is an extra level of responsibility we have to us, as actors, to really make sure that, we’re still staying true to who these people are and the world around Greendale. However, you can’t replace Dan Harmon beause I think he created something that’s pretty amazing and we’re forever thankful for that.

SF:  Alison, I was wondering where Jeff (Joel McHale) and Annie’s relationship is right now? Are we going to see more progression in that area this season?
AB: This season is sort of a fun season for Jeff and Annie fans because, as usual, their relationship doesn’t really progress. I think that the last episode showed a progression in terms of Annie’s maturity and their maturity sort of as friends in terms of her admitting that she sort of has a crush on Jeff.

I think that Annie will always have a crush on Jeff and I don’t know that Jeff will ever be fully comfortable really getting together with Annie. It’s not as primary a focus on Jeff’s radar as it probably is on Annie’s and that’s fair.

I think this season is just about them acknowledging and almost kind of moving past it in some ways to being good friends. But, at the same time for fans, there are some ways, without them actually getting really close, there will be some interesting things for fans later this season just between Joel. I’m trying not to tease too much, but trying to convey some certain things in an alternate reality.

SF: Danny, do you think Abed has become more of a focal point for a lot of the stories as the show has progressed over the years?
DP: Yes, I mean, I do think so. I think it has in certain ways. I think there has been a, I don’t want to say a shift, but I think maybe starting, in Season 3 especially, started to dive deeper into Abed’s mind. It’s been great because it allows us to go to these really interesting worlds. It’s a great way for us to go to an Inspector Spacetime convention or go into whatever it may be such as a space bus or going to any genre or into the Dreamatorium. I think it would be difficut to start our show that way because I think it would be difficult for people to grasp what is going on. I think it’s a little easier on the palate when you don’t go into the Dreamatorium right away in our show, but it’s been fun to kind of go there.

I’m actually relieved when it’s not an Abed-centric episode. When we do, for instance, a documentary episode, I’m excited that I’m behind the camera literally in the episode because it allows me a week to not have to memorize monologues from a movie that I haven’t seen.

SF: I was wondering if you both had a chance to think about if you think “Community”, like “Arrested Development,” is the type of show we’re going to be looking back on many years from now and thinking that it was ahead of its time?
AB: I agree with you. I do think that it’s always been a very progressive show. Dan Harmon set this precedent of really pushing the boundaries of what could be on network television and in that way I think it will take people some time to catch up with it because it’s a scary thing and something you’re not used to seeing. I sometimes wonder though, on the other hand, about how the show will age just because so many of our references are current.

But at the same time, the genius of the show is that it sort of weaves in all of those types of things. Later this season, we have our Christmas episode, which is sort of homage to an Alfred Hitchcock movie, “Rope.” So it’s not like all of our references are completely current and in the moment. Some of the stuff really spans genres and time periods and things like that.

So I’m coming back around and I do agree, but I think I’ve always felt that it’s a show that is better the second time you watch it because there’s so much going on that you catch it again later. That’s how I always felt about “Arrested Development.” I could watch it again and again. I sort of caught up. I was a person who caught up with it late. I caught up with “Freaks and Geeks” late, so I hope that we can be a show like that. Certainly our fans are amazing right now, but there’s not that many of them. If we could reach more people later that would be even better.
DP: Yes I think I am also going to start by saying I don’t know right now, but by the end of this answer I will know. I think it’s, first of all, a huge compliment for us. “Arrested Development” is my favorite comedy over the last 10 - 15 years. So I also came around to it late, watched it on DVD actually, and I was blown away by it.

I think that is part of the reason why I was able to also buy into that show and its nature because I was able to watch it in bunches and I heard about. It’s a word of mouth show and then I was able to kind of go in being like, “I’m going to give this show a full chance. I’m going to watch all three seasons right now.”

I immediately I had a common language with a bunch of people who watch “Arrested Development.” I can say, “Annyong” and immediately everyone would laugh. I think there is an amount of that within Community as well where people will start watching the show and start saying, “Pop, Pop” to each other ten years from now and it will be a nice little secret language.

SF: Who would be your dream guest stars on the show? If you could have anybody on there who would each of you pick?
AB: I’ve always thought Jason Bateman would be would be so great on the show. 
DP: I’d love that. I would also love to have Zach Galifianakis on our show. I think that would be super fun and amazing to have him in our world.
AB: Also, I think it would be so cool to have Bruce Willis on the show! Can you imaine paintball with bruce Willis?
DP: That would be so cool! Paintball, but we could the episode like the movie “Looper!” Also, I think Gillian once said Amy Sedaris. She fits perfectly in our world. That would be so great.

SF: Wow! Thank you both so much for the interview. I can’t wait for the new episodes and the rest of the season. 
DP: Thank you!
AB: Thanks Paul!

Paul Arca
Interview by Paul Arca
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