NBC’s new sitcom Community is about a group of oddballs attending a community college; naturally, all sorts of wackiness ensues. The show comes with a considerable pedigree: Its creators and writers are vets of Arrested Development and The Sarah Silverman Program. And the cast includes two comedy favorites: Joel McHale, who plays a suspended lawyer turned student, is a cult fave from his work on E!’s The Soup; Chevy Chase is, well, Chevy Chase. As a prolific-divorcé senior who heads back to school to “keep his mind active,” the SNL legend is making his debut as a prime-time series cast member.
Had you met before this show?
Chevy Chase: We live together.
Joel McHale: We hadn’t met, but when I heard Chevy Chase was onboard, I said, ‘Somebody please pinch me.’ Acting is what I’d always wanted to do; hosting The Soup was more because of Greg Kinnear. I thought, If I could have 5 percent of his career, I’d be happy. If I could have 2 percent of Chevy’s, that would be fine, too.
CC: If I could have twenty dollars for this interview, that’d be fine.
Chevy, Joel has a plum role in Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant!. You’ve been in tons of movies. Any advice for Joel?
CC: You’re in a movie?
CC: My advice to Joel is to promote the movie some more, so people like me know he’s in one. And by the way, I’m in a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine.
This is your first regular TV work in years, Chevy. Are you a fan of sitcoms?
CC: I never really watch them because there are so many bad ones. That doesn’t mean ours is good, necessarily. The hours are very long. I’m really pissed off, now that I think about it. It’s incredible. Twenty-three minutes on the air and I’ve got to shoot for twelve, fifteen hours a day. What the hell’s that?
By the way, I like the necklace you wear in the pilot.
CC: I love my character. Here’s this old guy who goes back to college, probably to pick up girls like he did when he was in college. And he dresses what he considers hip.
Joel, your character seems to be a younger, slightly sunnier version of Chevy’s. You guys certainly share a comedic sensibility.
CC: We do have similar perspectives. I would love to have done Joel’s part, but it turns out I’m 30 years too old. You know, it’s flattering when Joel mentions things I’ve done.
JM: Chevy’s the anchor of the show. He’s like Nolan Ryan. He might be older than the rest of us, but he throws it harder than anybody.
CC: And I weigh more than an anchor.
JM: And Nolan Ryan, on top of that anchor.
Thursdays, 9:30 p.m.
NBC. Sept. 17.