Last time we chatted with “Community” star Danny Pudi, he was launching a contest with Speed Stick, asking fans to send him their most awkward stories through Twitter. The winning story was then made into a video, with Pudi narrating… But mostly that meant we got to chat with Pudi one more time about the contest, as well as the upcoming season of “Community.” Oh, and if a certain red-haired former “Doctor Who” companion would be showing up any time soon.
“I feel much better about myself, because now I know I’m not the only one who goes through awkward situations frequently!” said Pudi as we chatted on the phone, talking about the contest. Still, that doesn’t mean every situation was ready for video. “There were some ones that were a little uncomfortable,” continued Pudi. “There were some ones that involved underwear… Funny stories, but maybe they should be kept as stories.”
Continuing on awkward moments, Pudi noted that his most uncomfortable bit was last season on “Community,” dressed as Jamie Lee Curtis from “True Lies,” showing his family around the set. “I was trying to show them around set, but there wasn’t a lot of eye contact being made,” said Pudi, laughing. “The only way I could connect with them was discussing the general discomfort I have in women’s shoes. We all agreed on that!”
Moving on to “Community,” Pudi told us that they’ve just finished filming episode five of the new season, with episode six starting the next week. Even more exciting? “We just filmed an episode show-casing the Inspector Spacetime Convention,” said Pudi. “It combined multiple things for me which were hilarious and exciting.” Pudi added that the whole episode takes place at the Convention, and it guest stars “Little Britain’s” Matt Lucas playing a friend of Pudi’s character Abed; and “Battlestar Galactica’s” Tricia Helfer.
“’Battlestar Galactica’ is my favorite show of all time,” said Pudi. “So for me to meet her in the make-up trailer, and to show her I was working on set, I was allowed to be there, and I didn’t freak out was pretty exciting.” In fact, this was the second time Pudi had seen Helfer. “I had seen her at a party, but was too shy to go approach her, I was with my wife, I was too uncomfortable,” continued Pudi. “And I had just seen ’Battlestar Galactica’ when I first saw her, I couldn’t even talk to her!”
Speaking of Inspector Spacetime, will soon-to-be former Doctor Who Companion Karen Gillan be showing up any time soon? “I don’t know,” said Pudi. “We’re all really excited about that, we saw the video. I don’t know if the Producers are in talks with her, or if they can get her. I know that she’s interested, and that we’d love to have her on the show. That would be huge for us. But I don’t get a say in any of these things.
Moving on, we chatted about the change in show-runners from Dan Harmon to Moses Port and David Guarascio. There’s certainly been a lot of ink about how “Community” will be the same show we know and love, but there’s no real way a show can stay the same because, you know, people are different. So six episodes in, what’s changed? “Things do change, they have to change,” said Pudi. “That’s sort of inevitable. There is only one Dan Harmon, so I think his brand of humor, and some of his creations… Really intricate character exploration, and his readiness to go as weird as possible – not just with Abed, but with other characters… We don’t have that. That’s gone, because Dan is gone.”
Continuing, Pudi said, “What we do have is a new team of writers we have David Guarascio and Moses Port, as well as a bunch of other writers who are really excited about ’Community,’ excited to work on this show, and bring other storylines to life. One of the things people talked about is really digging deeper into the relationships of the show. Some people will be excited about that.”
One of those relationships? Early in the season, we’ll meet Jeff Winger’s Dad. “I’m excited for that,” said Pudi. “As a fan of the show, I’m excited to see what made Winger, Winger. So we wrap that up early on, which I think is important to wrapping up the arc of Jeff Winger.”
And no, we didn’t pick up on the thread left dangling there, but it does beg the question: is Joel McHale done with the show after this? Maybe that’s a question for another interview…
Moving on, Pudi did note that the Halloween episode is more of a return to form for the show; which may be because it’s written by Megan Ganz, basically the number two writer from the Harmon era. “It’s very true to ’Community’ spirit, we go full throttle towards something,” said Pudi. “It’s in Pierce’s mansion, which is pretty freaky.”
You can check out all the HandleIt winners here, and Community’s new season kicks off Friday, October 19th on NBC.