Community star Gillian Jacobs has confessed she loves playing a “deeply strange” character.
The actress, who plays wannabe activist Britta in the TV comedy show, said she’d previously been typecast as strippers and drug addicts.
“This is a great part for me because I feel like it’s turned into a silly, goofy, weird character and it’s a lot of fun and not many times as an actor do you get to be deeply strange. So I’m very grateful for this part,” she said.
“I’m normally either a prostitute or a stripper, also a rape victim and normally a drug addict.”
Gillian also said the show – which airs in the UK on Sony Entertainment Television (Sky 157/Virgin 193) and also stars Joel McHale – owed its success to its loyal fans.
“We have a sci-fi level of fandom with our show, it’s the sort of thing that you would normally see at a sci-fi convention, which is why I think it’s so great, because it’s like a meeting of the two worlds.
“I’m really grateful for them. They have viewing parties and flash mobs for us where they come dressed as us from the show and they print out lyrics of songs from our show and sing them.”
As any Human Being knows, the ever-brilliant and hilarious Community recently returned to NBC on Thursday night, after being benched initially when the network unveiled their midseason schedule.
A couple months ago, I visited the set of Community as the cast worked on the last few weeks of production on Season 3. I’ll have more material from this visit down the line, since there were several things occurring that I can’t go into detail on yet.
Set visit interviews are typically on the short side, as the cast are usually in the middle of filming and sometimes only available for a few minutes, due to production needs. But I was lucky enough to get a much longer conversation than is the norm on these occasions with Gillian Jacobs and Alison Brie.
We were still a couple of weeks from learning Community’s return date at this point, but Jacobs and Brie spoke about how much the fan support during their hiatus meant, what it’s like seeing various groups of “shippers” react to the show and much more, while giving a few hints about what’s to come – even as they both laughed about the fact that they were having trouble recalling everything they’d shot through the season. Oh, and you’ll see a reference to them wearing “crazy costumes” while we spoke, but what those costumes were has to remain quiet for the time being, I’m afraid!
IGN: What was it like hearing you guys weren’t going to be airing initially this year, but then seeing how the fans quickly mobilized and showed their love for this show?
Jacobs: Obviously it was disappointing to be pulled from the schedule, but I had kind of willfully forgotten about the fact that 30 Rock had to come back. So once they made the announcement I was like, “Oh, yeah.” Something was going to happen along those lines because there were one too many shows for Thursday. So it was disappointing, but I really think it was encouraging to us that they didn’t reduce our episode order.
And then the fans, they’re everything that we always hoped and dreamed they would be. They’re the best. They are so resourceful and organized and creative. They’re not just sending things to NBC. They’re tweeting our advertisers that aired during our final episodes [in 2011] and saying, “I saw your ad for Yoplait, and I really enjoyed it during Community. Thank you so much for supporting Community.” And they’re having flash mobs in New York and LA and around the country. They’re just the best. The number of “Save Community” Twitter accounts that have sprung up in the last couple months, it’s really incredible. It makes you want to keep fighting when you see how hard they’re fighting to keep the show on the air.
Alison Brie: I feel like it actually gave us a great boost, morale-wise, seeing the way the fans have stuck by the show and taken up… what am I trying to say?
Jacobs: The mantle!
Brie: Yes! With their flash mobs and their support online. I’m almost never felt prouder to be on the show because we’re suddenly so able to see the impact the show has had on people and how much they enjoy it and missed it being on. It’s really special.
IGN: You’re coming back on with a run of 12 new episodes. On one hand it’s like, “There’s been no Community on!” But then it’s like, “There’s so much to look forward to!”
Brie: It’ll be the equivalent to when you miss a show and you don’t catch it from the beginning so you rent it on DVD and watch them all in a row.
NBC’s “Community” is the best show on TV.
There was previously just a mountain of love letters, fan art and petitions to prove it. Now, it has an award. With the help of its Twitter-happy cast and a tireless fanbase, “Community” took down AMC’s force of a zombie show “The Walking Dead” by more than 11,000 votes to win Hulu’s 2012 Best in Show competition. Greendale’s finest fended off comedy’s juggernauts — “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” “New Girl” and “Modern Family” — to earn the title. Now, it’s officially part of TV’s comedy pantheon. And, yes, it’s officially streets ahead.
The cast of “Community” have won 2 awards at the TV Guide Magazine Fan Favorites awards for “Favorite Comedy” and “Favorite Ensemble”!
It’s critically acclaimed, stars some of the biggest names in US comedy like Chevy Chase, Donald Glover and Joel McHale and the mere threat of cancellation sparked fan protests across the US, yet for UK audiences Community may be a bit of an undiscovered gem. Ahead of its second series airing, we spoke to one of its stars, Gillian Jacobs, to find out what all the fuss is about.
Q: So Gillian, would you like to explain a little bit about what Community is about?
A: It’s set in a community college and it’s a group of students who form a study group together, but then the show kind of takes a strange left turn and they end up having all these crazy adventures together as a group. We have a halloween party that turns into a zombie film, we spoof a lot of movies and TV and pop culture references, but it’s also a show with really endearing characters and a heart to it.
Q: How do you identify with your character on Community, Britta, I gather she’s a former anarchist?
A: I think that my character on Community is a little bit more serious than I am. She needs to learn to loosen up a little bit, but I definitely understand her passion for causes and wanting to help people, it usually blows up in her face and that’s happened quite often in my life. So I think I identify with someone who wants to do good, and then horrible things end up happening.
Q: Any examples of that either on the show or in real life?
A: Usually I end up stumbling all over myself, I trip and fall a lot. In high school I was much more self-righteous and got myself in trouble a lot taking a very principled stance on things, and I try to be less black and white about a lot now and relax a bit but I had a soapbox in high school and I don’t think that made me very popular.
Q: What made you take on the role of Britta when the show started?
A: Well I felt that the script for the pilot was really strong. It was one of the best pilot scripts that I’d read, so that was one reason. I also felt like I understood the character, I really understood where she was coming from and you know when the creator of the show offered me the part it just felt that I knew that girl, the writing was so sharp I felt lucky to be a part of it.
Q: Would you ever consider going back to community college yourself and if so what would you like to study?
A: I would really love to take some academic classes at some point because I don’t have an education, I went to an acting conservatory, so I would love to take some history classes, some literature classes, things to do with arts, I think that would be great.
Check out a promo for tonight’s all new episode of “Community”!
Gillian Jacobs dishes on fan support that helped keep ‘Community’ on air, teases the season and speculates who might hook up with who at Glendale Community College.
David Krumholtz, Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter, Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Knighton, Ahna O’Reilly and Ned Beatty have been cast in the dark comedy “Teddy Bears.”
Jennifer Westin is producing the indie pic through her Covert Prods. banner with Karina Miller exec producing. Shooting begins next week in Joshua Tree, Calif.
“Teddy Bears” follows three couples who head to the desert to help a friend heal after the death of his mother. They would do anything for him — except for the one thing he wants.
Script is by Thomas Beatty, who directs along with his wife Rebecca Fishman. The film is loosely based on their experiences in the year leading up to their marriage.
Krumoholtz is starring in the pilot “Partners” while Lynskey was in “Hello I Must Be Going.” O’Reilly was in “The Help” and Knighton is in “Happy Endings.”
Krumholtz is repped by Gersh and The Collective. Lynskey is repped by Gersh. Ritter is repped by ICM and The Burstein Co. Jacobs is repped by UTA and Principal Entertainment. O’Reilly is repped by WME and Luber Roklin Entertainment. Knighton is repped by UTA and 3 Arts.
The third season of Community has unexpectedly turned into a showcase for Gillian Jacobs’ Britta Perry. Britta was originally conceived as half of a will-they/won’t-they couple, but the show floundered over what to do with the character after those first few episodes. By the halfway mark of the first season, however, Community discovered Jacobs’ skills at broad comedy, and the show hasn’t looked back since, playing up Britta’s sheer devotion to whatever she’s invested in at the moment. In the third season, that’s included becoming a therapist, thanks to her new major in psychology. Jacobs recently talked with The A.V. Club about the competence in Britta’s incompetence, how she and her character both love NPR, and the highs and lows of the show’s obsessive fandom.
The A.V. Club: Recently, you tweeted a photo of yourself wearing a T-shirt with Troy and Abed as Calvin and Hobbes, which originated online. How aware are you guys of your extreme Internet Community following?
Gillian Jacobs: We know that it’s strong; we know that it’s hardy; we know that it’s rabid. But I would say all the ins and outs of it, we’re not so aware of. Whenever someone tweets us a fan-art photo or something like that, then it comes to our attention. But I don’t know that we know all the nooks and crannies of our fandom.
AVC: You have this huge thing talking about you that you can’t constantly monitor. Is that something you have to put out of your mind?
GJ: Well, I think the nature of the chatter for our show is by and large positive, and they’ve been so supportive of us, and I feel like they’re basically a promotion machine for us. So I feel nothing but positive, happy things about it. Maybe if they hated our show, I’d be trying to ignore it more. [Laughs.] But given the fact that they’re really advocates of us, and that they are spreading the word and making their friends and family watch the show, I’m excited that there’s a large group of people talking about us online.
AVC: This has been a really good season for Britta, so far. How much did you know about her arc for the season, going in?
GJ: I didn’t really know anything about her arc going in. Originally, in “Paintball 2” [“For A Few Paintballs More”] last year is when I announced that I had decided to be a psych major, and then they cut it from that episode. So I didn’t know, going into this season, if I had no longer decided to be a psych major, but then I guess it turned out that they wanted to save it for the season-three première.
So I had a hint about that, but other than that, I didn’t really know anything. We tend not to know anything about the upcoming episodes. Sometimes they’ll send out a casting call, and I’ll find out more information from my agent forwarding me the casting notice, and I know about an episode that we’re gonna start shooting the next week. We know very little. [Laughs.]
Gillian Jacobs, who plays unstable do-gooder Britta Perry on NBC’s “Community,” will take part in a live Web chat hosted by Show Tracker at 11 a.m. PST on Thursday, March 22.
Stop by LATimes.com to take part in the chat on Thursday!