Sure, John Goodman is an acting legend, but he’s so comically self-deprecating you’ll never get him to agree. I learned this when Small Screen Scoop took part in a conference call with John Goodman and Joel McHale yesterday, to promote Community season 3. Goodman is guest starring as Vice Dean Laybourne, an antagonistic character who makes life hard for everyone at Greendale while running its most profitable section – the air conditioning repair school
Fans may be relieved to know that Pierce (Chevy Chase) will no longer be the villain on the show. (McHale joked that even going into season three, “….The great thing is that, you know, like Chevy still doesn’t know what’s happening. No, wait, I’m kidding. I’m sorry.”)
On Vice Dean Laybourne vs Dean Pelton
“He’s got [the dean’s] privates in a vice,” Goodman said.
Dean Pelton dresses up in costumes a lot. What would Vice Dean Laybourne dress up as if he had to? “Whatever the Head of the Illuminati wears, that or a makeshift Nazi uniform.” And what about Goodman’s personal preference? “Actually, I wish they made XXX size Armani suits, but they don’t. They don’t have enough God damned material. Hey, I don’t have enough material that’s why I’m on the phone.” Touche! (But patently untrue.)
So, we know that Laybourne hates the Dean. But who does Laybourne like? Troy (Donald Glover) will be playing the Luke Skywalker to Laybourne’s Darth Vader. He wants to seduce him to his side. And we all know that Troy is handy with tools.
When we spoke, Goodman made it clear that he had only filmed a couple days for his role so far. He estimated his character would be around for six episodes. That is, he shares, “unless they can get rid of me more cheaply!”
As you might expect, the cast of Community is eager to work with Goodman. McHale and Goodman had good naturally complimentary phone chemistry on the conference call, but it was not from a direct result of working together. At the time of the call, it seemed they hadn’t really gotten any big scenes against each other yet.
The Popular Guy
Goodman said, “I usually work one person per session. I don’t know what’s going on [with the season as a whole]. I’ve got so much to do on the days that I do work, I don’t have time to goof around with everyone.”
But in fact, “A lot of the actors just go and watch him so he doesn’t steal anything,” Mchale joked. “All the actors are begging the writers to put them in scenes with John. John? I’m not joking about that.” Prefacing this next part with an apologize to John for gushing so much he added, “Having him on the show is like we’ve got the Stealth Bomber and no one can touch us. We are all so excited and we wonder what bet he lost to have to come on the show.”
Goodman Loves Community
This isn’t a therapy session, but we still want to know how Goodman feels about Community. About working on the show he quipped, “Me likey.” But he had even more to say. “They’re a wonderful ensemble. It’s not a typical situational comedy. Its risky, and it’s a combination of great things. I’m just dying to get back into comedy again. That’s what I like to do. I enjoy it. And I’ve been doing pretty heavy guys lately, so you know, it’s nice to lighten up. Not that that’s any easier, I mean the stuff – I had pages of dialogue yesterday that was really precise and – but it’s good to stretch like that.”
Goodman back on TV
Goodman mentioned he is definietly up for doing another 22-episode TV show, but it has to be right.”They’re no fun if they’re not right.” He reminded us that he’s had two failed pilots since Roseanne. But he’s still interested in it. “There’s a great sense of achievement because it’s so damn hard. There’s a lot of ingredients to doing it and it’s – it keeps your skills going. It’s – you know, you have to learn how to juggle again and it’s just a great thing. Plus, there’s a great payoff when it works. And I like to laugh almost more than anything in the world and it’s – if you can make somebody else laugh that’s a great thing.
Goodman says, sure, he knows how to repair air conditioners. “I’m the Stanislofsky of air conditioning repair.” But actually, “I know how to turn them on, off, pick up a phone when they break. I know not to urinate in them, unless it’s somebody else’s air conditioning unit.”
McHale sarcastically noted, “There’s been an outcry from air conditioning repair people that are like, ‘What, you didn’t do any – what the hell? He doesn’t know how to repair them at all?'”
The New York Times
Something I’d be remiss not to point out is another golden Goodman moment when there was someone (Cindy Pearlman) from The New York Times on the phone. Pearlman asked about his weight loss and Goodman replied, I – you know what, it’s sad. I worked my ass off last – I’m sorry this is the New York Times – Mr. Goodman worked his derrière off.”
What is it like to work with John Goodman? Most of us won’t get the chance. Joel McHale fills us in, “Oh, boy. Well, John is terribly disruptive. He parked his car on the stage and said, ‘This is my parking space,’ and…” Interrupting, Goodman clarified, “I parked it on a stagehand. Let’s be specific.”
During the course of talking with Goodman, he called me “scoopie” about four times, citing it as a word he probably never thought he’d say. He enjoyed riffing on the site name. He also said Television Without Pity sounded like Doctors Without Borders.
Joel McHale Interview – Community Season 3 Spoilers of Monkeys and Matches!
Community’s season 3 premieres on Thursday, September 22 on NBC.
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