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Joel McHale Looks Back On Community And Weighs In On The Movie - Exclusive

Fans of NBC's "Community" went through an emotional ordeal over the series' six seasons, to say the least. They watched as creative differences led to disputes, beloved cast and crew members left the show, and the series itself moved from NBC to the now-defunct streaming platform Yahoo! Screen before getting canceled. But through it all, what remained was an underrated treasure trove of content that touched on pretty much every entertainment genre there is, slam-dunking pop culture references along the way.

As incredible as the experience of watching "Community" is, it probably can't compare to the experience of actually making that show. Series star Joel McHale agrees. In an exclusive interview with Looper, the actor who perfectly embodied the snarky yet soft-hearted Jeff Winger looked back on his "Community" days with heart-aching fondness.

The show, which aired from 2009 to 2015, has been met with revived enthusiasm since it came to Netflix in April 2020. Nowadays, "Community's" ever-growing fanbase is begging for a revival — be it a new season or a much-anticipated movie – so Looper also asked McHale to weigh in on the speculation.

Joel McHale says the memories bring him to tears

Looking back on "Community," Joel McHale said first and foremost that he was blown away by the cast and crew he got to work with. "I knew when I was on the show that it was a good show because the scripts were so good and I couldn't believe how talented everyone is," he told Looper. "Everyone is such an assassin when it comes to talent and their joke telling." 

As great as all that joke-telling was on camera, McHale said that the best parts came "in between the shooting of the show, like when we're waiting around to do the next take or they're flipping the room and it was just being with that group of people."

McHale got to relive the whole experience in a way earlier this year, when the "Community" cast got together for a virtual table read to raise money for charity. "It was like a family reunion," he said, adding that it was a very bittersweet experience. "I got done with that and just burst out crying. I just walked, went and found my wife, and [said], 'Boy, do I miss all those people.' ... I have no idea why God has been so nice to me, [and I thought], 'Here I am. What happened? How come? Thank you.'"

Joel McHale shares some of his favorite Community moments

With 110 episodes of "Community" to enjoy, it's hard to even begin to nail down the best ones. Countless media outlets — from Variety to Forbes to Entertainment Weekly –have tried to rank them, but there's just no consensus. Looper asked Joel McHale to name his favorite episodes, and while he also admitted that it's a "very difficult" task, he did share a few standout experiences.

Specifically, McHale said, "When Pierce's will is given to us — boy, that was funny." He's referring to the "Cooperative Polygraphy" episode early on in Season 5, in which the study group has to submit to polygraphs after Pierce (Chevy Chase) dies. Hilarious chaos ensues.

"When we did the paintball episode, I got to be an action hero," McHale also recalled. While there are several epic paintball episodes over multiple seasons of "Community," Season 1's "Modern Warfare" episode is McHale's favorite. He previously described the experience of shooting the episode as fulfilling "a boyhood fantasy of being in an action movie" (via Vulture).

Another favorite of McHale's is the "Dungeons & Dragons" episode from Season 2, which finds the cast playing a dramatic version of the magical storytelling game. There's intrigue, innuendos, mythical creatures, Pierce on a giant throne, and everything in between. McHale recalled to Looper that at the time he "knew this was one of the best things [he'd] been a part of."

Joel McHale on the future of Community

Since even before the show went off the air, fans have been rallying for a "Community" movie. And they're not alone. "Boy, I hope there's a movie," Joel McHale told Looper, prompting us to ask him exactly what the chances are of that happening.

"If you asked me one year ago before the table read, I would have lied to you and said 'absolutely.' ... But in the back of my mind... I'm always [thinking], 'That's a hard hurdle to get over.'" 

However, McHale did admit that the odds are probably better now than they've ever been for that #SixSeasonsandaMovie dream to come true: "With the success on Netflix ... how it's gotten to this brand-new life, I think there's more possibility than ever." McHale's not the only one. "Community" creator Dan Harmon told the Wrap in May 2020 that conversations were taking place to get a movie in the works.

But before you get too excited, conversations might be the only thing happening. McHale confirmed to Looper, "We sure don't have a shoot date, and I don't think there's a script." Though he wants it to happen, McHale admitted these types of projects are easier said than done. "With every movie you need money," he said, also noting that getting everyone on the same schedule is "one of the harder things to get together." Of course, there is one sure fire way to guarantee a "Community" movie, according to McHale: "If they pay everybody $50 million apiece, we're going to be fine ... everyone's on board."

Joel McHale's latest creative venture is serving as the Chief Happy Hour Officer for Q Mixers, the fastest-growing premium carbonated mixers company in the U.S.