Unlike the self-righteous former anarchist she plays on NBC’s meta-comedy Community, Gillian Jacobs maintains a pretty tame lifestyle, heavy on mom-friendly tunes and early bedtimes. But she’s got an eclectic musical past. Jacobs rang up SPIN from Los Angeles, where she is currently working on the show’s fourth season, to reveal the soundtrack to her life.
What was the last concert you attended?
I saw Wilco at the Wiltern [in Los Angeles] a couple of months ago and they were awesome. I love Wilco. I don’t go to concerts often, so I’ll probably be giving you the dorkiest answers ever. I impressed my mom recently because she heard of Big Freedia and sissy bounce on NPR and she asked if I knew about it. I told her I had been to a Freedia show and it blew her mind! When you can impress your mom by saying you’ve been to someone’s concert you know you’re pretty lame.
What was the first concert you went to?
When I was in junior high my aunt offered me tickets to a Sarah McLachlan concert and I was scared to go because I was afraid that people would be doing drugs. So I turned them down. Then I decided I could make it through a Barenaked Ladies show. I remember wearing overalls and it being very uncomfortable.
Growing up, did your parents object to anything you listened to?
There were definitely bands and musicians I liked that drove my mother insane. I probably liked them all the more for it! Björk drove my mom nuts. What I listened to was actually pretty mom-friendly for the most part. I wasn’t very rebellious.
Do you remember what you were listening to the first time you smoked pot?
I’ve never smoked pot in my life.
Yes, seriously. See, I told you I’d give the lamest answers! This is going to be one palette-cleanser of an interview.
Well, how about the song you associate with your first kiss?
Oh, God. He was like, a fundamentalist Christian during middle school. He was really into Christian ska at the time. So yes, I associate my first kiss with Christian ska.
Was there skanking afterwards?
That’s the dance with the kind of kicks and throwing your arms back and forth? No skanking — just getting down with some ska for the Lord.
If you were to curate a festival, who would be on the bill?
It would be a weird festival that I would make sure was over early at night. I love Robyn and definitely some Stevie Wonder. Probably Wilco and I’d put Donald Glover [a.k.a., her Community costar Childish Gambino] in there. Oh, and I’d have a Pharcyde reunion and everything would be wrapped up by 7 p.m.
Speaking of co-workers, who has musical taste similar to yours on-set?
Definitely Danny Pudi. Sometimes we go in his trailer and listen to ’90s rap, especially when our energy levels are really dipping. We’ll put on Biggie or N.W.A or Public Enemy. It’s just us two, dancing and rapping.
Whose music has helped you over a breakup?
I used to like to make myself sad so I would listen to Bill Callahan as Smog. I listen to a lot of Smog and Robyn. “Dancing on My Own” is actually a really sad song! It has totally made me cry.
Do you have a go-to karaoke song?
Probably something like Dolly Parton, even though she’s got crazy range and I have none. I’d do “Jolene” so everyone could sing along and cover the fact that I have a terrible voice.
What song would you want played at your funeral?
That’s a real tough question. I think some Philip Glass. It’s a bit unexpected, so it would stun people out of being sad and they’d just pay attention to the music!
Community 4×02 “Paranormal Parentage” – While on their way to Vicki’s (Danielle Kaplowitz) Halloween costume party, the study group makes a detour to Pierce’s (Chevy Chase) mansion when they learn he accidentally locked himself in his panic room. As Pierce languishes behind locked doors, the group searches the dark and eerie house for the book that holds the code to the door. Along the way they encounter a few of the house’s secrets. Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover and Jim Rash also star.
Attention Greendale students: Community is finally back! This week, the series returns to NBC’s Thursday primetime line-up for the first time since May 2012. To get us even more psyched for the long-delayed season premiere, study group members Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs called us up to chat about their senior year, Britta and Annie’s evolving friendship, and why they can’t help reading fan-written Community porn.
TWoP: You finished filming the season a while ago now. Are you excited that people are finally going to be able to see it?
Alison Brie: Yeah, we’re so full of anticipation. I’m glad the day is finally here because we’ve been waiting so long to see these episodes. So I’m really excited and I feel like everybody is really excited.
TWoP: Certainly the fanbase is going crazy.
Alison: Absolutely! And the fans are the only reason we’re on the air. It’s always been popular online, but the thing that’s only started happening this year for me is that I’ve been out in public and people have come up to me and been like, “One more week!” That’s all they say, and I’m like “Yeah!” And we have a little moment. It’s really cool.
TWoP: It’s a good thing you know what they’re talking about. That sentence could go a number of different ways.
Gillian: Yeah, “One more week… till you die!” [Laughs]
TWoP: It’s been fun to watch how Britta and Annie’s friendship has evolved over the course of the show. Has that been equally enjoyable for you both to play?
Gillian: I like that it flipped at a certain point and Annie started mentoring Britta.
Allison: Yeah, it’s always been a sisterly relationship. It was a bit competitive at first with Jeff, but we got that out of the way very quickly and then it was always Annie looking up to Britta. And now it’s flipped around and it’s like, “Maybe I can give her some advice.”
Gillian: Yeah, it took Annie a little too long to realize that Britta didn’t know what the hell was going on. I really enjoyed the “Blade” episode last season where she was calling me a lying junkie and locking me in her bedroom. And it’s interesting to see that dynamic play out this season with Britta joining the Troy/Abed/Annie household sometimes.
TWoP: Community is a big target for ‘shippers, who have paired up pretty much every study group partner at this point. Have you ever seen any Annie/Britta shipping?
Alison: Oh yeah.
Gillian: Yeah, definitely. Alison and I did a photo shoot for GQ that probably prompted a lot of that shipping. I think we’ve seen every possible fan combination. Donald [Glover] sent me some fan porn of Troy and Britta that someone had sent to him.
Alison: I saw some with Troy and Abed.
TWoP: So you do read Community fan fic?
Alison: Just the porn. [Laughs]
Gillian: I read enough to know what it was and then I was like, “Oh my!”
Alison: I just saw pictures! Mine was like pornographic cartoons.
Gillian: Oh, mine was a written-out thing. I just scanned it.
TWoP: Maybe someone can go through and change all the names, publish it and it can become the next 50 Shades of Grey.
Gillian: Yup — Seven Shades of Weird.
TWoP: Are there any Season 4 episodes that you’re really excited for fans to see?
Alison: The Halloween episode is really cool. It has a kind of Scooby-Doo vibe and people who know the study group know that kind of clicks nicely with our dynamic already. It makes a lot of sense to have us in a Scooby-Doo situation. We go to Pierce’s mansion and everything is super-weird and very ’80s. That was really fun. I also love the finale that we shot this season. It’s kind of going to tap into some of that darkest timeline stuff and things that the fans who have been watching from the show from the beginning will really love. So stick through all 13 episodes, guys! You can make it.
TWoP: It’s it weird to think that viewers will be watching the Halloween episode five months after Halloween?
Alison: I think it makes it extra special! [Laughs] It just gives everybody another chance to celebrate those holidays that we love so much.
Gillian: Once again, we’re the most unique show on television! We’re celebrating Halloween in March.
TWoP: Obviously there were some major changes that occurred during the off season. How difficult was it to get back into the groove when you came back to start Season 4?
Alison: Once you get all of us into a room, it’s pretty much the same. It just takes a couple seconds. For us as a group, our dynamic hasn’t really changed. We feel like we have these other brothers and sisters now. Day in and day out, Season 4 was still long hours and it was still weird and it was still Community.
TWoP: The chemistry amongst the cast has always been so great to watch. Do you guys spend a lot of time hanging out together off-set?
Alison: We definitely try to see each other as much as possible. It’s tough, because during filming, you see each other every single day for hours and hours and know every detail about each other’s lives. And then when we break, everyone has other stuff going on, which is great, but everyone’s busy with their own things and we don’t see each other as much as we would like.
Gillian: We do get some good email chains and mass group texts going. I think that it’s always strange for us to not be shooting, because you sort of mark the time of the year by the season of Community. Like, we’d normally be shooting right now. I drove by the Paramount lot yesterday and it felt pretty weird to be driving by and not pulling inside to go to set.
TWoP: Have you heard whether or not the show has been picked up for another season or are you still in the dark?
In Unison: Yeah…
Gillian: It might not be until May that we know what’s going on.
Alison: But we love being in the dark. It’s where we live. It’s our natural state of being. We’re the Mole People of television.
TWoP: Besides Community, what are some of your other favorite shows on the air right now?
Gillian: RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Alison: I love Girls. And I loved, loved, loved 30 Rock.
Gillian: Yeah, I cried at the finale. I was weeping and made people feel weird.
Alison: I cried at the finale, too!
Gillian: Also, that 30 Rock finale spoke to us as actors on Community in such a specific way. It wasn’t intended to, but all the stuff about being on a show that’s maybe underwatched, but means so much to the people on it rang true. I was crying. I was sobbing.
Alison: Me too. I didn’t cry until the end and then it kind of hit me and I tried to hide it.
Gillian: That scene with Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan in the strip club killed me. And of course it was in a strip club!
TWoP: So you weren’t like “Great, that show is finally over. Now we’re definitely getting that timeslot!”
In Unison: No!
Gillian: That was the show I was obsessed with before Community. I couldn’t wait for it every week and I quoted it constantly.
Alison: I feel like 30 Rock and The Office were part of what made me excited to book a show that was going to be on Thursday nights on NBC. Those were the things I was looking up to and thinking, “Oh my God… we’re going to be like that show.”
TWoP: Speaking of Girls, were you excited to watch Donald’s guest spot?
Gillian: Definitely! I couldn’t watch that sex scene though.
Alison: Oh my God! I feel like I knew it was going to happen and was still so shocked!
Gillian: Yeah, it was like “There he is! Oh my! They’re naked and they’re doing it. Okay!” I closed my eyes.
Alison: I didn’t. I rewound it and watched it like, three times. [Laughs]
1031 Films LLC, a Cleveland-based independent film production company, announces today that its landmark feature film, Cleveland, I Love You, has been retitled and rebranded to MADE IN CLEVELAND. Shot here in 2011 and 2012, MADE IN CLEVELAND—an anthology of short films created by a group of Northeast-Ohio-based filmmakers—is the largest-ever independent film project produced by a local crew.
According to Eric Swinderman, founder of 1031 Films and a principal in the project, the film’s new title better reflects the theme and spirit of the project, a collection of 11 short films that each tackle “life, love and the pursuit of happiness … in Cleveland” in diverse ways. The change is also meant to differentiate the film from other well-known anthology film concepts, such as the “Cities of Love” franchise that includes the previously released films Paris, Je T’Aime and New York, I Love You.
“Cleveland is a special city, with a distinctive culture and reputation, and MADE IN CLEVELAND is a reflection of those qualities,” says Swinderman, who had a hand in writing, directing and editing several of the shorts. “Each of the 11 stories is told through the unique viewpoint of Clevelanders. Love, loss, success and failure—these are themes you’ll see in most films, but not in the way presented in MADE IN CLEVELAND. Because the film is also the work of a large group of Cleveland-based writers, directors, cinematographers, actors and artists, MADE IN CLEVELAND is also very much a double entendre as well.”
Early in its production, MADE IN CLEVELAND attracted national attention, drawing the participation of Jamie Babbit—a Shaker Heights native who has gone on to direct the feature films But I’m a Cheerleader and The Quiet, and many television series, including The Middle, United States of Tara and Smash—as well as her writing partner, Karey Dornetto, whose screen credits include South Park and the Emmy-nominated Portlandia. Babbit and Dornetto’s contribution to the film features the acting work of Busy Philipps, star of the TBS comedy Cougar Town, and Gillian Jacobs, star of the NBC comedy Community.
Babbit is joined by award-winning Cleveland-area directors Swinderman, Robert C. Banks, Sage O’Bryant, Tony Hartman, Cigdem Slankard and Amy Tankersley Swinderman.
MADE IN CLEVELAND also stars more than 150 Cleveland-based union and non-union actors, including Cleveland icons Robin Swoboda, a news anchor with WKYC-TV; Leon Bibb, a news anchor with WEWS NewsChannel 5; and Project Runway alum and fashion designer Valerie Mayen.
MADE IN CLEVELAND completed post-production in late 2012 and is seeking acceptance to several leading film festivals throughout 2013. 1031 Films hopes to secure a widespread distribution deal for the film sometime this year.
“We’re very eager for audiences to view this meaningful film,” says Swinderman. “It represents a triumphant achievement for Cleveland filmmakers and artists, and offers something for everyone.”
For more information about MADE IN CLEVELAND, visit http://www.madeinclevelandmovie.com.
Thursday is a good day to study hard. Community Season 4 premieres Thursday February 7th on NBC!
If you know any Asian-American community college Spanish teachers with memory loss, they may have Changnesia. Tune into the Community Season 4 premiere, Thursday February 7th on NBC.
Check out this new preview clip from the new season of “Community”, which premieres February 7th on NBC!
Britta “therapizes” Abed, encouraging him to go to his happy place!
Community 4×01 “History 101″ – The Greendale Study Group returns from summer break ready to tackle their fourth year of Community College. Jeff (Joel McHale) is particularly focused on graduating and is just a few credits away. When there is a mix-up with a history class registration, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) institutes an elaborate physical competition for class space. Meanwhile, Britta (Gillian Jacobs) helps Abed (Danny Pudi) deal with the anxiety he is experiencing over the thought of the study group graduating and breaking up. Chevy Chase, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover and Ken Jeong also star.
Check out this sneak peek video from the upcoming season of “Community”! The show returns Thursday, February 7 at 8/7c on NBC!
Don’t miss this holiday gift from Community — an exclusive sneak peek! Watch the Season Premiere Thursday, February 7th at 8/7c on NBC.