By day, he's goofy, uninhibited Dean Pelton on ''Community''. By night, he's a screenwriter who may just snag an Oscar nomination

By Benjamin Wood
January 20, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST
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Fans of NBC’s Community know Jim Rash as the geekily flamboyant Dean Pelton. But thanks to his script for The Descendants, which he adapted from the novel of the same name with Nat Faxon and director Alexander Payne, the comic might be adding ”Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter” to his résumé soon. ”It’s so weird,” Rash says of the awards attention. ”Recently, I was in drag all day at Community, then I was at [the Critics’ Choice Awards]. I was like, ‘This is the perfect day.”’ Rash, a vet of L.A.’s Groundlings troupe, got the Descendants gig through The Way, Way Back, a coming-of-age road-trip comedy that he wrote with Faxon. The movie never got made, but ”it got us into meetings,” Rash says. ”One of those was with Alexander Payne’s production company.” Now the pair are writing a comedy about a dysfunctional family for Fox Searchlight and plan to direct The Way, Way Back themselves this summer. As for his day job, Community fans can breathe easy. Rash has no plans to give up acting for writing. ”My lit agents want us to write more, but I love performing,” he says. ”It’s really just been the best of both worlds to me.”

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