Community: Ken Jeong, Jim Rash talk Dr. Ken reunion
Dr. Ken staged a mini Community reunion last month when Joel McHale and Danny Pudi guest-starred on Ken Jeong’s ABC sitcom. The family/medical comedy will continue to make its way through the Community roster when Jim Rash appears on Friday’s episode as Devon Drake, a malpractice attorney who hopes to discredit Ken’s character as an expert medical witness.
Check out this exclusive clip from “Ken is an Expert Witness,” in which Ken (Jeong) returns to court in an attempt to salvage his reputation after being embarrassed by Drake. Before you do, though, read on as EW put these two former castmates on the stand to grill them about their reunion and the dream of a Community movie.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: With Jim’s appearance, that’s three Community alums on Dr. Ken. Coincidence or just trying to work in as many as possible?
KEN JEONG: My whole goal is to get everybody on the show from Community. It all happened with Jim as the same process it did with Joel and Danny — it was all organic. Once we got the breakdown for the character Devon Drake, the malpractice attorney that kind of rips Ken to shreds, it’s like, “Well, who better to rip Ken to shreds than Jim Rash?” It really fit perfectly, and it was the matter of just a simple text and asking: Would he be available?
JIM RASH: It’s great for me to put it into a character as a “disguise” for my own therapy. Joel and Danny have done it — I’m the third, as you said — [so] what you’re doing, Ken, is sort of doing a countdown to number one. So that means Joel is his least favorite. I’m surprised Danny is that low, since I’d have him much higher on my list. I’m in the middle, which is a safe choice; it doesn’t make me angry and doesn’t make me depressed. So I look forward to seeing who lands at number one. My guess is that it’s going be Gillian, but that seems like a given.
JEONG: [Laughs] Yeah, you see the recipe. I can’t deny that.
RASH: The best part about the system for me — again, I’m in the middle so it doesn’t offend me — is just to remind ourselves that Joel is the person that we would put at the [bottom]. If we were doing a countdown of the Top 40, he’s 40. Get it out of the way. It’s a good song, but it’s not a song that we’re going to remember.
That’s a good way to think about it.
RASH: He’ll appreciate the analogy.
How did it feel to be back working together?
JEONG: Just to work with a friend that you know, and trust, and love, it was so great. And Jim too. [Laughs]
RASH: I did not see that coming, because I was going to say genuinely how nice it is to work with friends again, and that’s it. No joke here, just good friendship. Again, I’m in the middle and I can’t be more excited about my placement.
JEONG: No, Jim Rash is a genius. I go on record saying he’s one of the funniest people I’ve worked with in my career and he always makes me laugh. I’ve learned so much from him on Community over the past six years just watching him work. It’s literally like watching a master class in acting, and he’s just so perfect in his movements. It’s not just me from the cast of Community saying this, everyone on the cast just marveled at everything that Jim Rash has done and we hang on his every movement. Even if I didn’t know him and I wasn’t fortunate enough to be friends with him, just to have him on any project is such a get. Just to share scenes with him really is a beautiful thing.
What made Community such a unique experience?
RASH: I think you are lucky when you land a job in whatever field it is, where you love your co-workers or you have a great time with them. In any world, ours specifically shooting Community, the hours can get long, but the time between is why you are doing it, in addition to making a show that you love. If you can have that kind of relationship off-screen, then it is the gift you hope for.
JEONG: For us to still keep in touch, to genuinely be friends, and be supportive of each other is a rare thing. For me, it’s a rare thing. Community was in many ways my acting school; I really didn’t get better at what I did until I got on Community.
RASH: Fun fact: We had a lot of group hugs on Community episodes. That was an insistence from the cast that we just kept hugging each other and they had to shoot it and they go, “I guess that’s the take we got.”
JEONG: Even if the scene called for us to fight and to yell at each other.
The Internet would be outraged if I didn’t ask: Any update on a Community movie?
RASH: Not at this point. I mean, we all hope because that means reunion for all of us. It means a chance to get together and have a final, final moment or chapter for Community. You never know. Creatively it could be cool soon — or later, because you could really have fun with wherever our lives have gone or if we’re still there. So we hope, but there’s no guarantee of anything. Some people, I don’t want to name names, like Ken, haven’t usually returned calls or texts, so we hope we can find him when that day comes.
JEONG: Yeah, I’m the lone wolf.
RASH: What if I had said, “Oh yeah we shot it, we just finished”?
JEONG: Hey, everyone knows I’d love to be there. Wait, you just wrapped yesterday? “Oh yeah, you didn’t even get invited to the wrap party? I knew you weren’t in the script.”
RASH: With your character we kept just saying, ”Oh, Ken just left the room.”
JEONG: “Bye Chang.”
RASH: “Yeah, Chang just left the room. Oh, he did? Hopefully we see him a little bit later.”
JEONG: That was another Asian. It was Randall Park playing the part of Chang. I never got the offer, that’s so weird. I think we would all love to do the movie, but until then it’s just nice to see each other in the interim, especially like on Dr. Ken. It definitely plays to our chemistry that we cultivated on Community and it definitely transfers over to Dr. Ken. Again, it’s really a wonderful reunion, much like how I reunited with Joel and Danny.
RASH: Number five and number four.
JEONG: That is the goal to try to get characters that can really play to the strengths of the cast at Community. There was one time that I thought of Jim for another role, but it was just too small. I wanted to make sure that if I get a role and invite one of my friends on, that it’s worth their time.
RASH: I did the smart thing of counting Joel’s lines and my lines. It’s a scale that [Ken] is working on, it’s really exact. Joel had the least, Danny had more than him, and I had more than Danny. And again, I was surprised by Danny’s placement, I would have put him really high on my list, so, Danny, if you are reading this, I bet you’re like, “Wow, this stings.” But again, I had the number of lines that didn’t make me mad or depressed. … And I asked for the most number of physical gestures because my bread and butter is to speak with my hands. Sometimes you need hands to act. It’s called hand-acting.
JEONG: As opposed to hack-acting, which is my brand of acting.
Dr. Ken airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ET.