When Community returns to NBC tonight, the study group will tackle its anxiety about Jeff graduating “early,” and Britta and Troy will be taking baby steps in their relationship. You know, the usual — holding hands, kissing, fighting in fountains, elaborate escape routes to hide sexual encounters, and Inspector Spacetime conventions. Gillian Jacobs, who plays Britta, chatted with Vulture about the show coming back, getting jealous of Lena Dunham, and why she doesn’t want a Magic Mike lap dance.
Last time we talked, you had a cameo in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. You neglected to tell me that you had won a part in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone because Steve Carell liked kissing you so much.
I think I signed some contract, early on in my career, that I will only kiss Steve Carell when I do a movie. [Laughs.] Keeps everyone else jealous.
Would you be jealous if you saw Donald Glover kissing Lena Dunham?
I could not watch him having sex with Lena! I love them both, but it was like watching my brother, and I had to close my eyes. I don’t really want to see anyone having sex with Donald.
You have a great escape route from his bedroom coming up.
Yes! That was action-packed, and I had a stunt double for some of it. They wouldn’t let me jump from window to window, although I don’t know why not! So the stunt double did the jumps and the rolls, and I climbed up the wall. There were parts of it I was a little reluctant to do, because I didn’t like my ass facing the camera. I was a little self-conscious. But it was a fun, weird sequence, with the shoes in light fixtures and the bags of doughnuts.
Brie Larson is coming up in an episode where you have a Sadie Hawkins/Sophie B. Hawkins dance. Could she be Abed’s new love interest?
Uh … Ah … Ummm … [Makes hemming and hawing noises.] I love Brie Larson. I didn’t act with Brie too much, because she’s mostly with Abed in that episode. I don’t want to get in trouble!
Because October 19 is also your birthday.
Ha! That was a sheer coincidence — I’m not that narcissistic! [Laughs.] My mom may think the two have something to do with each other, and Community does love a meta self-referential joke. But it was more how we were seeing all these tweets: “Ten more days until Community comes back.” “Five more days.” And I knew how disappointed the fans were going to be when we were not going to premiere for months, so I thought we should do something for them, some original piece of Community on the day they were supposed to get a full episode. So it’s a happy coincidence. I approached the writers about it, but I didn’t say anything beyond, “Let’s do something for the fans,” so I don’t even think they knew October 19 was my birthday. When I got the script, and every other word was “October 19 is …” I had a good laugh. I was laughing as we were shooting it. So now October 19 is the day for all good things. It’s also the date of a market crash in the eighties [Black Monday of 1987], and when I was really little, my grandfather got up at some event and said, “May we never have another October 19!” So I’m really glad we have something to replace that. I don’t think he even realized what he had said until he saw me crying. It’s okay — I’ve had a lot of therapy since.
You’ve been filming Walk of Shame. Did you pepper your co-star Elizabeth Banks with Hunger Games questions, since Community has a Hunger Games tribute in the season opener?
You know, I am not a big Hunger Games fan. I’m not anti–Hunger Games, but I don’t know anything about it other than that she’s in it. I’m more like an obsessive 30 Rock fan, and so I was asking her and James [Marsden] all about that. I wept and wept at the finale. It was so heartwarming and sad, and it was such a lovely way to go as a series. The strip-club scene was gut-wrenching. It had to be in a strip club. You can’t have a straight-up emotional scene. There had to be strippers in the foreground. I would love it if Community could have a trajectory like 30 Rock and choose when to go out.
Not when they graduate, if everyone even graduates this year?
I will say this: Some people can graduate, and some people are nowhere near that. That answers it in some part, and I think because it’s about this whole enormous world beyond just school, Community could go on, even if they all graduated. Thank God I don’t have to come up with how, and Britta is nowhere near graduating. She just got her major! And I don’t think she should be allowed to practice psychology for money anytime soon, and it doesn’t count when you just accidentally occasionally give good advice. By the way, I love Vulture. I read it every day. And I loved that Paul Giamatti video — his reading of Magic Mike killed me.
They’re going to do Magic Mike as a Broadway musical. They just said they would give lap dances to the audience.
Oh my God, oh my God! I would have to sit in the balcony. There is no glimmer of a possibility of them doing that to me. Just the thought of it is making me nervous. I’m turning red. You’ve never seen this shade of red before. I could not do that. No, no, no.