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Danny Pudi puts us back in 'Community' groove


February 06, 2013|By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol | RedEye

"Community" star and Chicago native Danny Pudi is happy fans who have waited so long for the return of the wacky sitcom finally can sit back and relax Thursday.

"If you've been waiting for something weird to happen, this is the week," he said. "We're back and I think a little dose of weird is good for everyone. I think people will enjoy kind of getting back into the 'Community' groove."

After being bumped from NBC's schedule in October, the show finally begins its 13-episode fourth season at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 with "History 101," in which viewers get to delve deep into the mind of Pudi's character, Abed. And they're going to love what they find there.

I caught up with Pudi by phone Tuesday to talk about the departure of creator Dan Harmon, the new season and how change can, indeed, be good. But first we talked about he and wife Bridget's year-old twins, Fiona and James.

He also had a special message for his hometown, where his mom still lives, when he heard it was snowing in Chicago Tuesday: "I love you. If you need a dose of summer, maybe watch 'Community.'"

Pudi will be in Chicago on Friday for a free Q&A starting at 6 p.m. at DePaul University's CDM Theater, 247 S. State St., as part of the university's Visiting Artists series.

With the kids, do you have a big family van or something?
[Laughs.] No double-sided minivan yet. We do talk about it, but I ... don't know if minivan is my style--yet. We'll see if I lose that battle.

I imagine your back seat is all baby car seats.
It's all baby car seats. There's probably a four-inch gap in between the two car seats that really just fills with bottles, blankets, burpees and Cheerios.

So it's a pit, like under your couch cushion. That's kind of where everything goes right now.

How are they?
They're doing great, man. It's cool. Like they're a year old now and it's good. ... It's fun to kind of step away and watch them to their twin speak to each other. They kind of babble and say "dada, dada, dada, dada." I'm convinced that they know I'm "Dada," but at the same time they point to a light and say "Dada." They see a dog and say "Dada." I'm hoping they don't think every dog is their "dada."

They're getting close to walking. They're doing like the sort of cruising; they're on tables and things. It's really cute. They're a fun, fun, cute age right now. They'll do stuff like right now they'll be like really cute. They'll come up to you and hug you. And then like they transition so quickly to like they'll pick up like a remote control and hit you in the face with it.

It's really fun to be like, "Ouchy, ouchy," but they have no idea what you're doing. Next thing you know they're slamming a remote against your face again. All this stuff I know I deserve, by the way. Someone somewhere is laughing deeply every time one of my children slams the door in my face or bites my finger.

It's pretty amazing watching all their little developments here and there--pointing to stuff. It's good because now that the show's on hiatus I get to be around more, which is really nice. And see stuff versus just hearing about it via my wife.

Right. Well you guys filmed what, July to October or something?
This year we filmed July to December. This year was shortened because we only did 13 eps total. Typically we shoot from July till about the end of February or early March. That's with 22 to 25 episodes. But this year was shortened so we've been done since Christmas, which was nice because I got to go back home, travel and now we've just been kind of waiting for February 7.

Since you guys got jerked around a little bit.
Yeah, well February 7 I hope is really February 7. [Laughs.] It would be nice to shock people's systems by having a Halloween episode in mid-February, I think. Instead of Valentine's Day people will see our Halloween episode, which in some ways it's just a different kind of Valentine's Day.

Wasn't your first line in this first episode, "It's good to be back from summer break" or something like that?
Probably. Yeah, we are coming back from summer in February. So I don't know if Greendale is set in Australia or what, but it is summer wherever Greendale is. Also in two weeks it'll be Halloween wherever Greendale is. And then in like three to four weeks it will be Thanksgiving wherever Greendale is. So, yeah, we don't really care. It's a chance for people to celebrate holidays twice, so I think that'll be nice for everyone.

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