What The Cast Of Community Has Been Up To Since The Show Ended

When "Community" made its debut on NBC back in 2009, the sitcom set within a low-rent community college was instantly hailed by TV critics. "'Community' is a bracingly funny NBC comedy that purports to send up community college, but mostly skewers the more egregious clichés of movies and television," wrote The New York Times' Allesandra Stanley. Heralding the show coming to Netflix in 2020, Vox critic Emily St. James declared, "'Community' was one of the most inventive shows in TV history."

With the series cancelled after its fifth season — and then resurrected for a sixth and final season on the now-defunct Yahoo! Screen — fans have been clamoring for a "Community" movie ever since. On September 30, 2022, that long-held dream finally became a reality, with Variety reporting that the NBCUniversal-owned streaming service Peacock would be producing it. With stars Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong, and Jim Rash already confirmed to be onboard, the exciting announcement meant that the series' on-air prophecy of "six seasons and a movie," a throwaway line that became a hashtag rallying cry, would finally be fulfilled.

As fans eagerly await the movie, keep on reading to take a look at what the cast of "Community" has been up to since the show ended.

Joel McHale continued his TV comedy career

Following his six seasons as disgraced attorney Jeff Winger, Joel McHale wasted little time returning to television after the end of "Community." He was tapped to star in the short-lived CBS sitcom "The Great Indoors" in 2016, playing a legendary Gen-X adventure journalist who's placed in charge of a staff of millennials at the outdoor magazine for which he writes, before moving on to host "The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale" on Netflix in 2018. Neither project was renewed after their first seasons. "I'm a desperate workaholic," he told Variety after the latter series' cancellation. "... I don't ever want to have to get a real job."

McHale's IMDb credits indeed indicate that he remained busy, nabbing recurring roles in Fox's revival of "The X-Files," "Santa Clarita Diet," The CW's "Stargirl," and "The Bear." He also became the host of Fox's twisted culinary competition series "Crime Scene Kitchen" in 2021. Arguably his most meta role since "Community," however, was in the 2018 Netflix movie "A Stupid and Futile Gesture," about talented albeit troubled "National Lampoon" visionary Douglas Kenney, with McHale playing a 1970s-era version of his former co-star, Chevy Chase. Given the duo's reportedly fraught relationship during the years they worked together on "Community," McHale decided to call Chase and tell him that he'd be portraying him in the flick. "As far as me playing him ... he kind of laughed, I think," McHale told Vice

Speaking with ET in October 2022, McHale said of returning to the world of "Community," "Really, it is a dream come true."

Alison Brie headlined a hit Netflix series

At the same time Alison Brie played bookish Annie Edison on "Community," she also portrayed Trudy Campbell on "Mad Men." As she remarked in an interview with Vulture, doing double duty on both shows pretty much consumed her life for eight months of each year. In 2015, the same year both series ended, IMDb noted that Brie starred in no less than three movies: "Sleeping with Other People" (starring opposite Jason Sudeikis), "Get Hard " (co-starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart), and "No Stranger Than Love" (with Colin Hanks). 

In 2017, Brie starred in the acclaimed Netflix series "GLOW," playing actor-turned-pro-wrestler Ruth Wilder, until the series' cancellation after three seasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to starring in and co-writing the 2020 psychological drama "Horse Girl," as well as the 2022 comedy "Spin Me Round," Brie also appeared in the films "The Disaster Artist," "Promising Young Woman," and "Happiest Season," and co-starred with Nicole Kidman in an episode of Apple TV+'s "Roar," a 2022 female-led anthology series, all while continuing to voice Vietnamese-American writer Diane Nguyen in "BoJack Horseman" until 2020 (for which she later expressed regret).

Speaking with the AV Club, Brie revealed that she actually started watching "Community" when it came to Netflix in 2020, which led her to look at the show in an entirely new way than when she was working on it. "So the fan experience of the show is quite different from our experience of making and watching it," she explained. "But yeah, we were like little kids. It was really fun."

Donald Glover won critical acclaim in music and television

Donald Glover's character, Troy Barnes, only appeared in five episodes in the fifth season of "Community," and didn't appear at all in the sixth. The reason given at the time was so that he could focus more on other projects, including the burgeoning music career of his rap alter ego, Childish Gambino. That led to the release of the critically acclaimed albums "Awaken, My Love!" in 2016 and "3.15.2020" in 2020. 

Glover also took on his highest profile acting role to date in 2018's "Solo: A Star Wars Story," playing a young Lando Calrissian (originally portrayed by Billy Dee Williams) in the "Star Wars" prequel about the early smuggling career of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich in the role made famous by Harrison Ford). However, the full extent of Glover's creativity came to fruition in "Atlanta," the Emmy-winning FX series of which he's both star and creator (and has also served as writer and director). He also starred in and co-wrote the 2019 Amazon Prime Video feature "Guava Island" (nabbing Rihanna as a co-star), and voiced Simba in Disney's 2019 live-action remake of "The Lion King" (opposite Beyoncé). 

Speaking with Interview magazine in April 2022 — in which he actually interviewed himself — Glover gave a telling answer to his own question about whose career he'd most like to emulate. "Willy Wonka," he declared. "That's the world I like. You have your factory, you make something, put it out, and then close shop to the public for a while."

Danny Pudi has maintained a busy acting career

Danny Pudi became a "Community" fan favorite as quirky, movie-obsessed Greendale student Abed Nadir. Following the series' cancellation, Pudi was a series regular on the short-lived 2016 comedy "Powerless," playing a staffer at an insurance firm specializing claims involving damage created in the course of superheroes battling villains. He's also a series regular in "Mythic Quest," the Apple TV+ video gaming comedy from star and co-creator Rob McElhenney of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" fame, and has appeared in several films, such as "The Argument," "Corner Office," and "American Dreamer."

Meanwhile, as his IMDb credits demonstrate, Pudi has also become a sought-after voice actor in animated projects, with roles including Brainy Smurf in "The Smurfs" franchise, Huey Duck in the "DuckTales" reboot and other associated Disney projects, and various voices for the animated series "Mira, Royal Detective." Speaking with Larry King in 2020, Pudi said of this type of gig (and "DuckTales," in particular), "It's a dream job."

But despite all the other projects in which he's been involved, "Community" will always hold a very special place in Pudi's heart. "We're all friends," he said of his "Community" co-stars in an interview with TV Insider. "It's nice to have a group of people that you've kind of grown up with and been here with. ... My children were born here. ... This show for me has really just changed my life in the best possible way." 

Gillian Jacobs fell in Love and ventured into directing

Gillian Jacobs played cynical Greendale student Britta Perry in all six seasons of "Community" and will be reprising the role for the upcoming movie. Since the series' end in 2015, Jacobs has maintained a busy acting career, including guest spots on such series as the Rashida Jones-led "Angie Tribeca" and Jordan Peele's reboot of "The Twilight Zone." She's also lent her voice to several adult-oriented animated series, including "Rick and Morty," "Star Trek: Lower Decks," and "Invincible." As if that's not enough to bolster her IMDb credits, the actor has also starred in Judd Apatow's romantic-comedy series "Love" opposite Paul Rust on Netflix, headlined the streaming site's movie "Ibiza," and is a regular in Netflix's "Fear Street" films.

Meanwhile, Jacobs has also forged a career behind the camera as a director, which has included a documentary for the Disney+ "Marvel 616" series, as well as her acclaimed 2022 documentary feature "More Than Robots." That same year, she made her feature directing debut as one of eight directors for the anthology film "The Seven Faces of Jane," in which she's also the star and screenwriter.

Jacobs, like most of her "Community" co-stars, has remained fond of her experience on the show, which marked the Juilliard-trained actor's first foray into comedy. "That is one of the most supportive casts I've ever been a part of," she told Sam Jones on "The Off Camera Show" in 2020, "where we really just were delighted by each other. And we all found each other funny."

Chevy Chase is unapologetic about his alleged behavior

When he was cast as wealthy Pierce Hawthorne on "Community," Chevy Chase was already an established star thanks to his work in the seminal years of "Saturday Night Live," and on the big screen in such hits as "Fletch," "Caddyshack," and the "National Lampoon's Vacation" series. Chase's tenure on the show, as hilarious as it may have appeared to viewers, was notoriously fraught behind the scenes, highlighted by alleged racist remarks, as revealed by Donald Glover to The New Yorker in 2018, and his on-and-off feud with series creator Dan Harmon. Ultimately, Chase he told HuffPost of his return to TV, "It was a big mistake!" (Perhaps unsurprisingly, Chase is not expected to return for the upcoming Peacock movie.)

After his inauspicious exit from "Community" during the fourth season, Chase's screen credits have been somewhat sparse. Among those credits have been appearances in the films "Hot Tub Time Machine 2," "Vacation" (reprising the iconic role of Clark Griswold for the 2015 reboot), "The Last Movie Star," "The Last Laugh," and "The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee." 

In a February 2022 interview with "CBS Sunday Morning" (via Deadline), Chase addressed his difficult reputation during his tenure on "Community" — and he didn't exactly shut down the rumors. "I don't give a crap!" Chase declared. "I am who I am. And I like where — who I am. I don't care. And it's part of me that I don't care. And I've thought about that a lot. And I don't know what to tell you, man. I just don't care."

Yvette Nicole Brown stepped back to care for her ailing father

Yvette Nicole Brown was conspicuous about her absence when the announcement of the "Community" movie was made, although fans have remained hopeful she'll at least make a cameo to reprise her role as Shirley Bennett. As fans might recall, she exited the show ahead of the final season so she could care for her Alzheimer's-stricken father

Despite stepping back from acting, Brown has certainly not been absent from TV screens, opting for gigs with less demanding hours than "Community" required. As her IMDb credits indicate, she's guest-starred on several shows, including "The Odd Couple," "Rizzoli & Isles," "The Mayor," "Mom," and "Will & Grace," among others. She's also racked up a prodigious roster of voice credits in animated series like "DC Super Hero Girls," "SuperMansion," "New Looney Tunes," "Fairfax," and more.

While speaking with Collider in August 2022, Brown expressed her own desire to return for a "Community" movie but admitted that the logistics involved in reuniting the cast were beyond daunting. "We all would love to do it, but everyone has just branched off and done so many different things. It's like how do you work out a schedule where you can get a Donald Glover, or a Gillian Jacobs, or Danny Pudi all together in one place at the same time again?" she said, adding optimistically, "So, I think that is the biggest jigsaw puzzle to put together, but every puzzle can find its way to completion."

Jim Rash has kept busy as an actor and screenwriter

Jim Rash played Greendale's Dean Pelton throughout the series' six-season run and is confirmed to reprise the role in Peacock's "Community" movie. Since the show's end in 2015, Rash has maintained a steady stream of screen credits, both in front of the camera and as a voice actor. In live-action productions, he's guest-starred in multiple TV series, including "Lucifer," "Girlboss," "The Odd Couple," "Black-ish," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and more recently appeared in the groundbreaking gay rom-com "Bros" in 2022. 

"I just hope it pushes and keeps the momentum going," he told 8 Day of the latter project. "We have a tendency to ebb and flow with representation. ... And I don't want it just to be based on the box-office success, but rather the desire to tell great stories and let our eyeballs find them." While Rash has also lent his voice to animated shows like "Star Wars Resistance" and "Family Guy," "Community" fans may not realize that he's also an Oscar-winning screenwriter, scoring the best adapted screenplay trophy for the 2011 film "The Descendants." He also co-wrote 2020's "Downhill," which he also co-directed with Nat Faxon.

As "Community" progressed, Dean Pelton demonstrated an escalating affection for dressing up in increasingly elaborate costumes, something fans are hopeful will continue in the Peacock movie. "It's just a dream," Rash once told Variety of the dean's wild outfits. "You get to be this very heightened individual amid a more grounded circle. Whether it's donning many, many costumes or lovely polyester, it's been a blast."

Ken Jeong hit the jackpot with The Masked Singer

Ken Jeong was basking in acclaim from his scene-stealing turn as Leslie Chow in 2009's "The Hangover" when he was cast in "Community" as Greendale Spanish instructor Ben Chang. Since the series' 2015 cancellation, the former New Orleans physician has racked up numerous film and TV roles. Among the highlights: starring in his own sitcom, "Dr. Ken," as an alternate-universe version of himself had he not pursued showbiz and stayed in medicine, as well as roles in "Crazy Rich Asians," Mike Myers' limited Netflix series "The Pentaverate," and the Apple TV+ comedy "The Afterparty."

However, Jeong's biggest post-"Community" success has arguably been as a panelist on Fox's "The Masked Singer;" he's also the creator and host of another musical reality competition show, "I Can See Your Voice." Calling this turn in his career "an unexpectedly good fit," Jeong told Gold Derby, "Due to its improvisational nature and my improvisational background, it's like a hand in a glove."

In the midst of the pandemic, Jeong and former co-star Joel McHale — who'd remained close over the years — launch their own podcast, "The Darkest Timeline with Ken Jeong and Joel McHale." Speaking with Variety, Jeong credited McHale for the podcast coming to life, adding, "It's still one of my favorite things I've ever I've ever done, because I'm just so happy how organic that was. We just did it ourselves, we funded it ourselves and to be honest, we were doing it for ourselves."

John Oliver headed to HBO for Last Week Tonight

When John Oliver was cast in "Community" as Professor Ian Duncan, the British comedian was best known for his hilarious bits as correspondent on "The Daily Show." While he appeared in the pilot, Oliver's character was only seen sporadically throughout the series, appearing in just 18 of the show's 110 episodes.

In 2014, Oliver launched HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," blending comedy and journalism to take viewers on deep dives into topics ranging from coal to standardized testing, informing viewers — hilariously — on such seemingly dry fare. As of this writing in October 2022, the popular show has won a staggering 26 Emmy Awards, while garnering an impressive total of 57 nominations. In the midst of hosting "Last Week Tonight," Oliver has also lent his voice to Disney's live-action remake of "The Lion King" — playing Zazu — along with a variety of animated TV series, including "Bob's Burgers," "Big Mouth," and "Danger Mouse."

Oliver, in fact, is the first to admit he's not the greatest actor. "I can act as long as the character is me with a different name," the self-deprecating stand-up comic quipped in a 2018 interview with The Guardian. "I did that NBC show 'Community' and it was just me. I'm doing the voice of the bird in the [new movie of] 'The Lion King' and it's going to be me. It's me. As a bird."

Richard Erdman passed away at 93

Greendale's oldest student, Leonard Rodriguez (he memorably changed his last name from Briggs in a craven attempt to capture the Hispanic vote during his campaign for student body president), was played by veteran character actor Richard Erdman. Erdman, who died in March 2019 at age 93, began his long-term acting career in the 1940s, with his whopping 177 onscreen credits including roles in such classic films as "Stalag 17," "Anything Goes," and "Tora! Tora! Tora!" in addition to countless guest-starring appearances on television — perhaps most memorably as an annoying know-it-all who discovers a stopwatch that can halt time in a 1963 episode of "The Twilight Zone."

After "Community" ended its run in 2015, Erdman made just one more screen appearance in the 2017 series finale of Ken Jeong's sitcom "Dr. Ken." In an odd bit of meta-ness, the episode involves Jeong's physician character mirroring the actor's own life path by auditioning for a sitcom set within a community college; Erdman plays himself, while "Community" creator Dan Harmon and star Allison Brie, among others, also appear in the episode.

Following Erdman's death, his "Community" co-stars paid tribute. "Thank you Richard Erdman for blessing us with your brilliance. Sweet, gentle and fearless. Nailed every take. Always made me laugh hard," Jeong wrote in part in a Facebook post. Also honoring Erdman was Yvette Nicole Brown, who described him via Twitter as "JOY walking," noting, "Anyone who saw him on @CommunityTV gleeflully stealing every scene he was in knows that's true."

Erik Charles Nielsen is rewatching Community because of Cameo

Stand-up comic and actor Erik Charles Nielsen appeared in a total of 43 episodes of "Community," playing Garrett Lambert, one of the quirkier students at Greendale. How quirky? Donald Glover's Troy memorably summed up Garrett when he said, "The guy's just a mess. It's like God spilled a person."

Nielsen's roles after the show's cancellation have been somewhat sparse, but he did join fellow "Community" actors Alison Brie, Richard Erdman, Danielle Kaplowitz (Vicky) and Luke Youngblood (Magnitude), along with "Community" creator Dan Harmon, in the series finale of Ken Jeong's "Dr. Ken." In addition, Nielsen has also appeared in ABC sitcom "The Middle," plus the Comedy Central series "Another Period" and "Corporate."

In a 2021 appearance "You Can't Disappoint a Podcast," Nielsen discussed his work on Cameo, recording paid greetings for fans. As he explained, that had led him to begin re-watching his episodes of "Community" so he could remember some of his lines from the show. He went on to quip, "I'm like, 'Oh god, what kind of, uh, what kind of 'Community'-related quotes and expressions can I use to wish people a happy birthday or whatever?'"

Dino Stamatopoulos never intended to appear in Community

Another memorable ancillary character on "Community" was Star-Burns, so nicknamed because of the star-shaped pattern of his sideburns. Played by Dino Stamatopoulos, Star-Burns appeared in 39 episodes of "Community" — though his character was killed off in a 2012 episode, a subsequent surprise appearance revealed that he'd faked his own death. Interestingly, the character was initially iced at the behest of Stamatopoulos himself, who, as one of the show's writers and producers, had actually been enlisted to portray the eccentric character. 

"I'm not an actor," Stamatopoulos told Entertainment Weekly via email of why he asked for his character to be deep-sixed. "I don't enjoy waiting around for hours on set, I hate when people touch my eyes and neck (make-up department!), I can't learn lines quickly (yes, even the amount of lines I get), and I don't need other actors (Joel McHale) asking me why I never got my teeth fixed." Following this series of quips, he went on to explain, "The Star-Burns character was basically a conduit for the joke-sideburns and the one-note attitude about not being happy when people called him 'Star-Burns'. I didn't have a character in mind so it's always been an uphill battle for me to perform the part."

Following "Community," Stamatopoulos served on the writing staff of the sketch comedy series "W/ Bob and David," as well as on "Community" creator Dan Harmon's popular "Harmontown" podcast. He's also creator and writer of the stop-motion animated horror-comedy "Mary Shelley's Frankenhole."

Danielle Kaplowitz opened a branded-media firm

Danielle Kaplowitz appeared in 23 episodes of "Community" as Vicki Cooper, a recurring character who was memorable for being entirely unmemorable to her fellow students, with a tendency to blend into the background and be ignored by everyone else. Following the "Community" finale, Kaplowitz joined several of that show's actors in the 2017 series finale of Ken Jeong's "Dr. Ken," as previously mentioned, and also appeared in a 2020 episode of the sitcom "Indebted" — her two sole post-"Community" screen credits, as of this writing. 

According to her LinkedIn page, Kaplowitz and husband Ramsey Mellette co-founded Dam + West Media, which creates branded content for clients, in early 2021. "I have shifted my career into a more behind-the-scenes role," she wrote on LinkedIn. "I am passionate about producing the very best quality content to sell unique and forward-thinking brands." Kaplowitz has also been a voiceover actor for advertising campaigns, including such companies as Whole Foods and Fisher-Price.

While appearing on "Community," Kaplowitz gushed about the experience in a feature about the show for Paste, saying, "It's great to be a part of such a talented and dedicated group of people."