For the third straight season, the television-to-Internet show “Community” starts off with a reboot-like feeling. Johnathan Banks, who joined the cast in season five to fill the spiritual, if not actual, hole left by the departure of Chevy Chase, is off calling Saul. Yvette Nicole Brown, one of the original cast members, has also moved on due to family commitments.
But if the show had to replace another two cast members, it might have been hard to pick better actors to step in than Paget Brewster and Keith David. The former, despite maybe being best known for her long run on the ultra-straight-laced “Criminal Minds,” is a gifted comic. The latter has done seemingly everything possible as an actor, appearing in projects ranging from “Platoon” to “Adventure Time.”
amNewYork caught up with Keith in advance of the return of “Community,” which debuts on Yahoo! Screen Tuesday.
How have you found the transition into an already-running program, as a new guy on a set that’s been there for five seasons already?
There are two new characters being introduced at the same time, and it’s been such a wonderfully gentle transition that I have nothing but good things to say about it. They welcomed us with open arms and it’s been that way ever since. ? It’s a wonderful tribute to Dan [Harmon, “Community” showrunner,] and his writing staff. They are able to play to everyone’s strengths, and they’ve been doing this for so long that they know what the rhythm is, they could weave Paget and I in so nicely. We’re like a new thread in an old fabric.
You’ve done everything on television from series regular roles to one-episode cameos. Do you prefer the challenge and flexibility of bouncing from show to show or the longer-term commitment of being a series regular?
I like to work. Being a series regular is a steady job, and I’m at that stage in my life where it’s nice to have that to look forward to. Part of the reason that I’m an actor is that things are going to change, whether you do one season or 10; there’s a natural progression to the character you’re playing, so it never becomes mundane.
You were also a series regular on “Enlisted,” another program that attracted a passionate-but-small following. What is it in a show that attracts such intense fans?
Are you familiar with that song from “Damn Yankees”? [David sings] You’ve gotta have heart. In both instances, these shows are about heart. You’ve got groups of actors and writing staffs who know how to bring that heart. And people respond to that.
Abed’s love of “The Cape,” a show on which you were a series regular, led to the catchphrase “six seasons and a movie.” Give me the odds of a “The Cape”/”Community” crossover.
From your lips to God’s ears. “The Cape” was some of the best fun I’ve ever had, and I love working in comedy, because there’s always moments of real drama to bounce the laughs off of. So there’s room. Who know what could happen? And we have very imaginative writers?
Streaming: The sixth season of “Community” begins on Tuesday on Yahoo! Screen.