There has been a lot of overlap between the former NBC sitcom and Adult Swim’s animated series – here’s every Community actor who later appeared on Rick and Morty. Created by Dan Harmon, Community debuted on NBC back in 2009. The series followed Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), as he was forced to attend Greendale Community College in order to revive his law career. Quickly bonding with a host of fellow misfit students, Jeff formed a study group comprised of Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), Annie Edison (Alison Brie), Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), Troy Barnes (Donald Glover) and Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase). Though far from being a winner in the ratings, Community amassed a passionate enough following to see it renewed through five seasons.
Control of the series changed hands for Community season 4, with David Guarascio and Moses Port taking over as showrunners. Following its lackluster reception, Harmon was rehired to oversee Community season 5. Though infinitely more acclaimed and well-received, the show was subsequently canceled. It was briefly resurrected when Yahoo! aired the sixth season in an attempt to build its own streaming service. The final episode aired in 2015. The aforementioned passionate following has remained, however, with many fans holding onto hope that a Community movie may come to fruition in the very near future.
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Harmon ended up using his hiatus from Community and subsequent years productively. Alongside Justin Roiland (who also voices both titular characters), the acclaimed writer developed Rick and Morty. Debuting via Adult Swim in 2013, the animated sci-fi series has become a juggernaut across its five currently aired seasons. Since the show’s inception, the Venn diagram between it and Community has continued to expand. Roiland and a number of other Rick and Morty writers and staff enjoyed cameos on later Community seasons. Conversely, as the wait for the Community movie continues, Dan Harmon gave several of its stars hilarious new characters to lend their voices. Here’s a breakdown of each Community actor that returned and where exactly among Rick and Morty’s best episodes they can be heard.
Joel McHale debuted as the successful lawyer-turned-Greendale student, Jeff Winger, in Community’s pilot episode. He continued in the role for a total of 110 episodes across all six seasons, serving as the study group’s smooth-talking, de facto leader. He also returned alongside the rest of the cast (and The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal) for a Community virtual table read, which raised funds for Covid-19 relief efforts. McHale also lent his voice for Rick and Morty season 3, episode 2, “Rickmancing the Stone.” Set on a Mad Max-style, post-apocalyptic world, the popular actor voiced the role of Hemorrhage – the leader of a group called the Death Stalkers and with whom Summer briefly has a tumultuous relationship.
Similarly, Gillian Jacobs debuted as the erroneously cool and street-smart activist Britta Perry in Community’s pilot episode. The actress also remained for all six seasons and 110 episodes, bringing to life the more flawed and erratic sides of Britta’s nature. Like Joel McHale, she lent her voice to an episode of Rick and Morty season 3. In episode 4, “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender,” Gillian Jacobs voiced an intergalactic superhero called Supernova. The character was part of a superhero team that parodied such as The Avengers, the Justice League, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Despite being caught up in Saw-like traps set by a drunken Rick, Supernova survived the episode and so could return to seek revenge one day.
Previously, Alison Brie was a mainstay of Community seasons 1 through 6. There she played the studious and stubbornly optimistic Annie Edison, a loyal alumnus of Greendale and roommate to Troy and Abed. She also had something of a will they/won’t they with Jeff Winger, prior to leaving town to join the FBI. On Rick and Morty, Alison Brie was also given a taste of the superhero life. Parodying Captain Planet, the acclaimed actress voiced Planetina in Rick and Morty season 5, episode 3, “A Rickconvenient Mort.” Between saving the world and supporting the now-grown children that summon her, the eco-friendly hero embarked on a tragically ill-fated romance with Morty. Planetina was also left with the potential to return.
Related: Rick and Morty Repeats Community’s Robert Downey Jr Joke With The Same Point
Starring as the often beleaguered Dean of Greendale, Rash was a regular presence across Community’s six seasons (not yet a movie). More known for his costume changes and all-consuming crush on Jeff Winger than his management style, Rash gave his all to every flourish and eccentricity of Craig Pelton’s personality. As well as starring, the Academy Award winner also wrote Community season 4 episode 11, “Basic Human Anatomy,” and co-directed two episodes from Community season 6. On the animated side of things, Rash voiced Glaxo Slimslom in Rick and Morty season 2, episode 7, “Big Trouble in Little Sanchez.” Glaxo was an alien couple’s counselor that exasperatedly tried to help Beth and Jerry with their marriage.
Joining the main cast in Community season 6, Keith David played computer expert and inventor Elroy Patashnik for 12 episodes. Over on Rick and Morty, Keith David has lent his voice for multiple roles, including an alien parasite posing as a Reverse Giraffe in Rick and Morty season 2, episode 4, “Total Rickall.” Primarily, however, he’s voiced The President of the United States. Keith David debuted that role during Rick and Morty season 2, episode 5, “Get Schwifty.” He has since reprised the role several times. Most recently, he appeared in Rick and Morty season 5, episode 6, “Rick & Morty’s Thanksploitation Spectacular” — which saw President Curtis and Rick forced to team up against an invasion of turkey/human hybrids.
As one of Greendale’s resident faculty members, Oliver’s Professor Ian Duncan was a prominent part of Community seasons 1 and 2. Despite Britta signing up for his Psychology class, the British actor took a break from the show in season 3 and was only alluded to over the course of season 4. Oliver returned, however, for Community season 5 — coinciding with Harmon’s own return. In total, Oliver starred in 19 episodes across the show’s six seasons. Oliver guest-starred on Rick and Morty season 1, episode 3, “Anatomy Park” — playing Xenon Bloom. Simultaneously he was a riff on Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough’s character from Jurassic Park. In service of that fact, Xenon was an ill-fated amoeba-type being and the co-founder of the titular theme park housed within the body of a homeless man.
Not content with simply being the creator and co-creator of Community and Rick & Morty, respectively, Dan Harmon has lent his voice (and likeness) to the shows. Alongside several uncredited cameos, he voiced an animated version of himself codenamed Sleep Apnea in Community season 5, episode 11, “G.I. Jeff.” On Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon has voiced a range of other miscellaneous supporting characters, such as Heistotron, Randotron, and even Ice-T. That trend continued in the latest season, with him adding Rick’s new nemesis, Mr. Nimbus, to his repertoire in Rick and Morty season 5, episode 1, “Mort Dinner Rick Andre.” Dan Harmon would also reprise his recurring role of BirdPerson as he’s resurrected in Rick and Morty season 5, episode 8, “Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort.”
Related: Rick & Morty Repeats Community’s Goodfellas Riff
Other Community Stars Who Returned
Firefly star Nathan Fillion starred as Greendale’s chief custodian, Bob Waite, for two Community episodes. The appearance was a meta one since the actor was also name-dropped as Chang’s (Ken Jeong) celebrity crush. Nathan Fillion also voiced Cornvelious Daniel on Rick and Morty season 3, episode 1, “The Rickshank Rickdemption.”Battlestar Galactica star Tricia Helfer starred in Community season 4 as Lauren, a woman who Jeff meets and tries to deceive at an Inspector Spacetime convention. Tricia Helfer also voiced the dual characters of Donna Gueterman and Federation Robot on Rick and Morty season 2, episode 10, “The Wedding Squanchers.”Agents of SHIELD actor Patton Oswalt played Greendale’s nurse for two Community episodes across seasons 1 and 2. Patton Oswalt also voiced Beta 7, a rival of Rick’s for Unity’s affection in Rick and Morty season 2, episode 3, “Auto Erotic Assimilation.”Arrested Development star David Cross starred as Hank Hickey in Community season 5, episode 10, “Advanced Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.” David Cross also lent his voice to Prince Nebulon on Rick and Morty season 1, episode 4, “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!”Fellow Arrested Development alum, Tony Hale, starred as strict pottery teacher Professor Holly in Community season 1, episode 19, “Beginner Pottery.” He later voiced Death Stalker Eli on Rick and Morty season 3, episode 2, “Rickmancing the Stone.”Paul F. Tompkins starred as Robert in Community season 2, episode 10, “Mixology Certification” — a man who erroneously thought that Abed was trying to seduce him. He would later voice a lawyer on Rick and Morty season 2, episode 1, “A Rickle in Time.”Veep star Matt Walsh starred as Joshua, the (revealed to be racist) groundskeeper of a secret Greendale garden and trampoline, in Community season 2, episode 7, “Aerodynamics of Gender.” Matt Walsh also voiced the role of Sleepy Gary for Rick and Morty season 2, episode 4, “Total Rickall.”The Suicide Squad actor Steve Agee first starred as app developer David on Community season 5, episode 8, “App Development and Condiments” before returning as Greendale’s DJ in season 6, episode 11, “Modern Espionage.” On Rick and Morty, he voiced both a giant and a restaurant owner for season 1, episode 5, “Meeseeks and Destroy.”Actor Matt Besser starred as Blake on Community season 6, episode 10, “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry.” Matt Besser would later voice an Alien Leader on Rick and Morty season 2, episode 8, “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate.”Veteran actor Eddie Pepitone played Crazy Schmidt for 4 episodes across multiple seasons of Community. The actor was later brought on board to voice the lazy partner of Keegan Michael Key’s testicle-shaped, interdimensional cop on Rick and Morty season 4, episode 5, “Rattlestar Ricklactica.”Actor Michael McCafferty played Brian on Community season 2, episode 19, “Critical Film Studies.” Michael McCafferty later voiced the Mayor of the Microverse Rick had created to power his ship in Rick and Morty season 2, episode 6, “The Ricks Must Be Crazy.”Eric Bauza could be heard providing voiceover for the Koogler trailer in Community season 5, episode 8, “App Development and Condiments” and narrating episode 11, “G.I. Jeff.” He’s likewise made multiple Rick and Morty appearances, including season 5, episode 7, “Gotron Jerrysis Rickvangelion.”As well as directing and producing, Rob Shrab voiced Cobra Commander in Community season 5, episode 11, “G.I. Jeff.” He’s equally made the jump, most recently lending his voice to the Rick and Morty season 5 finale, “Rickmurai Jack.”
As seen, the overlap between the two shows has already been extensive. However, there remain many actors from each of the six seasons to appear on Harmon’s animated series, including regulars such as Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, and Yvette Nicole Brown. Fortunately, Rick and Morty have already been renewed for plenty of more new episodes by Adult Swim. As such, there is still ample time and opportunity for Community to cross streams with Rick and Morty in the future — when the perfect characters for them finally emerge.
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John Atkinson has been a news and feature writer for Screen Rant since late 2018. Before that, he had articles published across a number of different outlets. A graduate of the University of London, John was raised on a small island by television and movies. As such, he pursued a career in screenwriting and film journalism when it became apparent that actually becoming Spider-Man was impossible. John’s fondest wish is to one day produce a film of his own. Until then, he’s more than happy to spend countless hours just talking about them.
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