Over the last 12 months, Danny Pudi has become a father to twins and watched his show hover on the brink of cancellation before getting (justly) renewed -- but not before leaked tapes of Chevy Chase slamming Community went public and the show lost its creator, Dan Harmon, as the showrunner. Needless to say, there have been plenty of times I'd imagine Danny sweated it out over the last 365 days. But that only makes him a more perfect pitchman for Speed Stick's Handle It campaign, which asked you to submit personal "Handle It" moments -- the best of which has now been turned into a video that Danny narrates.
With the winning video now online, I caught up with Danny to find out what what life is like as a new father, how the twins have spawned a whole host of new Handle It moments and what fans can expect from the fourth season of Community!
TheInsider.com: How has it been to see fans engage so deeply with Speed Stick's Handle It campaign?
Danny Pudi: I am very excited whenever someone comes up to me with a Handle It moment where they're panicking on the inside and can overcome it in any way. A lo of funny stories came out of it, but the winning video involves a gentleman washing some clothes – including his lady's, which obviously changes the integrity of the clothes and it's the moment where a guy discovers he's shrunk her dress. What do you say when she finds out? I am his inner freak out voice, which was fun to do because that inner freak out voice is always going on in my head. It was fun to play someone's screaming child within.
Insider.com: Why do you think so many people offered up their embarrassing stories?
Danny: All guys have gone through these moments, and sharing them makes people feel better, I think. My latest Handle It moment was when I accidentally tried on my wife's jeans, which fit, and she found out. Obviously she was mad, but at least now we can save money by buying one pair of pants. Also, I had to explain to her that this was more insulting for me because, well, I fit in women's jeans. I don't feel great about that. But it's not about the moment, it's about how you handle it ... and the story you tell afterwards.
Insider.com: Do you think Jamie Lee Curtis would be as upset seeing that you worked her True Lies costume better than her last season on Community?
Danny: [laughs] I can do the pole dance if you'd like. I hear she's guest starring on another show this fall, and I'm kind of bummed she's not coming on Community, but at least I know the spirit of Jamie Lee Curtis lives on.
Insider.com: Is the same true for the spirit of Community, do you feel like it's the same show without Dan Harmon?
Danny: It definitely feels different, but that's OK – there was no way we wouldn't feel the loss of Dan Harmon. His vision started the show. But at the same time, the spirit of our show lives on. We're just so excited to be back for a fourth season [because] we're all a bit surprised to still be on the air [laughs]. For us to have a fourth season and continue the lives of these characters is exciting. In some ways, it’s just a new version of the same show.
Insider.com: What are you excited for people to see in season four?
Danny: Well, it is our senior year and like high school or college, you go in with that nostalgic feeling. You also have to think about what comes next and we address that off the bat. From the beginning, you'll see the realization that people are graduating dawn on Abed. We also have our typical Halloween episode. And when I say typical, I mean, it's impossible to predict what insanity it holds. This year we all go full-throttle for a trip to Pierce's house, which may be haunted. We're currently shooting episode 5 and I've already worn three dresses, a couple of wigs and an Inspector Spacetime outfit for an episode that takes place at a convention. That's something I think a lot of our fans will look forward to: a lot of these things we've been talking about for years -- like Jeff's dad -- come to life in season four. A lot of people have been wondering how meeting his father will affect him, and that storyline provides a lot of insight into the man Jeff Winger is.
Insider.com: Right! Who needs Jamie Lee Curtis when you've got James Brolin as Mr. Winger!
Danny: Yeah, we're doing pretty great. We've also got Malcolm McDowell and Matt Lucas. I think the one thing our show has done really well is find actors who fit into the world we've created in Greendale. I'm always thankful when someone is willing to come on our show because that probably means you'll be doing something weird.
Insider.com: Lastly, congrats on becoming a father -- I'd imagine that has provided you with a whole host of new Handle It moments.
Danny: Yes. The answer is yes, Jarett. The good thing is these Handle It moments can be applied to many phases in your life. We had twins in January and recently flew back to a wedding in Chicago, and it was the first time we took the babies on a plane. Flying with twins is something I recommend to everyone just to see what it's like to have stress in every single part of your body. We haven't even taken off yet and James poops. So I go change him, we come back, 20 minutes later, my boy poops again. Mind you, we still haven't taken off. I'm changing him in the bathroom, he's smiling the entire time, I pick him up and he throws up on me. So, I basically have poop fingers, throw up on my shoulder and we haven’t even taken off. So, yeah, I could have use a lot of Speed Stick in that moment – I probably could have handled it better, but you just do that shrug to everyone like, "Well, I’m a dad…"
Insider.com: Right. I feel like being a dad with a baby is the ultimate excuse for everything!
Danny: That's exactly right! It's the only time that it's excusable to have poo on your hands. Everyone does the shrug. Everyone gets it. And that's the message of our campaign: we all have these moments, but it's about knowing you will be OK and you will have a great time telling people about them the next day!
For more information on Speed Stick's Handle It, click here, and Community premieres October 19 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC!
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