Heather Taylor: Before we hit the topic of awkwardness, what is your definition of confidence?
Danny Pudi: My definition of confidence would be being very comfortable with awkwardness. That’s something that I feel has been a theme in my life. One time I met up with a friend of a friend and I was wearing a really bright purple shirt and they came up to me and were like, “Hey man, what color shirt are you wearing?” and I was like, “Oh I don’t know, I think it’s orange.” Immediately I was like it’s a purple shirt. It was one of those situations where I should have probably given the guy my shirt but these are situations that we find ourselves in and it’s about making the most of them.
HT: Beyond the purple shirt incident, what was your most awkward moment and how did you handle it?
DP: I feel like I get into awkward moments constantly. A lot of them have happened with my wife and her parents. When I first met them we were going out for lunch and we were driving in the car and I was really uncomfortable and not sure what to say to my girlfriend’s parents for the first time. As we’re driving, I see a Hooters and my mind just goes on instinct, I yell “HOOTERS!” I know — what am I doing? It definitely broke the ice and I ended up marrying that girl but I don’t think we’ll ever forget the time I yelled “Hooters!” in the car.
HT: Are guys willing to tweet about embarrassing stuff that happens to them?
DP: Yeah! We’ve gotten some funny ones already. I retweeted one the other day where a gentleman said he was in an elevator and a woman laid her head on his chest and he yelled “I’m engaged!” I thought that was pretty funny. Another guy told us a story about how he showed up on a date and the date’s best friend showed up and so did the date’s parents and the best friend’s parents all to look the guy over. It’s situations like that that I find really entertaining and it’ll be fun to put into a video. They’re moments where you felt awkward and were uncomfortable about it but you knew it was probably going to be a funny story in the end and you handled it.
HT: You play Abed on Community who is no stranger to awkward moments. How would Abed “Handle It?”
DP: I think my character would say exactly what is happening. Abed is the greatest narrator and observer of human behavior and that’s so fun for me to play. For instance, if we were on a date I’d be like, “Oh Heather, your best friend’s parents are here.” And then, as Abed, I would probably tell you before, “Oh are they here to size me up? Okay I should probably stand up. Hello, Heather and best friend’s parents. I am six foot tall, 135 pounds, and a Pisces. I love being barefoot, I love running barefoot, I’m into feet. I like looking at feet. Those are some of the things that I’m into and I just want you to know that before Heather and I proceed with our date.”
BC: Oh goodness, that’s too much!
DP: [laughs] Exactly! See what I mean? But if that’s what they want to see or hear, that’s what Abed would give them.
HT: On a final Community note — any spoilers on the Greendale gang for this season?
DP: There’s been an exploration between Troy and Abed’s friendship as well as the whole group’s relationship to Greendale as a school. We start raising some questions about the gang and Greendale: how long are they gonna be there, what their ties are to it. Troy and Abed are beginning to get comfortable splitting a little bit with Troy’s future becoming a little bit more defined so you’ll see more about that. We just did a Law and Order homage episode and there’s a great video game themed episode coming up too — stay tuned!
-Heather Taylor is a brand spankin’ new writer for Persephone Magazine and shameless “Community” endorser.