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11 Actors with the Necessary TV Experience Who Could Replace Chevy Chase on "Community"

By Rob Payne | Seriously Random Lists | December 5, 2012 | Comments ()


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Long time, dedicated fans of NBC's "Community" -- wherein "long time" means "three years" and "dedicated" means "tweeting and/or tumblring about the show to excess" -- have always known that Chevy Chase's membership in the cast was fraught, at best. He loved the pilot script but quickly came to hate his character, his storylines, his schedule, creator/ex-showrunner Dan Harmon, and he eventually revealed just how little he thinks of sitcoms as a viable comedic format. Meanwhile, he appears in Old Navy commercials that rape our collective childhoods, if that were actually an appropriate analogy to make.

So it's not surprise that Chase finally quit the show last week. The still as-yet-to-air fourth season was practically done shooting, with only two episodes left, and considering his presence (or lack of) in certain past episodes of the show, his absence will most likely not be felt. However, should "Community" come back for a surprising, probably bastardized fifth season, there will be a notable Chevy Chase-sized void in those episodes. The racist, sexist, clueless Pierce Hawthorne isn't to everyone's taste, but to not replace his spot in the study group is to imply that the performer and the character offered nothing to the series, and I've written before about how that is totally streets behind.

If "Community" does return, something will have to be done and, since this is NBC we're talking about, it wouldn't be at all surprising if they simply looked at other, more financially successful TV series that needed replacement actors and just copied them. As uninspired as that usually is, it isn't always a bad idea. Though it often is, especially when the actor is playing the same character. As much as the term meta gets thrown around in regards to this show, even it is grounded in something akin to our reality and couldn't withstand the commentary while maintaining it. Sure, there was a "zombie" episode but the characters didn't turn into the walking dead, they had rabies and the story was told in the zombie movie milieu. The claymation episode was all seen through Abed's psychosis, just like the multiple timelines are only in his imagination, and poor Jerry Minor had to clean up all that paint before the start of the new semester. Like "Lost," everything that happened on "Community," happened.

So, below are the Good, the Bad, and the Obviously of who could fill Chevy Chase's clown shoes should season five become a thing. Behold!


The Good

Billy Connolly as Pierce's Scottish cousin, who thinks getting a green card requires at least some college-level education. He may or may not be a hitman trying to hide from the federales. The racism is funny because of the accent.
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Experience: One season as the replacement teacher on "Head of the Class"


Jeff Goldblum as Pierce's wacky, prickly personal accountant, who is attending Greendale in order to finish Pierce's degree. Don't want any of that family money to go to waste, right? The racism is funny because he's Jewish.
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Experience: One season as the replacement quirky detective on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"


Charlie Murphy as the half-brother of Pierce's half-brother, Gus Fring, who, instead of the accountant, is hired to finish Pierce's degree while trying to get an education for his own purposes. The racism is funny because he's black.
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Experience: One season as the replacement co-host on "Chapelle's Show"


Woody Harrelson as Pierce's other half-brother, who was totally disowned by their father due to his penchant for smoking the reefer and dabbling in the non-straight sexual arts. He comes to find Pierce but sticks around because why not? The racism is funny because he's high, and maybe a little gay.
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Experience: Nine seasons as the replacement bartender on "Cheers"


Sarah Chalke as one of Pierce's step-daughters, who having just lost her mother to canceraids set out to find the only father she ever knew but instead finds an all-new family in everyone's favorite prime time network sitcom study group. The racism is funny she's adorable.
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Experience: Four seasons, on and off, as the replacement Becky on "Roseanne"


The Bad

Ted McGinley as the current husband of one of Pierce's ex-wives, who has been tricked into finishing the degree with the promise that the creepy phone calls at night will stop. But they will never stop. The racism is funny because he's just so darn handsome.
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Experience: One season as the replacement Ron Howard on "Happy Days" and six seasons as the replacement annoying neighbor's husband on "Married... with Children"


Jon Lovitz as Pierce's "guy," as in his "suit guy" or his "exotic/illegal animal guy," who only joins the group because after the Dungeons & Dragons debacle Pierce decided he needed a "chair guy." The racism is funny because he is also Jewish.
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Experience: One season as the replacement Phil Hartman on "NewsRadio"


David Spade as one of Pierce's ex-wives, who recently underwent gender reassignment surgery and is looking for a new start in life. The medical bills totally wiped him/her out so community college is all she can afford. The racism is funny because who does s/he think s/he is?
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Experience: One and a half seasons as the replacement John Ritter on "8 Simple Rules"


Ashton Kutcher as Pierce's step-son, another disbarred lawyer who develops an unhealthy infatuation with Winger that doesn't sit well with Dean Pelton. The racism is funny because he's really dumb.
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Experience: One and a half seasons as the replacement Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men" (so far)


Charlie Sheen as Pierce's co-partner in debauchery from their youth, who comes to Greendale to honor what his old friend started and continue to remind Jeff of the person he doesn't want to become. The racism is funny because it's not.
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Experience: Two seasons as the replacement Michael J. Fox on "Spin City"


The Obviously

Richard Erdman as Leonard Rodriguez. He fills the hilarious old guy spot. He makes up for any lost group dynamics by maintaining a mostly antagonistic relationship with the group. He likes this post. Plus? No more racism.
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Experience: Three seasons and counting on "Community"


Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter, tumbls on the Tumblr, and his wares can be purchased here. Actually, if they wanted to say that Abed re-cast Pierce in his mind's eye as a beautiful, hilarious blonde woman, he would love to see Sarah Chalke take the part.



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Comments Are Welcome, Douches Are Not


  • JP

    John Lithgow would be perfect

  • Siham

    It looks like Charlie Sheen is drinking a bottle of blood...

    David Spade needs to go away

  • greg

    here is an idea how about letting the show end this year with some dignity rather drawing it out until it's a former shell of itself like so many other shows that went this route

    crickets chirping
    fuck you rob

  • Tim Matheson.

  • Amanda

    I thought Judd Nelson replaced Fox on Spin City...?

  • Miller

    Jeffery Tambor!?!?!?!?!?!?

  • e jerry powell

    Maybe too obvious, but, um, Bill Murray?

    I mean, he does have experience in replacing Chevy Chase at NBC already...

  • John W

    How about:
    -John C McGinley
    -Damon Wayans Sr.
    -Rosanne Barr
    -Jason Sudeikis (If he's leaving SNL)
    -Wendel Pierce (a Wire reunion)
    -Josh Holloway (since apparently he's not busy)
    -Olivia Wilde (so we can have another hot chick to fantasize about on the show)

  • Bert_McGurt

    Interesting ideas - even though Holloway's already been on the show, it's definitely up Community's alley to bring back a character from two seasons ago.

  • dAvid

    They could "I'm Not Here" it and have a different actor play him every week, all doing their own interpretation/impression of Pierce. All just different people he's hired to play him to get him through his degree. Sort of like a Murphy-Brown's-assistant kind of thing.

  • the dude

    or they could just do a bottle episode about why he has suddenly dissapeared and share memories of him and never ever talk about it again

  • Uriah_Creep

    Cool cool cool.

  • the dude

    hot hot hot

  • I don't think any replacing should be happening at all.
    That said - if you wanted to bring in a grumpy old bastard, put a bald cap on Dan Harmon. Job done.

  • Wōđanaz Óðinn

    Awaiting all the downvotes but I'd think Ted Mosby would be the perfect fit. It would be worth it even if he were collectively abhorred for just one episode.

    He is after all the opposite of batman.
    The He-Britta.
    Outworsing the worst.

  • bastich

    Three words: Zombie Leslie Nielsen.

  • Alice

    This one!

  • googergieger

    I'm pretty sure Martin Short isn't doing anything. You can slap a fat suit on him. An old(er) man mask on him. Drag him up. Whatever. Kind of like the white Eddie Murphy. Except you know. Not that annoying?

  • dizzylucy

    I vote for Leonard.

  • John G.

    let's see, who could replace Chevy Chase...

    a large rock?

    a pile of laundry?

    Hodor?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Burt Reynolds?

  • Steph

    Fat Brando

  • Ian Fay

    I'd make a crack about Ted Ginley being a show-killer, but Community's already dead.

  • Michelle

    As long as Jeff Goldblum can continue to be Ruxin's father on The League, I'm on board with him doing this.

  • Bodhi

    THIS

  • Ashley Holland King

    Wasn't Sarah Chalke in another little sitcom called, "Scrubs" for like a thousand years too?

  • Yeah, but Eliot Reed wasn't a replacement for anybody, in the show or in our hearts.

  • Javier

    yes, but since the topic was Replacement roles, the one in Roseanne is the one that fits

  • AudioSuede

    You're actually really good at coming up with character arcs for these people. You should be writing this show. Or, you know, your own. Because this one's already changed hands too much.

  • If that isn't sarcasm (and I can never tell with you people*), that's one of the nicest comments I've ever gotten. Thank you. Unless you are being sarcastic, in which case, you're the AT&T of people.

    *Pajibans, duh.

  • AudioSuede

    Oh no, it's quite serious. Billy Connoly's alone would fit right in with the show's weirdness AND provide several episodes' worth of great gags in the future.

    P.S. I'm going to use "You're the AT&T of people" at least once today. Unfortunately, the only person I interact with on a daily basis is my wife. This could get dark.

  • That'd be cruel. Cruel cruel cruel.

  • Puddin

    Ted McGinley is sitcom cancer. If you want your show to succeed, don't let Ted McGinley within 100 feet of your sound stage.

  • Arran

    The weird thing about McGinley's show-killing reputation is that he's actually a totally decent actor. I find him quite affable. He's just got shitty timing.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Need to replace Chevy Chase eh? It's the sort of situation that makes you ask questions like "Who you gonna call?" or "What about Bob?".

  • BendinIntheWind

    Didn't Harmon always want Murray to play Jeff's dad? Now that that's off the table (I forget who they've cast, but some other actor will be introduced as Jeff's dad in the upcoming season), we have the faintest glimmer of hope.

  • Pat

    I didn't know this and now I'm sad. James Brolon has been cast as Jeff's dad I believe.

  • Pat

    *Brolin

  • Oh, we can dream. Just keep breathing.

  • Blake

    Why not just use the guy who played Pierce in Abed's Community College Chronicles as Pierce?

    http://youtu.be/GBgI6FlTzqE

  • theotherone

    I'd be surprised if NBC didn't just shit can the entire cast and use the College Chronicles cast for Season 5...

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