by Larry Brody
‘Community’ Creator Dan Harmon on His Ouster: ‘Maybe I am Just a Jerk’
by Philiana Ng
Community creator Dan Harmon appeared on G4’s Attack of the Show and the interview wouldn’t be complete without addressing his ouster from the NBC comedy.
In his self-deprecating manner, Harmon kicked off the chat with Marc Maron by joking about his abrupt exit: “I felt like I have created enough, three years, you take it from here. Sony and NBC said, ‘Please don’t go.’ And I said, ‘Really, I have to go home, I have to do a lot of renovation on my house.’ ”
When you click above you’ll find a lot more yada yada that reads straight out of the “Time to act contrite so I can get a new job” manual. And, no, that’s not the part that reminds me of me because I was never smart enough to go that route. This, which Harmon says a little later, is: “To people who work above me, I am a liability that isn’t worth the benefit….”
Back in the day, I worked very hard to make myself exactly that kind of liability because I felt obligated to express my outrage and individuality by stridently refusing to toe the line. Times were different then, and the suits bought into the idea that creative people were, by their very nature, rebels. For a couple of decades, it worked. I produced some shows where I quit over some kind of executive interference literally every week…and was rewarded for that by being begged to stay on and given improvements in my deal. I also produced some shows where I was unceremoniously fired…but was immediately hired by another studio/network/series because, “Sure, he’s difficult to deal with. Because he’s good.”
By the late ’80s, however, corporate media consolidation was well underway, and alienating one CEO meant not being able to work in one Acme Mess O’ Other Places. Rebels were, in effect, ruthlessly exterminated.
Bottom line: As far as I’m concerned, the real way Dan Harmon went wrong was in playing the wrong game on the wrong field at the wrong time. I’m pleased to see him pursuing what should be a more successful strategy. The Industry needs his unique creative perspective. More importantly, so does the audience.
Good luck, Dan. Kick butt! (But sneakily, so the intolerant, greedy bastards don’t know.)