“Community” Showrunner Dan Harmon On Finding Opportunity In Failure

Dan Harmon knows all about working through challenges.

After he was fired from his own show, NBC’s Community, Harmon didn’t stop working. Instead, he took his podcast Harmontown on a nationwide tour and invited a filmmaker to come along. The resulting documentary, also named Harmontown, premiered at SXSW 2014.

“It’s kind of obvious looking at it afterward that I’m doing [the tour], because I’m afraid, I’m afraid to fail again,” Harmon says. “I’m trying to do something that maybe I could be better at, which is just being myself, as opposed to typing something on a keyboard that’s going to represent me on television.”

Harmon ended up getting brought back for season five but NBC announced last month it was canceling Community. The show is now being shopped around to other networks. Either way, Harmon still has Rick and Morty, his show at Adult Swim, which was renewed earlier this year.

But failing isn’t all bad. It’s part of life and a useful experience when sitting down to write. Harmon, appropriately enough, finds the humor in it, too.

“It’s a lot worse actually,” he says, “to be creative and only achieve success, because eventually you are going to become somebody who lives in a giant house and has weird feelings about his gardener and doesn’t have any thoughts that relate to 99% of the audience.”