John Goodman’s Guest Appearances in ‘Community,’ Ranked
During its six seasons and no movie (yet), Community was packed with stellar guest appearances — from Jack Black to Luis Guzmán to a delightful Billy Zane as a Honda boss with more hair on his chops than his head. Some of these appearances were memorable, some of them were brief and some of them actually outnumbered the guest spots of that damn monkey.
John Goodman was one of those lucky few who made it past a mere cameo. The legend portrayed vice dean and head of Greendale’s Air Conditioning Repair School, Robert Laybourne, in six episodes throughout the show’s third season. Goodman described Laybourne as an “unseen, unknown force on campus,” with the character mainly being added to give Dean Pelton a nemesis and get Troy Barnes to become an air-conditioning repairman.
Goodman, however, absolutely nailed it — per usual. Here, then, is a list containing all his scenes in Community ranked from band geek to, uh, ghost geek...
End Credits, ‘Digital Exploration of Interior Design’
After Laybourne concocts and executes a plan to break up Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) so that Troy can enroll in Laybourne’s air conditioning repair school, the two best friends find themselves on the brink of The Great Pillow and Blankets War. As the vice dean’s right-hand man, Murray, conveys this much to him, Laybourne drips with satisfaction before randomly pulling out a cap and trumpet and leaving for band practice. Who knew the man had hobbies? The cap sports his band’s name, “Kelvin and the Zeros,” which gives Laybourne super nerd credibility as it obviously refers to the Kelvin temperature scale. (Watch from the 6:07 mark below.)
Just the Beginning, ‘Advanced Gay’
When it’s time for Troy to decide whether or not he wants to give up the study group and join the repair school, Laybourne lures him into a storage closet via creepy magic vent action. Troy tells him that he’d rather watch TV with his friend Abed than fix air conditioners. There’s a hilarious moment where Laybourne tells him he’s making a mistake:
Laybourne: You’re making a huge mistake, son.
Troy: That may be, sir, but at least it’s my mistake.
Laybourne: It doesn’t change the fact that it’s a mistake.
Troy: (deviant) Doesn’t it?
Laybourne: (frowns, as in WTF) No, it doesn’t.
Laybourne Versus Pelton, ‘Origins of Vampire Mythology’
Throughout the third season, Laybourne conjures up various plans to get Troy to join his air-con cult. However, nothing works, and the man is forced to turn to his nemesis, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), for help. Even though he’s swallowing his pride here, Laybourne still exerts his power over Pelton and the man’s miniature playthings. (Starts at 6:40.)
Air-Conditioning History Buff, ‘Advanced Gay’
After putting Troy through a test as part of a diabolical
initiation kidnapping, Laybourne escorts Troy to the “Room Temperature Room” while explaining how air-conditioning people started out as slaves in Ancient Egypt but are now the real Pharaohs of the world. It’s also a nice comedic touch having Laybourne access the room by breathing onto the security sensor.
The Prophecy, ‘Introduction to Finality’
It’s the last scene before Laybourne’s death (or rather, murder) and the one where he tells Troy about the “Truest Repairman” prophecy. Laybourne leaves Troy with the words, “The true repairman will repair man,” a line that most certainly belongs in the Last Lines Hall of Fame.
Goodman in Pajamas, ‘Digital Exploration of Interior Design’
On his quest to cause division between the powerful kinship that is Troy and Abed, Laybourne visits Abed inside his pillow fort and persuades him to reject Troy‘s blanket fort idea with a highbrow speech that only Abed would appreciate. It‘s probably the shortest scene on this list, but it features Goodman in candy red pajamas. No notes.
Kingpin Kidnapper, ‘Advanced Gay’
Laybourne is first made aware of Troy‘s knack for fixing things in episode six of Season Three. The vice dean kidnaps Troy and other potential candidates, forcing them to participate in an initiation for a spot in his repair school. The kidnapping itself is an over-the-top plot and features an astronaut making paninis as well as a Black Hitler because, as Laybourne explains, no one will believe the students‘ story that way. The boulder of a man is intense.
Ponytail Laybourne, ‘Digital Exploration of Interior Design’
After being absent for half a dozen episodes, Laybourne appears seemingly out of nowhere to convince Troy to join his school by trying to sow discourse between him and Abed. It shows how invested the vice dean is in getting Troy to become an air-conditioning repair man as Laybourne actually sat down and watched Inspector Spacetime. (The 4:46 mark.)
Laybourne‘s “going through some stuff” line he uses to explain his new beard and ponytail is most likely due to the fact that Goodman was filming Flight around that time, in which he sports the same goatee and a ponytail. It also explains why he‘s in a band now.
Robert Laybourne‘s Introduction, ‘Biology 101’
The first episode of Season Three kicked off with Dean Pelton explicitly stating to the study group that he will not tolerate any monkey business in the new school year — even though Greendale now officially has an actual monkey because that‘s just Sitcom 101. This new motivation to take control leads Pelton to confront Laybourne about the Greendale Air Conditioning Repair School‘s lavish expenditures, including a fancy espresso machine paid for by the college‘s funds. It‘s the very first scene where we meet Goodman‘s character, and the power dynamic between the two is immediately tense because Laybourne obviously wants to eat Pelton‘s tiny little head. Also, hearing Goodman say “Wassup” is a gift we do not deserve. (At 0:49 below.)
Robert Laybourne‘s Office, ‘Biology 101’
After inviting Dean Pelton over to his office to discuss the Air Con Repair School’s luxurious spending and shave the dean’s ridiculous goatee, we get to see Laybourne’s administrative pad, which is three times the size of Pelton’s little work hole and comes with actual sunlight. Here, Laybourne tells the dean that 80 percent of Greendale’s budget comes from his annex’s alumni, which is why they can buy a freaking espresso machine. We also get to see Goodman yell at someone — always a thrill — and that thing he does with his voice at the end is something surely no one wants to hear in real life.
John Goodman as a Ghost, ‘Introduction to Finality’
When Troy defeats the repair school’s deadly and ridiculous “Sun Beam” chamber and outs Murray as Laybourne’s murderer, everyone claps because these people are weird. For a brief and final moment, Troy and all of us get to see Goodman as the vice dean for one last time, beaming proudly but also looking pretty damn creepy as a big blue Star Wars-looking ghost. Rest in (air-conditioned) peace.