The show was based on Dan Harmon's life at community college, attempting to reconcile with his girlfriend in Spanish courses. He has also stated the characters are loosely based on the people he hung around with and has nothing to do with his film and television career.
The Pierce Hawthorne character is supposed to have made his fortune with a moist-towelette company called "Hawthorne Wipes." Chevy Chase, the actor who plays Hawthorne, in real life also has a family fortune derived from a personal sanitation product. Chase, whose real name is Cornelius Crane Chase, is the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt Crane, who was heir to the Crane Plumbing company, which manufactures and distributes plumbing fixtures and products (most notably, toilets for home and commercial markets) in North America.
Creator/showrunner Dan Harmon was fired after the third season by Sony Pictures Television. Crew members claimed that Harmon caused numerous delays in shooting and that his work habits caused tension between himself and the writers. Harmon was replaced with David Guarascio and Moses Port. Writers Chris McKenna and Dino Stamatopoulos also left. After a low-rated fourth season, Harmon was rehired and Guarascio and Port were fired. McKenna and Stamatopoulos also returned.
Dan Harmon originally wanted Annie to be played by an Asian or Latina actress. He eventually cast a white actress, Alison Brie in the role, but later created a character named Annie Kim played by Irene Choi, who is Asian, as a nod to his original idea.
In 2009, Donald Glover told The New York Daily News that one of his inspirations for his "Community" character, Troy Barnes, was the character of Brian "Smash" Williams in the TV show "Friday Night Lights." Glover said, "When you think of the former high school football star, you think 6-foot-2, white, meathead as the model for that kind of character. Since I'm not 6-foot-2 or white, I just thought about what I could bring to it. I thought about Smash Williams from 'Friday Night Lights,' like the cocky quarterback, and played around with that."
The Boob-A-Tron 6000 that Abed and Troy have in the season one episode "The Art of Discourse" appears "alive" in a flashback of Annie and Jeff in the season two episode "Paradigms of Human Memory" This references the conversation between Abed and Troy in "The Art of Discourse" where Abed says that Boob-A-Tron will come to life when bong water is spilt on his circuitry.
After five seasons, NBC canceled "Community" in May 2014. Sony, the show's production owner, was involved in talks with Hulu to renew the show for its Sixth Season. Talks with Hulu collapsed, however, but Yahoo! purchased a 13-episode order and renewed the show in June 2014 for a Sixth Season. Harmon said in a July 2014 San Diego Comic Con panel: "Community Season Six - now you're watching the way you used to watch, only now it's legal," jokingly referring to how many in its audience watched the show illegally on their computers. "Community" aired new episodes exclusively on the online streaming site, Yahoo! Screen, in March 2015.
Ray Liotta was Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna's first choice for the character of Buzz Hickey in the fifth season. Harmon revealed at 2014 PaleyFest that he was in several phone calls with Liotta, but ended up eventually casting Jonathan Banks.
Showrunner Dan Harmon revealed at the 2014 PaleyFest that Joel McHale lobbied for Harmon to be rehired after Harmon was fired after the Third Season. Harmon then met with co-showrunner Chris McKenna and both agreed to return for the Fifth Season.
Chevy Chase left the series towards the end of the fourth season. Nevertheless, he agreed to return for a surprise cameo in the fifth season premiere. Although Chase had a public feud with showrunner Dan Harmon, Chase departed during the season Harmon was not running the show. Harmon has later stated their feud was resolved before the story hit the news.
In 2014, Yvette Nicole Brown confirmed that she had asked to be released from her sixth-season contract because the demands of caring for her gravely ill father had become overwhelming. She also said that Sony had allowed her to accept a recurring role on a midseason version of The Odd Couple airing on a different network; Brown explained that The Odd Couple, as a multicamera sitcom, would be less taxing on her schedule than Community, which is a single-camera show.
In one episode Abed (Dani Pudi) tries to seduce Annie (Alison Brie) in order to impress the group and he impersonates Don Draper, the main character from the show Mad Men (2007). Alison Brie was in a few episodes of Mad Men.