Omar comin’: ‘Community’ casts Michael Kenneth Williams

Senior Television Writer
07.23.11 40 Comments


“Community” has found its new teacher, and I can describe the casting in two words:

Omar comin’.

Michael Kenneth Williams, beloved by “The Wire” fans for his work as larger-than-life stick-up man Omar Little – and also by “Boardwalk Empire” fans for his current role as non-bookcase-building Chalky White – has agreed to appear in at least three episodes of “Community” season 3.

Each season on “Community,” the study group all takes one class together. In season 1, it was Spanish, with Ken Jeong’s Senor Chang as the instructor. Last season, they took Anthropology, with John Oliver’s Professor Duncan taking over after Betty White got suspended at the end of the premiere. Now it’s Williams’ turn, and he’ll be playing an ex-con who teaches the study group’s Biology class.

Williams remains a regular castmember of “Boardwalk Empire,” but because cable shows film fewer episodes than their network counterparts, and on irregular schedules, he was able to get permission to do this.

When “Community” got shut out of Emmy nominations for the second year in a row, I joked that it was now “The Wire” of sitcoms, and that Dan Harmon’s best way to make this point clear would be to do a season-long story arc about the pointlessness of awards, akin to the newspaper storyline from “The Wire” season 5. Instead, the show has found a different, potentially more awesome, way to make the link.

I’ll have a report from the “Community” Comic-Con panel later today, and I did a couple of hilarious group interviews with the cast that we hope to post in the next few days. In the meantime, enjoy a bit of vintage Omar goodness while you wait for the season premiere in September:

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