Community

You know who's really kind of hard to believe? The cast of Community.

Not because they're all talented or good-looking or whatever. They are. But that's true of most people on TV. But they only seem so smart and cool because other people — dorky sweaty writers — think of great stuff for them to do.

Not so with the Community people. The Community people — and this is kind of an outrage — are also really good at coming up with great material for themselves. They proved it, yet again, at their Comic-Con panel Saturday.

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One of them is Chevy Chase, basically a comic genius, who has utterly nailed the self-satisfied American male. Then there is Joel McHale, the host of The Soup, who is the present owner of the exceedingly rare perfect dry delivery.

Donald Glover, who's in the sketch and improv group Derrick (whose videos you and millions of others may have happened across on YouTube), used to write for 30 Rock and moonlights as a rapper. And also, annoyingly, he doesn't seem to be one of those multi-hyphenates who just throws a lot of stuff on his resume out of insecurity. He's actually good at every one of these things.

Danny Pudi forms one of the best comic duos on television with Glover, and never, ever seems to be off. Alison Brie, the go-to crush of anyone paying attention, also stars on Mad Men, another of the other best shows on TV, and once improvised a really good song with Pudi during an interview with TVGuide.com. The flawless Gillian Jacobs happens also to be, good lord, a gifted dramatic actress. And the adorable Yvette Nicole Brown has some of the best moments in the show and exudes human decency.

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You kind of want to hate these people, right?

But then you can't. Because their show is the kind of three-steps-ahead-of-you funny of 30 Rock at its best. And they may be funnier in person than they are on TV.

Their Comic-Con panel featured scads of good off-the-cuff bits: Glover pretending to be a magician who cries when his tricks don't work, and then a home invader who will say anything to have sex with McHale. Chase saying how much he loves his cast mates, and then demanding that Brown get her hand off him. Pudi and Glover repeating their first-season performances of their Spanish rap, and then "Somewhere Out There" from An American Tale.

Watching all this, you may be tempted to think: Why do these people even need writers, when I laugh at hard at their panel as I do at their show? But then, to really, twist the knife, they give the writers all the credit for how good their show is.

Eventually, with a lot of prodding, the show's stars concede that maybe, just maybe, they did think of some of the funniest bits on the show themselves: like Brie's choo-choo noise in one episode, or Glover's ad lib when he and Pudi played Sesame Street's Burt and Ernie.

That ad lib? "I'm late for my cousin's funeral."

Argh, you know? Just argh.

NBC's Community returns Sept. 23.