Yvette Nicole Brown is registering a new gig on NBC with their sitcom, “Community.”
You might recognize Yvette from her recurring role on "Girlfriends" as Toni’s sister, or perhaps from Nickelodeon’s "Drake and Josh." But starting this fall, she’ll be starring in “Community” as Shirley, a newly divorced housewife trying to rebuild her life.
The actress told us that Shirley’s a little bitter about her personal situation since her husband ran off and left her with the kids. Lacking a college education Shirley decides to enroll at Greendale Commuity College in Colorado to find herself and a marketable skill.
Ok, we know that sounds really tragic for what is supposed to be a sitcom, but Shirley has some interesting quirks. “She’s really mothering, but there is another side of her that’s a little, some would say, maybe, a little violent or scary that comes out when she’s been pushed,” Yvette told S2S of her character, which she plays with great comedic timing.
“Community” centers on a Spanish class study group made up of an eclectic mix of students. Aside from Shirley, there’s disbarred lawyer Jeff Winger (played by Joel McHale of E’s “The Soup”), moist towlette mogul Pierce, recovering pill popper Annie and former football player Troy. Also part of the group Britta, who used to be in the Peace Corps, and Abed who wants to enter his family’s falafel business.
“We’re kind of all misfits and have quirks and we don’t fit in, basically, in our own lives,” Yvette told us. “And so we find this family, or community, amongst each other at a community college.”
“Community” was the final show of what had been a less than successful pilot season for Yvette, discouraged by a few parts that didn’t pan out for her, she almost let the role of Shirley pass her by. Her agent approached her about the part and gave her the script, but the actress was seriously thinking about not trying for the part.
However, Yvette changed her mind on the morning of the audition when she just decided to look over the script. “I read it and Iaughed out loud,” she recalled, noting that the decision came just one hour before the casting call. “I had to cram and, like, learn lines and get ready, and it’s just a blessing from God that this came through for me.”
We were surprised to hear that table reads are pretty tame since the cast goes over the next week’s script during their lunch hour on Monday. The same can’t be said of episode shoots.
“When we get on set, and everybody’s allowed to kind of adlib, it’s bananas in a good way,” said Yvette. “The producers put together a cast that every single one of these people is funny in a different way. Everyone has a different way of being funny, so when you put them all in a room together, it’s a grab bag of crazy. It’s ridiculuous in the best way.”
With all that funny on set, Yvette admits that it’s nearly impossible for her to keep a straight face. “If somebody’s going to break and mess up a take, it’s going to be me,” she confessed to S2S. “I’m always the first one to go because when I find something funny. I find it very funny.”
After watching this clip we definitely don’t blame her, but we wonder how many takes it took her to get through the scene.
For more moments like this, you can catch Yvette (and the rest of the cast) in NBC’s “Community” on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. EST.
– Sonya Eskridge
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