Playing the religious and uber-positive Shirley on COMMUNITY is comedienne Yvette Nicole Brown who has found the experience on the quirky NBC series to be an absolute blast.
There are many layers to Shirley, who has proven that she’s not as holy as she might appear. And from discovering she has hidden talents like being a foosball expert to her recent re-marriage to former husband Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), the series has been having fun exploring the many different dynamics of her character.
While at Wondercon, Brown spoke to the press about COMMUNITY and even teased about a couple of upcoming episodes during the remainder of Season 3.
On whether Shirley and Pierce (Chevy Chase) will form a business together …
“Shirley has a dream and Pierce has money so there’s a good chance and we’ll see how that goes,” says Brown. “Nothing ever works out as planned at Greendale.”
On the forthcoming LAW & ORDER inspired episode …
“We were bummed that it leaked,” says Brown. “We’re excited about that episode. When we did the table read, everyone was racing to get to do that ‘chunk chunk’ [sound].”
On Shirley’s occasional high voice …
“I remember the first time I asked [creator] Dan [Harmon] if it was okay and he said, ‘sure,’” says Brown. “I never knew, three years later, all the times I’ve been doing the voice [it was because my character] was flirting with someone. I think she might have talked to a priest with that voice. That was very shocking to find that was her sexy voice.”
On the writers pulling attributes from Brown for Shirley …
“I don’t want to say, ‘yes, that’s me,’” says Brown. “I think maybe my Christianity informs her, but Shirley is very judgmental and I’m not. Shirley has done things that I cringe about. She’s also slept with Chang [Ken Jeong]. There’s a lot of stuff she does that’s not me.”
On the creation of her catch phrase, “oh, that’s nice” …
“During the pilot, Joel [McHale] said [what I did] touched him and I said ‘oh, that’s nice,’ and it stuck,” says Brown. I didn’t know we were still rolling and it made it into the pilot. I’m not doing Shirley, that’s me.”
On watching an episode after they film it …
“We film for 80 hours a week,” says Brown. “So by the time an episode comes on, we see how they edit it all together and what they choose — it’s like watching it like a fan.”
On the recent ratings surge …
“I was shocked,” says Brown with relief who says she got up early the morning after the series returned from hiatus. “I was on twitter looking for COMMUNITY ratings and there they were and it was glorious. We knew most of our fans watch online. I knew when I walked outside, people recognize me from DRAKE AND JOSH, but times it by 30 and that many people recognize me from COMMUNITY. If that many people recognize me, they’re watching, but not being counted. So we hoped maybe some millions uncounted will watch again and find their way to the Nielsen box.”
On the prospects of Season 4 …
“Before [the ratings surge] I did not,” says Brown. “After those numbers, it gave us a renewed hope. I know THE BIG BANG THEORY is a formidable opponent and if the fans continue to show NBC there’s a fan base and ‘we’ll tune in’, we have a very good shot.”
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Article: Interview with COMMUNITY star Yvette Nicole Brown