Interview: Yvette Nicole Brown & Gillian Jacobs of Community

September 15, 2012
Community - Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown

Community’s Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, and Yvette Nicole Brown

One of the most eagerly anticipated returning shows of the Fall has to be NBC’s Community, currently entering it’s fourth season. To celebrate the fact that all three previous seasons of Community are currently available to stream on Netflix, our own Ian MacIntyre sat down with two of the shows stars – Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) and Gillian Jacobs (Britta) – to discuss their favourite episodes, showrunner changes, the upcoming season, and… feet?

Listen to the raw audio of our interview with Yvette Nicole Brown & Gillian Jacobs of Community:  

Below is an abridged transcript of the interview.

Dork Shelf: How’s your day been?

Gillian Jacobs: Sweet!

Yvette Nicole Brown: It’s been good. It’s been good.

DS: I saw your tweets about how early you had to get up.

YNB: Yeah, we’re a little punch-drunk now, so maybe 85% of this’ll be usable. Give us 15 to just laugh it up.

DS: Oh, go nuts ladies.

GJ: (LAUGHS)

DS: (To Yvette) I was looking things up – Did you work on Repo Man here in Toronto?

YNB: I did! I did three days here, and it was raining when I came here then too. Toronto has let me down twice – I’ve been here three times, and it only let me down twice weather wise. We shot nights, and we shot at some industrial warehouse, so I was just sleeping during the day and working nights, so I missed everything. But it was fun. I like Toronto, it’s a beautiful city.

DS: I hope you get to see some of it today, unless you’re scheduled to the nines.

GJ: (GROANS AN AFFIRMATIVE)

YNB: We were going to go shopping along Bloor, but—

GJ: (MAKES FUNNY NOISE) “Bloor”.

DS: It’s a lovely name, isn’t it?

GJ: “Blooor”.

YNB: I’m gonna just watch movies in my room.

GJ: It’s like Comic Con; we don’t actually see San Diego, except for through a car window. So we’ve seen parts of Toronto through our car window. Yes, beautiful city.

DS: What was Comic Con like?

GJ: Mad-ness!

YNB: Yeah, Comic Con is something that you can’t even prepare for. I mean, you prepare in the form of sleeping, and lots of echinacea. That’s what you need to get through the day, I think. Lots of Vitamin C and maybe an iron pill for energy, but other than that it’s a whirlwind.

DS: So have you guys started production on the fourth season?

GJ: Mm-hmm. We’ve shot three and we’ll start episode 4 next Monday.

DS:: And it premieres—

GJ: (HUGE ENERGY) OCTOBER 19TH! On City TV!

YNB: 8:30.

GJ: And it’s streaming on—

GJ + YNB: (SINGING IN HARMONY) Netflix Canada!

GJ: Oh Canada…

YNB: You can catch up in time for October 19th, on Netflix Canada!

DS: I was very pleased to see that for once Netflix Canada has something that US Netflix doesn’t.

YNB: Yes!

GJ: Suck it, US Netflix.

DS: So if someone was going to go back and watch all of Season 3 on Netflix, what’s something that they should watch for?

YNB: The Law & Order episode. Don’t miss that.

GJ: (SINGING) Dun-dun Dun…

DS: Was that your favourite?

YNB: That was my favourite. That and when Shirley re-married Andre. For obvious reasons…

GJ: (LAUGHS)

YNB: Lots of kisses in that one. Lots of Theo Huxtable kisses.

Community - Yvette Nicole Brown

DS: I honestly think the hardest I laughed in Season 3 was in that episode. The moment between the two of you, when (Britta) offered to help plan (Shirley’s) wedding, with the two-minute laugh.

YNB: (LAUGHS) There was a lot of talk about that card – “Literally Two Minutes Later” – because that was the first time we had done something like that and people thought “that’s not Community kind of comedy.” I thought it was hilarious.

GJ: Yeah, I loved that.

YNB: You love working with me. Just say it.

GJ: True.

YNB: So true.

GJ: So true. We’re travel buddies too, me and Yvette. We travel a lot of places together.

YNB: We always take the train to Comic Con. Last year when we went down I was right behind Emma Stone. I listened to her conversations on the whole train ride.

GJ: (LAUGHS)

YNB: Learned a lot of stuff about Emma Stone: all delightful. She’s a lovely girl. Very polite to people; people stopping to ask for pictures and stuff and Emma’s like “oh sure.” I think she’s great.

DS: Who knows, maybe she listened to all your conversations.

YNB: (MOCK UPSET) I didn’t have anybody to talk to, I was by myself on that train! (LAUGHS) We were also on a plane together one time with Ashley Greene from Twilight and Randy Jackson from American Idol. That’s true.

GJ: There was something wrong with our plane. We had to de-plane and wait for a new plane and then a kid who had recently been kicked off American Idol

YNB: (James) Durbin? Yeah, the rocker. The one who had Tourette’s? That guy.

GJ: And Randy Jackson started playing guitar—

YNB: Played the guitar for all the passengers. This is not a dream, it happened.

GJ: This is not a pop-culture fever dream. And Ashley Greene was there…

YNB: She was nice…

GJ: And Rashida Jones…

YNB: Rashida was on that flight too! That was a great flight!

GJ: That was a good flight.

DS: This is for sure how I pictured this interview going.

GJ: (LAUGHS)

YNB: I’m sorry—

DS: No, please, this is much better than anything I had planned to ask.

YNB: These are tidbits that no one else has gotten.

DS: Since you’re into season 4 right now, with the new show runners, how has it been different? Is the show the same machine, or is it a different experience?

YNB: It feels the same to me. You know, Dan Harmon was a great boss, but he’s still in our lives. I think he’d wanna tell people that, because I feel like they feel like he just fell of the face of the Earth, and he didn’t. He’s working, he’s doing great – he’s got a Fox show and a CBS show, he just sold two shows. And he’s got a cartoon on Adult Swim, you know, he’s doing really well. And our new showrunners David (Guarascio) and Moses (Port) are fans of the show and I will say, if you’re gonna give the reins of the show to a fan, the first thing the fan would say is not “I’d like to change everything.” A fan of the show would say “I want to make sure the show is exactly the same.” So that’s what they’re doing. I feel that it still has the heart of the show. I believe that the love that the characters have for each other is still there and the wacky adventures are surely still there. Even three seasons in. I feel like even in the fourth season we’re chugging along at the right pace and it’s gonna be great.

DS: I saw all the voice work that you’re doing, on the Pound Puppies show. For one, is that something that you want to do more; and for two, is that where that great anime sequence came from last year?

YNB: No, I wish I could take credit for that. Not at all. That anime sequence caught me and Joel off guard. We had no idea. Like in the table read, we were reading, and then it turns into an anime. And I thought it was a joke. I thought like, “there’s no way.” Even in Community they’re not going to just bounce over to an anime sequence – and sure enough they did.

GJ: Explain the cat, in the middle.

YNB: I think that’s a part of anime. Like doesn’t a cat just appear randomly?

DS: Sure?

YNB: Yeah, it was so random. But the voiceover work – I’ve been doing Pound Puppies, this is my third season. What I love about the show is it’s pro-rescuing dogs instead of just going to puppy mills. Another thing that they teach is that there’s “a pup for every person, and a person for every pup.” And I like that, not just for pet owners, but I like that there’s somebody out there for everyone and I think that’s a beautiful thing that Pound Puppies teaches. Also, the kids are taught you don’t have to change who you are to find your perfect dog – there’s a dog that will like that you have freckles, or there’s a dog that will like that you’re snaggle-toothed or whatever, and I think that’s a good lesson to teach kids. And I’d love to do more of it, because you don’t have to get dressed and do your makeup.

Community - Gillian Jacobs

DS: Gillian, I was looking you up and I started typing your name. I was going to write “Gillian Jacobs… interview”, and it auto-filled in “Feet”. Um… why?

GJ: Oh yeah.

YNB: What’s the deal with your feet?

GJ: You don’t know about my foot fetishist following?

YNB: No…

DS: I don’t either. What’s this?

GJ: I have a foot fetishist following. People are into my feet.

YNB: I’ve never seen your feet. Well, I’ve seen ‘em, but do I care to see them?

GJ: I dunno. They’re just feet.

(GILLIAN TAKES OFF HER SHOE. WE ALL STARE).

YNB: Those are nice feet. That’s a nice manicure.

GJ: Thank you. I get tweets asking me if I’ll send them pictures of my feet.

YNB: Whoa…

GJ: They’re like, “It’s summer, Pedicure Season. What color are your toes? Send a picture…”

YNB: Whoaaa…

GJ: Yeah. Foot fetishist Twitter accounts tweet me. A lot.

DS: Cool…?

GJ: They’re fans. Who am I to turn down a fan? They’re into my feet – they can be into my feet. Sure.

YNB: (LAUGHS) Oh Gillian…

DS: By the way, I was so nervous about pronouncing your name wrong.

GJ: Oh, everyone does. Don’t worry about it.

YNB: You know what’s funny? I think I care more about people mispronouncing your name than you do.

GJ: Yeah. Joel corrects people too. I think that a lifetime of having people mispronounce your name, you just… otherwise, I’d be upset all the time because no one ever says my name correctly. You know, just… ducks off… a water’s… back. (SHE CONSIDERS THIS) Gettin’ loopy, Yvette!

YNB: (LAUGHS) You in the water, little duck?

GJ: Yup. Come in to get me. Still thinking about my foot fetishists.

DS: Shifting gears, what are your favourite minor characters to see show up on the show?

YNB: Ooohhh… Leonard.

GJ: Yeah, I love Leonard. Richard Erdman is amazing.

YNB: Yeah. The dream is to say a “Shut up, Leonard!” It was something that only Gillian and Joel would get to do.

GJ: Well Joel for the longest time did them. I’ve only had one.

YNB: I’ve only had one too, but when I saw in the Foosball episode that I got to do a “Shut up, Leonard!” – that’s a rite of passage on the show.

GJ: Yeah.

YNB: And I really like Vicki. And I don’t know if I like Vicki because I like Vicki, or if I like Vicki because I like Danielle (Kaplowitz) who plays Vicki. We love Danielle.

GJ: Yeah, Danielle’s awesome.

YNB: She’s a sweetie-pie. Charley Koontz who plays Neil is also fabulous. It’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our characters.

GJ: Totally. Even familiar extras, ’cause we have a lot of the same extras…

YNB: …from the first season, yeah. The guy who plays the Human Being, I think his name is William Love. He’s a cool guy. He spends his days in that Human Being suit, which has gotta be horrible for him.

GJ: No one wants to wear a beige unitard…

Community - Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown

DS: Are your favourite episodes to shoot, and your favourite episodes to watch, very different?

GJ + YNB: Yes!

DS: I know the schedules are crazy.

GJ: Sometimes you feel like “this is all worth it” because the episode comes together so well. But some of them, like in the middle of it you think it’s gonna kill you. But then you usually love to watch it. (TO YVETTE) But do you have flashes of what it took to shoot it when you’re watching it?

YNB: You know honestly, the ones that are hard to shoot I can’t even enjoy watching them.

GJ: Really?

YNB: Yeah, because I’m thinking about that night or that day or “I remember that shot.” I still enjoy it, but as far as sitting back and you watch an episode it’s like posttraumatic stress disorder for some of the ones that’re just…

GJ: You get a little twitch.

YNB: Yeah, you get a little twitch. The ones that are easy to shoot for me, because I’m… lazy (LAUGHS)… are the ones where Shirley is with her boys. (GIGGLES) It’s like, “where’s Shirley?” “Oh, she’s with her boys this week.” My favourite episodes to shoot, because I work, like, five hours.

GJ: Oh yeah, that Law & Order episode I was in one scene.

YNB: Oh yeah. Was that your favourite one to shoot?

GJ: No! I wish I could have been in the Law & Order episode more.

YNB: See. She’s not lazy.

(BOTH LAUGH)

DS: Sure she’s not.

GJ: Hey, I got these feet to support…

DS: What were some of the “PTSD episodes”?

YNB: Ooh, any paintball episode. I mean, it’s still worth it.

GJ: Halloween, first season.

YNB: Ooh, Halloween first season is the first we realized what we were in for on the show. The last scene when we were dancing was like 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. It might have been Ali who said, “this is really when we felt like we became a community.”

DS: Since we’re talking about Netflix today, what’re you two watching on the Netflix?

YNB: I just started Breaking Bad. I’m four episodes into the first season. And I told people on Twitter, I said “do not spoil this for me.”

GJ: Don’t tell people you’re watching it!

YNB: I know now not to do it! And I told them, I said “try me on this and see. If you spoil, even as a joke, I’m blocking you because I don’t know whether you’re a ruiner or not. And I’m not playin’” – I blocked three people that night. I saw someone starting “well Walter…” No. Delete. Block. I’m not playin’.

DS: Finally, what can we look forward to in season 4?

GJ: (SINGING) Shirley and Britta… makin’ out! In a rainbowland!

YNB: This is the 15% that’s useless to you… We see the inside of Pierce’s mansion.

DS: Seriously?

YNB: Seriously. You’re the first interviewer that ever got excited about that. It’s worth getting excited about, it’s really gonna be a great episode. It’s our Halloween episode. It’s a haunted house…

GNB: …of 80’s tacky fabulousness-ness.

YNB: Then Britta and Troy…

GJ: (IGNORING HER) Inspector Spacetime Convention.

YNB: Britta and Troy…

GJ: (IGNORING HER HARDER) Inspector Spacetime Convention.

YNB: (SUGGESTIVE) Britta and Troy…

GJ: (INSISTENT) Inspector Spacetime Convention!

YNB: And we meet Jeff’s dad.

GJ: How great is this?

DS: Thank you both so much.

YNB: Thank you.

GJ: Yeah, thanks!

You can see Yvette Nicole Brown and Gillian Jacobs in the first three seasons of Community, currently available to stream on Netflix Canada. The fourth season of Community premieres October 19th on CityTV and NBC.

Community Gillian Jacobs Yvette Nicole Brown Interview.mp3

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