It has been exciting to see what the cast of Community has been up to ether since leaving the series or following through to its end. For instance, Joel McHale has branched out into more dramas and started a podcast with Ken Jeong, Alison Brie has two Golden Globe nominations for GLOW, I could write an entire article (and I have) about Donald Glover’s accomplishments, and Yvette Nicole Brown has pretty much been all over the place.
While the 49-year-old Cleveland-native is still best known for playing single mother and Greendale business student Shirley Bennett, Dan Harmon’s cult favorite sitcom is only one of 132 credits currently listed on her IMDb page, not just counting the Community cast’s socially distanced charity table read in May. She continued to be a sitcom queen with recurring roles on CBS' The Odd Couple remake and Mom, still lends her voice to countless animated TV series that range from kid-friendly to not-so-kid-friendly, and has been a guest host on several talk shows, including AMC's Talking Dead as Chris Hardwick's replacement.
Of course, for someone who works as consistently as Yvette Nicole Brown does, some appearances are destined to fall through the cracks, like the following 10 movies and TV shows we have compiled below. I was actually surprised to see her name pop up in some of these notable titles, except for one from a popular teen-centered comedy that, after Shirley Bennett on Community, may be her most iconic character of all.
Drake & Josh (Helen)
Of all the memorable secondary characters from Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh, making the biggest impact would have to be Helen - manager of The Premiere movie theater notorious for blindingly admiring her former employee, Drake (Drake Bell), and unreasonably despising current employee, Josh (Josh Peck). After first appearing in Season 2, Yvette Nicole Brown would continue to play the character for the rest of the series (and in the feature-length Christmas special and Victorious crossover episode), except for one 2004 episode when she was recast by Frances Callier due to her commitment to another sitcom at the time.
The Big House (Eartha Cleveland)
That sitcom was The Big House, which starred a young Kevin Hart as, essentially, a reverse of Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air who is forced to abandon his pampered life in Miami and live with his lower-class aunt, uncle, and cousins in Philadelphia. Yvette Nicole Brown played Hart’s cousin Eartha Cleveland for all six episodes that aired before ABC’s cancellation in 2004, allowing her to continue playing Helen on Drake & Josh.
House (Ellen Stambler)
In another instance of Yvette Nicole Brown on a series with the word “house” in the title, she made one guest appearance on House, opposite Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie in the Sherlock Holmes-inspired title role. In “Sex Kills,” the Season 2 episode of the long-running medical drama, Brown played organ procurement agency employee Ellen Stambler, whose misinterpretation of a conversation between House and a patient’s husband led to his heartbreaking, premature discovery of his wife’s death.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (Stewardess)
In one of her first-ever gigs, Yvette Nicole Brown had the honor of standing off against Larry David on the Season 4 finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm as a flight attendant struggling to get the Seinfeld co-creator to comply with takeoff procedure per Friends star David Schwimmer’s alleged request. In 2019, actress recalled the moment as a “trial by fire” for her improv skills on Larry King Now to guest host Dennis Miller.
That '70s Show (Sgt. Davis)
Most fans of the That '70s Show agree that the eighth and final season of the period comedy is the weakest, especially after the replacement of Topher Grace with Josh Meyers (indeed the brother of Seth, in case you were wondering). At least his character, Randy, is tangentially responsible for Yvette Nicole Brown’s appearance as Sgt. Davis, who puts the gang through her own hilarious cruelty in a jail cell after Hyde’s (Danny Masterson) bachelor party does not go as planned.
Two And A Half Men (Mandy)
Most audiences also agree that every season of Two and a Half Men after Charlie Sheen’s publicly disastrous exit was also a step down (with all due respect to Ashton Kutcher), but Season 1 still has its fans. Among its highlight guest performances, I would cite Yvette Nicole Brown’s small role as Mandy - a member of a women’s support group run by Alan’s (Jon Cryer) wife, Judith (Marin Hinkle), offended by young Jake’s (Angus T. Jones) sexist remarks that he learned from Charlie.
The Office (Paris)
Yvette Nicole Brown also made a brief, singular appearance in Season 3 of The Office as Paris, who becomes Dwight Schrute’s (Rainn Wilson) co-worker after he quits Dunder Mifflin in a previous episode and takes a job at Staples. While interviewed by the camera crew, she makes it clear she that does not "like him, his giant head, or his beady little eyes,” which is to be expected by those who know him best.
Avengers: Endgame (S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent)
The Russo Brothers have been on a not-so-covert mission to sneak as many Community alums into their Marvel movies as possible since day one and they achieved a double-decker in Avengers: Endgame with Ken Jeong shows and Yvette Nicole Brown. In a cameo the actress was actually surprised to discover, she is spotted sharing an elevator at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters circa 1970 with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), whose appearance arouses her suspicions, prompting her to call security and very nearly thwarting their mission to obtain Pym Particles.
Lady And The Tramp (Aunt Sarah)
Yvette Nicole Brown would also cause trouble for the central characters of another 2019 film under the Disney umbrella - the live action remake of Lady and the Tramp released exclusively on Disney+. Brown plays a modernized (and, by comparison, more antagonized) version of Aunt Sarah, whose treatment of Lady and, really, all dogs in general is quite detestable.
DC Super Hero Girls (Various)
In addition to small, nameless role in a Marvel movie, Yvette Nicole Brown has also been involved in the DC universe and as more than one character, too. On the animated DC Super Hero Girls series alone, she has provided the voice of the mother of teen heroine Bumblebee and the ruthless Amanda Waller, whom you might recognize from Viola Davis’ portrayal in Suicide Squad.
What do you think? Does Yvette Nicole Brown deserve a bigger role in a future comic book movie, or are you really just pulling for that long-awaited Community spin-off movie for the time being? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the underrated comedic actress, as well as even more inside looks into the lesser-known screen appearances of your favorite celebrities, here on CinemaBlend.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.