Yvette Nicole Brown is no stranger to prime-time TV, but now her job is even sweeter as she plays Dani, a character from Cleveland on the reboot of The Odd Couple on CBS. Starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon in the roles of Oscar Madison and Felix Unger, the show features Dani as Perry's no-nonsense assistant. Last year, Brown notably bowed out of the sixth season of quirky single-camera sitcom Community to care for her ailing father. So The Odd Couple, a multi-camera format, makes for a more flexible schedule and a fresh opportunity to reinvent a classic. Brown opens up about finding her fit in Dani and eavesdropping on Betty White.
Q. Can you tell us about your new character, Dani?
A. Dani has my voice. It's one of the first times I've — as an actor — given my voice to one of the characters. That's my hair. On a lot of shows I wear wigs and pieces. Dani is very efficient and no-nonsense like I am. She's a little nosier and a bit of a busybody.
Q. Is your Dani similar to Oscar's assistant Myrna from the '70s version of the TV show?
A. I would love for anyone to think anything I'm doing is close to what Penny Marshall has done ever. But to be honest, Dani is more like Florence from The Jeffersons, the fabulous Marla Gibbs. Dani isn't one to coddle her boss without adding a little bit of sass. So it is the Penny Marshall character I'm playing but not in the Penny Marshall way.
Q. You work with Euclid native and former Modern Family writer Dan O'Shannon, who is a consulting producer on The Odd Couple. How is that?
A. He and I both love Cleveland tremendously. One day after rehearsal, he asked what I thought of Dani being from Cleveland and I said, "I love it!" There are two episodes in particular that we speak about Cleveland. In one, she's going back to Cleveland for her high school reunion. It's kind of my love letter back to my hometown.
Q. What was it like guest-starring on Hot in Cleveland?
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