Modern Family Executive Producer and Community Lead Actress Visit Cleveland Public Library in April
Two of Hollywood’s most talented personalities have Cleveland roots and are returning home to talk about what it means to be from Cleveland and how a regional personality and perspective takes shape. On April 25th, Modern Family executive producer Dan O’Shannon and Community’s Yvette Nicole Brown will be at the Cleveland Public Library for a free and lighthearted dialogue titled Who We Are: Comedy, Tragedy, & Cleveland.
Cleveland, once a bustling metropolis and a premier location for shipping, manufacturing, and opportunity, has taken a hit to its self-esteem over the past several decades. An identity stemming from unemployment, government corruption, bleak weather, and subpar sports teams have left Clevelanders explaining to the outside world why anyone would choose to live here. Through decades of common experiences, including a history of hearing Cleveland as the punch line in national media and a general feeling of being the underdog, Clevelanders have weathered the negativity and formed a collective and powerful identity that is forever hopeful.
Yvette Nicole Brown and Dan O’Shannon will be joined b y Dave Hill, a native Clevelander, comedian, writer, and frequent contributor to This American Life on NPR. The guests will engage in a conversation, moderated by local public Radio host and Plain Dealer columnist Mike McIntyre, about Cleveland’s regional personality, explored through a comic lens. Based on Brown’s, O’Shannon’s, and Hill’s common experiences as former Clevelanders, they will examine the development of Cleveland’s identity through the collective experiences of the people who live here. The free program is produced by LAND studio and the Cleveland Public Library and is part of the ongoing Lockwood Thompson Dialogues program.
Held annually, the Lockwood Thompson Dialogues expose the Cleveland community to unrehearsed and provocative discussions that are built upon themes formulated to be relevant to current events or topics of public interest and engagement. The dialogues are generously funded through an endowment of the late Lockwood Thompson, who was an avid art collector and trustee to the Cleveland Public Library.
Dan O’Shannon has written for some of the most acclaimed network comedies including Newhart, Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family. His awards include but are not limited to four Emmys, two Golden Globes, five WGA awards and an Academy Award nomination. O’Shannon has also lectured at UCLA, USC, and other colleges, and has taught a course on writing at Cleveland State University, from which he holds an honorary doctorate. In addition to writing for television since 1985, Dan O’Shannon is the author of a book about comedy theory, What Are You Laughing At? A Comprehensive Guide to the Comedic Event, published by Continuum International Publishing Group (2012). The book examines what comedy is and why we respond to it the way we do and has been adopted for classroom use by universities across the country.
Yvette Nicole Brown currently stars as the opinionated but sweet Shirley in the NBC comedy Community. As a young girl growing up in East Cleveland, Brown dreamed of a career on stage and screen. She began her entertainment career as recording artist while still in her teens. After an impromptu audition for Michael Bivins she was instantly signed to Motown Records. Upon graduation from the University of Akron, she packed her bags and followed her dreams to Los Angeles. Brown has emerged as one of the most sought after character actresses in Hollywood, known for her memorable appearances on numerous hit TV shows and feature films. Aside from her current work on Community, Brown can be heard every Saturday as Cookie on the cartoon Pound Puppies, which begins its third season on the Hub network this summer. Brown currently resides in Los Angeles.