November 24, 2016 

By Zon D’Amour 

Contributing Writer 

There’s something special about Shaun Brown’s spirit that exudes #BlackBoyJoy, the new social media hashtag that recognizes men of color that personify happiness and optimism. With all puns intended, describing Brown as a hashtag is a great way to explain his role in the new CBS series, “The Great Indoors”.


Led by comedian Joel McHale (“Community”) Brown plays Mason, a writer at an adventure magazine who along with his colleagues, try to merge the generational gap between millennials, Baby Boomers and Gen X.


In an exclusive interview with the L.A. Watts Times, Brown shares the unconventional way in which he landed his agent, he gives insight on his character’s mysterious past as well as how he defines success.


LAWT: How did you initially decide that you wanted to pursue acting as a career?


Shaun Brown: My dad is in the air force and my mom was a doctor, growing up in a conservative household, I always thought I was going to be a heart surgeon. One day while I was watching the Discovery Channel, I saw an actual surgery with all of the blood and I said, ‘Nope I don’t wanna do that.’ Coincidentally a week after I decided I didn’t want to be a doctor, there was an announcement on the PA system at my high school that they were holding auditions for “West Side Story”. I went in with no music, I just sang a cappella and I got a role. Ever since then, I was bitten by the acting bug and it’s been an amazing ride.


LAWT: Can you share the unconventional way in which you found an agent?


SB: When I first moved to L.A., I had the cliché story--I was broke, living on a mattress and eating ramen noodles every other day. I was emailing hundreds of agents saying that I was a theatre actor, new to Los Angeles looking for representation but no one was responding. I met with a commercial agent and he invited me to their comedy showcase to see what they were all about. I went even though I wanted a theatrical agent because I wanted to do TV and film. I was sitting in the front row and the host of the comedy showcase pointed me out and said, ‘This guy looks like a sexy cartoon, somebody sign this guy! He has a great look. Do you have an agent?’ I said, ‘No’ and he added, ‘Someone sign this kid’ and the next day, I got an email from my agent who I still have til this day, so it worked out.


LAWT: What differentiates “The Great Indoors” from other tech series like “The Big Bang Theory”?


SB: We’re talking about things that are happening now with apps and social media. It goes into a more heartfelt place of these crazy characters with all of these different quirks who are trying to work out a common goal at the end of every episode. What drew me to the role was I felt like Mason was a lot like me, I didn’t feel like I had to put on a character. I felt like I was being honest which I strive to do with all of my work. I remember thinking ‘This is me, please let me book this!’ and it worked out.


LAWT: How is the audience going to continue to see your character develop?


SB: You’re going to learn Mason’s deep secrets. You’re going to learn more about what makes him so mysterious. He has this sexual fluidity of ‘is he or isn’t he gay?’ which I personally love because first of all it’s a work place so it’s no one’s business but secondly it’s interesting to have that conversation of what’s gay? What’s masculine? What’s straight? I love to be apart of such an important conversation so we’re going to see more of Mason’s back-story and who he is which is really exciting.


LAWT: Now that you’ve accomplished your dream, is it any different than you expected?


SB: I’ve been telling people that it should be a crime that you’re paying me to do this job because it’s just so much fun. Joel McHale is amazing, he’s very much the captain of the ship and he sets the tone of collaboration and having fun.


I feel very fortunate that someone took a chance on me to be apart of this show. As far as challenges, the hours are long but who am I to complain? I love feeling tired and exhausted at the end of the day because it means I did something, this is fun for me.


LAWT: What would you tell your younger self about what it means to be successful?


SB: Success is doing what you love and having food in the fridge. It’s having your parents call you to tell you how proud they are of you. That’s success to me.


I would tell my younger self to keep going. I live by the mantra, ‘Cream always rises to the top’ so if you can be the most excellent actor and the best person you can be, then you’ll be successful in some capacity because you can’t deny excellence.


So keep growing, keep pushing, keep doing what you’re doing because you’re on the right path.


“The Great Indoors” airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.

Category: Arts & Culture