Lauren Hallow / Lantern photographer
It started with a stretch, turned into a kiss and ended with the audience roaring in laughter.
Three men in dark zip-up hooded sweatshirts took the stage, who could be mistaken for average American men, had they not been part of the Emmy Award-winning comedy series, “Modern Family.”
Cast members Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who play Phil, Cameron and Mitchell respectively, unzipped their jackets, revealing three T-shirts adorned with the Ohio State logo, to the applause and screams of the crowd.
“I feel like they joined the Buckeye community, and it brought us closer to them,” said Hillary Schlichting, a first-year in molecular genetics. “Ohio State has a strong sense of community, and you could see it through the crowd when they showed off their OSU gear.”
After the men sat down in their chairs Wednesday night in the Mershon Auditorium at the Wexner Center, the conversation with moderator and Associate Vice President for Student Life, Xen Riggs, eventually took a turn toward more serious issues.
When Riggs asked Stonestreet and Ferguson how they felt about criticisms targeted at their characters’ lack of affection on the show, the actors turned to comedy.
Without missing a beat, Stonestreet and Ferguson moved from their chairs to share a mouth-to-mouth kiss on stage, met with the audience’s roar of approval.
“I thought it was just really funny,” said Callie Tucker, a first-year in exploration. “I think people who disagree with gay marriage definitely could still find it funny, because those two actors have a dynamic with each other even if (Stonestreet) is straight.”
The night quickly became a casual evening among friends, with the three men lounging comfortably in their own chairs.
Riggs and the three actors touched on a variety of subjects during the hour-long interview, including their use of improvisation on the show, their first gigs in the acting world and the show’s impact on society’s view of gay marriage.
“I feel like it probably does (have an impact), because everybody really likes Cam and Mitchell a lot,” Tucker said. “It just makes them think it’s more acceptable than they would have before watching the show.”
The loose nature of the show made it successful, Tucker said.
“I really liked the setting, because if it were more formal, I don’t think you would laugh as much,” Tucker said. “It wouldn’t be as funny.”
The audience members were also able to see a different side of the “Modern Family” cast during the question-and-answer session.
“It was like you got to interact with them like they interact with each other,” Schlichting said. “It was really an intimate setting, and I loved it.”
The casual setting also allowed audience members to feel a connection with these men they had watched on screen for nearly two years.
“I feel like they’re my best friends now,” Tucker said with a laugh.