Comedian-Actor DEON COLE was raised on the famous SOUTH SIDE Of CHICAGO, stars in ABC sitcom BLACK*ISH, and; covers the new issue of ROLLING OUT Magazine!!!
Here are some interview interludes:
When did you first gravitate toward comedy?
I’ve always been a fan of comedy, from Richard Pryor to Redd Foxx. It wasn’t something I thought about pursuing. I was just a fan.
What was your first experience on stage like?
The one thing I remember most was when I got off stage and sat down; I knew my life changed. [I realized ] this is why I’m here. It wasn’t so I could drive trains for the CTA because that was my goal. I wanted to be an A&R, but I thought that was a little far-fetched. I wasn’t thinking comedy in the sense of a career; I just thought it was something I could do for fun.
How do you cater to different audiences while still being yourself?
A lot of people forget every day that there’s only one of them. People don’t realize that when they wake up every morning. They just wake up to fit in. If you remember that regardless of what you do, that allows you to do you, and you don’t have to alter who you are. If you be who you are, everyone will see that and never forget it because it’ll be something they’ve never seen before. But you have to remember you’ve never been seen before. When it comes to jokes, I know [there’s] only one me and the jokes I do. I don’t have to change it up like that.
How were you first introduced to “Black-ish“?
When I left “Conan,“ I had my own show “Black Box.” We didn’t renew it because at the time the network, even though they were great, they were lily-white and didn’t know what to do with me. I ended up going to an audition for “Angie Tribeca“ with Steve Carell and Rashida Jones. Mind you, anything I’ve ever auditioned for I never got because when they have you in mind for something, it’s something they’ve seen before. The part I auditioned for I didn’t get, but Steve Carell liked me so much, he created a part for me in the show. It took a long time for us to film so this agent Tamera Goings told me they are looking for writers for this new show “Black-ish.“ She suggested that I could write until my show started. I talked to Kenya Barris about a character that was supposed to be like him when he was at work and how odd he was, and I told him I’d write it a certain way. They were about to shoot, and he just asked if I could play the character because only he and I really understood it.
You grew up in the ’90s so Big and Pac were your era. What are your thoughts on today’s hip-hop?
Today’s hip-hop is entertaining. It’s almost like the WWF. Back in the day, it was more about how you executed, and now it’s just if you’re high or drunk. Our era was a golden era of what and how you said something. Now it’s like if you’re not doing what everyone else is doing, you’re not making any money. Now, they’re spitting gluten-free bars. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll make you feel good, but as far as moving the culture forward, it’s not that. Growing up, I learned a lot from hip-hop. Now you don’t learn anything.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I just want people to [say], “He provided us a different perspective.” There are a lot of comics out there but everyone has a different perspective. Everyone has tried to change the game, and I try to do that as well. I did that in terms of making sure comics [follow through] with their work. I just want everyone to know I helped push the game forward.