How many television shows is Deon Cole currently doing? Plenty—maybe five, maybe more. Cole’s roster of television gigs demonstrates that he is not going to pass up an opportunity. Maintaining his TV production schedule takes some doing, but Cole said time only gets intense when he’s shooting three of the series at once. Heaven knows how he finds the time, but Cole is dedicated to his stand-up career and does dozens of club dates every year—like the few he did this past weekend in Music City.
No stranger to the town, Cole brought his act to Zanies, where of course, he was hilariously hilarious. He touched on a range of real life topics. Cole’s comedy has been called controversial, but doing his act remains his first love, and he describes what he does as “strictly observational.” “Some people don’t like my observations,” he said. “That’s all right. Enough people do to keep me working.”
Cole has also been a writer for late night talk show host Conan O’Brien in his NBC and TBS days.
“I look at the world and I see a lot that’s funny. I ask myself why I find something funny and I turn it into a story. The stories are my take on things, my view on what I experience and observe. I don’t set out to do anything but explain the world I see with humor. If my story becomes controversial or offensive to someone, so be it. I’m just telling a story,” he’s been quoted as saying.
Cole, 46, and Chicago’s own, most recently accounts for ABC’s Black-ish, on which he plays Dre’s office colleague; Grown-ish, the Freeform spinoff on which he plays Telphy as a college professor teaching a midnight course; Studio T’s Angie Tribeca, on which he plays a detective; BET’s Face Value, a game show he hosts; and appearances on John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up show.
Deon says, he knew he could make people laugh but didn’t consider a career in comedy until a buddy bet him $50 that he wouldn’t grab the mic at a Chicago comedy club on ‘open mic night.’
“The bet was to go up on stage. There was no money that said I had to be good.”
Well, he must‘ve been ‘good,’ because Cole received enough response to get the club owner interested. Shortly thereafter, he was getting booked at several Chicago clubs becoming a huge draw. People heard of him and his reputation brought audiences that launched Cole as a comic.