by Ryan Meehan
Comedian Deon Cole is originally from the south side of Chicago. As a standup, he has been featured on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, for Comedy Central he’s been featured on, John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show and Laffapalooza, Mash Ups and his own 1 / 2 Hour Special. Deon has also been featured on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, BET’s Comic View, NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo, BBC’s The World Stands Up, Lopez Tonight, and STARZ’ Martin Lawrence’s First Amendment which he also hosted in 2010. Deon is also an actor, having appeared in MTV’s Short Circuitz and Wild N’ Out with Nick Cannon, as well as Barbershop 1 and 2. Most recently, Deon was featured in FX’s “The League”.
After Deon’s 2009 standup appearance on The Tonight Show, he was offered a job as a staff writer for the show and made multiple appearances as a commentator and sketch performer on the show. TV Guide declared, “A Star is Born” after Deon’s commentary pieces kept growing as a bit on the show. In 2010, he was nominated for an EMMY and Writers Guild Award along with the other writers of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and he was named one of the “Top 10 Comedians to Watch” by VARIETY.
Since then, Deon has continued with Conan as a writer/performer on Conan’s new show at TBS, aptly titled, CONAN. In 2011, Deon received his second Emmy Nomination for his work with the writers of CONAN. He also had the experience of a lifetime touring with and performing his standup on Conan O’Brien’s THE LEGALLY PROHIBITED FROM BEING FUNNY ON TELEVISION TOUR. And now, Deon has his own show coming premiering in 2013 on TBS called, DEON COLE’S BLACK BOX. A video clip and social commentary show where Deon will offer up his unique views on viral videos, and he’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: How did you get your start doing standup and comedy writing? What was your first standup gig like? What was your first writing job like and was it anything like you had expected?
DC: I started comedy on a bet with a friend. And I started writing comedy bits when I got kicked off the Def Comedy Jam tour for not having enough material. My first gig was super scary. My first writing gig was weird because everything I put tons of thought into the guy didn’t want, but everything I said just off the cuff he wanted.
FOH: On a scale of one to ten, what score would you give the live comedy that’s going on in the clubs across America at the moment? Why? What are the good comedians doing right and what are the bad comedians doing wrong?
DC: I give comedy a 4. Maybe a 5. There’s no originality. Feels like the same joke different comic. Good comics are believable. Bad comics go thru the motions to be funny. Real recognize real.
FOH: What made you do the checklist idea for your Tonight Show appearance? Was that done to alert people (who might not realize how much writing goes into standup) that you were a writer as opposed to just someone on stage telling jokes?
I always did the check list from when I first started. I used to get so high then go on stage that I would forget my jokes, so that was a way for me to remember my jokes and get laughs. It killed so much that it became a part of my act.
FOH: What’s the most unusual thing that has happened to you while on tour performing standup? Anything extremely uncomfortable that you’d like to share with us?
DC: In Cleveland a guy in a comedy club got mad at me on stage for talking about him (which he started) then he went outside and pulled a gun out on me after a show and made me tell a joke in the parking lot. And I did. Then he laughed and let me go.
FOH: Do you feel obligated to talk about current events when you are putting together new material, or do you try to avoid that at all costs?
DC: I try to avoid it because all comics think alike on current events and I didn’t want anyone saying I took anything from them. And if I do talk about current events its in a way that isn’t the obvious. If someone shoots up a work place I won’t talk about that but I would ask if he got a good parking space before he shot up the post office.
FOH: What’s up next for you in 2013? Any big plans that we should know about?
DC: Only The Lord knows.
Official Website: http://www.deoncole.com
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