The Daily Gamecock

Actor, comedian Deon Cole talks stand-up experience, Conan inspiration

Stand-up comedian and actor Deon Cole will be performing at The Comedy House on Oct. 13 and 14. Cole is best known as a writer and performer on “Conan," as well as for appearing on the Emmy nominated show “black-ish" and for his stand-up career. On Sept. 27, his new game show “Face Value” premieres on BET.

According to Cole’s Wikipedia page, he got into stand-up based on a $50 bet his friend made that he would not get on stage. It sounds too good to be true until you hear it from the man himself.

“Yeah, absolutely, it’s very true. My friend bet me like $50. I went on stage and never looked back,” Cole said.

Cole has formed a lasting career based on that one night. He loves the freedom that comes with stand-up and how it makes him feel more comfortable with himself.

“It comes from stuff that I think of. It’s nothing that someone told me to say ... I have to figure out how to say something that comes from my mind. It’s me,” Cole said of his comedy.

Cole has had success as both a comedian and actor. He has appeared in all three “Barbershop” movies and has worked alongside one of the legends in the industry, Conan O’Brien. One of the best pieces of advice O'Brien had for Cole was: "Every one moment can be magical ... Take the moment for what it is and embrace it and make it for what it is. For when those magical moments come, then you'll know it."

“That was a great piece of advice for me because it made me feel less, less down when I didn’t perform the way that I really wanted to,” Cole said.

For Cole, even if stand-up can be less straightforward than acting, it has benefits that can’t be matched. 

“Stand-up is therapeutic, it’s me, it comes from my mind, and acting is more of an escape where I become someone else,” he said.

Cole has four shows in 2017. He stars in “Black-ish,” spinoff "Grown-ish" coming in 2018, “Angie Tribeca” and his new game show, “Face Value." On “Face Value,” contestants judge others' lives based only on the other person’s social media posts. Cole will be co-hosting the show alongside Tiffany Haddish. 

“It’s not a biased show, it show both sides of people being judged and the judgees,” Cole said.

In increasingly turbulent times, people have an inclination to shout their views and ignore everyone else’s. That may be the most convenient way of handling it, but Cole has a more hopeful view on how TV and the media can represent as many people’s voices as possible.

“It’s all about perspective, and if you judge everyone on their own perspective, you get a lot more options,” Cole said. “I think the more that we see that we think alike or we think different then we can either band together as one or correct the differences that we do have.”

Sometimes it’s up to those who have the opportunity to speak to a large audience to get a chance at forming a dialogue among people across social and economic spectrums. 

"I think it comes out in my stand up ... We have fun and we joke, but we also make a statement in what we’re saying.”

Cole is anxious to be in Columbia next month and to experience all that entails of coming to a new city as a comedian. He will continue to be busy putting himself out there. With all his success so far, he wants to build a bigger fan base going forward, as well as go on tour and produce shows.

Cole also appears on the Netflix stand up specials “The Standups” and “Def Comedy Jam 25,” currently available to stream.