On this day in comedy on January 9, 1972 Comedian, Actor, Writer, Deon Cole was born in Chicago, Illinois
Cole began his comedy career in 1993 when a friend bet him $50 he wouldn’t go up at an open mic. From there Cole appeared on most of the requisite stand up shows including BET’s Comic View, Comedy Central’s Laffapalooza, Showtime at the Apollo, BBC’s The World Stands Up, Martin Lawrence’s 1st Amendment Stand Up and HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. He toured domestically, internationally and established a reputation as a comedian who could write; based on the innovative nature of his approach to material. He could also ad-lib which was evident on Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out. Cole’s first stand-up special aired on Comedy Central in 2007.
In 2009 Cole’s writing ability changed his career. He made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and soon afterwards received an invitation to become a writer for the show. This made Cole the first black writer in the history of The Tonight Show. O’Brien’s tenure was cut short, but he liked Cole and took him on his “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” stand-up tour. Once a new deal was in place with TBS, O’Brien brought his late night antics to a new station and Cole along with him; giving Cole on-air spots to display his comedic abilities. TV Guide declared, “A Star is Born” after Cole’s commentary pieces kept growing in popularity.
Cole formed a production company and mounted Deon Cole’s Black Box on TBS. That show was short-lived, but he was liked at TBS and got his role on Angie Tribeca when producer, Steve Carell hit it off with Cole and made it clear he wanted Cole on his show. Cole had a similar path to the ABC smash hit, Black-ish where Cole’s recurring character, Charlie became a breakout character. His on screen persona fused likeability with maniacal unpredictability.
During his career Deon Cole has touched as many comedy bases as possible. His distinctive voice earned him narration work. He’s done speaking engagements, made guest starring appearances on sitcoms and featured roles in films (Barbershop 1, 2 & 3). He’s received Primetime Emmy nominations for writing and the WGA Award for Best Comedy/ Variety.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Take a look at Deon doing stand-up: