Deon Cole is hilarious. Even at 9 a.m. West Coast time, the standup comedian-turned-breakout star of ABC’s Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning series “Black-ish” can’t help but crack jokes.
Comedy is in his blood. Even before he made us literally laugh out loud as the scene-stealing Charlie on “Black-ish” and as Detective Daniel “DJ” Tanner on the TBS comedy “Angie Tribeca,” he was making us laugh as a staff writer for the Conan O’Brien show (who he still works with, btw).
Now in addition to his new show, “Face Value,” and Netflix comedy special, “The Standups,” Cole is coming to Columbia’s Comedy House on a standup tour, and he’s bringing his observational humor to amuse your funny bone.
I spoke with Cole about everything from his first big purchase to the best advice he ever received to dealing with fame to what executive order he’d pass if he could trade places with Trump for a day. Oh, and about that time he slept on a fan’s couch.
Q. Will this be your first time coming to Columbia?
A. To be honest with you I can’t remember, but my mind is going, why wouldn’t you have been? Sometimes when I get to places I go, oh yeah, I have been here. But I can say this: It’s been eons since I’ve been there the last time if it’s true.
Q. Is there anything you’re looking forward to doing while you’re in town?
A. Learning the land: seeing the people, seeing how you all maneuver and seeing what’s the traditional thing there. I love when I go from city to city and get to experience whatever its known for.
Q. So on this comedy tour, what can your fans expect to hear you joke about?
A. It’s just me doing me. I like to do a lot of observational humor and just be true. My shows are all about balance. It’s about laughing, loving and learning. Discussing topics, discussing things, especially what’s going on in the world today. I try to make light of certain situations as well. But also bring a touch of things that’s on my mind and do it in a therapeutic way. Make people think – and laugh.
Q. Let’s get into more fun questions. What was the first thing you bought when you got your first big check?
A. I bought a coat. A big leather coat that I wanted so bad but I could never afford (because it was so cold in Chicago). It was a Mark Buchanan coat. Spent about $700 on that coat. Now I don’t know where it is. I think my cousin stole it. Anytime he shows up something goes missing!
Q. So sticking in that same vein, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought to date?
A. A house. And when you buy a house in LA, it’s like you bought six houses somewhere else! I’m in an outskirt, hilly part of Los Angeles.
Q. What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever said to you or given to you?
A. I’ve had fans say some crazy stuff to me, but the oddest thing a fan gave me one time was a ride home from a party. I was drunk as hell and couldn’t find my car and woke up at her house and didn’t know how I got there. Her friend found my car and drove it to her house while they let me sleep on the couch.
Q. If you could trade places with Donald Trump for one day, what’s the one executive order you would sign?
A. Free health care for everyone. I would make it like Canada and Germany. Whatever their practice is, however they get free health care to everyone, we would do that same thing. Colecare, baby!
Q. Marry, shag, kill: co-star edition – Tracy Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”), Tiffany Haddish (“Face Value”) and Rasheda Jones (“Angie Tribeca”).
A. I would marry Tiffany because she’s crazy. And we’re both standup comics. I would shag Tracy and Rasheda at the same damn time. I wouldn’t kill none of them!
Q. What’s the best advice you’ve received when dealing with fame?
A. The best advice dealing with fame is, if you believe they love you when they tell you you’re great, you’re gonna believe they love you when they tell you you suck. And it is like that. Fame is a fast thing: You better get it while you can.
And you gotta stay humble, and you gotta stay positive. And you gotta stay away from snakes and users and liars and deceivers. And all that is going to come your way, but you gotta keep it moving. And enjoy it. And don’t believe the good. And don’t believe the bad. Just keep doing what you do and you’ll prevail.
Q. As far as upcoming projects, what are you really excited about?
A. There’s “Face Value” (on BET) with executive producer Wanda Sykes and me (as host) and Tiffany Haddish. I have my special on Netflix called “The Standups,” so make sure you check that out. Also, I’m a part of Def Jam Comedy’s 25th reunion special (on Netflix). I’m a part of that alumni and I’m proud to say that.
Also the new season of “Black-ish” on ABC, and I’m shooting the spinoff show “Grown-ish” that will be out in 2018. It’s a really talented cast. And I’m still writing with Conan O’Brien (for “Conan” on TBS).