Deon Cole might not be on everyone’s radar, but he should be. The 48-year-old actor and writer has six shows currently airing on TV and is a spectacular stand-up comedian to boot. All that success didn’t come overnight (he’s been at it for over twenty years) but it can be attributed to one thing: his character.
There’s a uniqueness that sets him apart from his comic peers and that’s why he believes he’s able to stay successful and relevant in an industry that is known for having a revolving door of sorts when it comes to the limelight. Stopping by Sway to shoot the breeze, the multi-talented entertainer spoke about artists today lacking originality and how it’s made the landscape dull.
“You know, everybody’s being the same person when they don’t realize that you are so unique in your own way,” said Cole. “You’re cheating the world, you’re not giving us what you are brought here to give us and I’ve been cheated several times. Music right now, and I ain’t tryna like, you know, shit on nobody, but it is like I can’t even listen to the radio too much no more because it’s like everybody’s the same thing. Comedians too – they keep just telling jokes and it’s like you’re not being you, you’re not giving us you.”
The Chicago native believes too many entertainers are trying to fit in rather than stand out, when if they did the latter, they would find infinite inspiration for their material within themselves.
“A lot of people tend to do this man, they tend to go out and become something that they’ve seen, you know, or what people expect,” he said. “What you fail to realize, you walk past an original person every morning, which is you. You look in the mirror and you never see you ‘cause you always going to go do what others expect you to do, but you are original – you have to be you, you have to be – everybody else is taken.”
The Conan writer and Black-ish star mentions he’s never gotten a part he’s auditioned for. Ever. While that would make it hard for a person in the entertainment world to find sustainable employment, it helped the veteran comic carve a niche for himself when it came to landing roles. His one-of-a-kind personality would get show executives to create roles solely for him or give them a clear indication of what he could bring to a project. Suffice to say, his being different allowed him to fill certain slots because there’s only one of him to fill those voids.
“Once you’re you then it’s going to come across as different – there’s a reason why I never made it for auditions – because what they intended and what they thought to have was never what I was,” said Cole.
“I never got the auditions because I was never something that they envisioned. It’s kind of like…when you go shopping and you looking for a certain suit to go with some shoes and you might see some shoes that don’t go with this suit but you gon’ remember them shoes. It might not go with this suit but you might even come back and get them shoes and then go get an outfit for those shoes you know what I mean? So you have to just believe in yourself and be original and be different and give us something that we ain’t ever seen before.”
The full interview can be viewed below (it’s around 24 minutes) and during it Deon discusses how he’d advise Bill Cosby in making a return to comedy, separating artists accused of wrongdoing from their art, his annoyance with internet comments being interpreted as modern day gospel and more.