Comedian Deon Cole keeps busy, from 'black-ish' to 'Conan' to Addison

It seems as if Deon Cole is everywhere these days. And that will include Dallas when he brings his standup comedy to the Addison Improv this weekend.

Cole, now seen as Dan Tanner on cop spoof show Angie Tribeca, may seem like an overnight sensation to some. But he acts as if his life depended on it: Just recently, he co-starred in Black-ish, was a correspondent of sorts for Conan and had an expanded role in the upcoming Barbershop: The Next Cut.

He won't stop, can't stop. He talked with us from the set of "No." That was his answer to "Can you tell us what it is you're filming now?"

He's busy, as a writer, actor and comedian. And, while his life may not be in jeopardy, he's making sure his livelihood isn't.

"I remember when I had absolutely nothing to do. So, I keep that in mind when I'm working now, when I'm doing a lot of stuff," he said by phone Wednesday afternoon.

Some of what he's getting to do has surprised even him, like when he was asked to join the writing staff of Conan.

"It was a shock to me, definitely. I went on the show as a guest and next thing I know I was writing for the man," Cole says.

Two weeks after he did his stand-up on the show, he said his manager said that O'Brien wanted Cole to write for him.

"I said, 'Write what?' He said, 'Jokes,' Cole said. "And the rest is history."

True story: Cole was the only "African-American writer Conan's ever had." He and the rest of the writing staff was nominated for two Emmys and three Writer's Guild awards. He even ended up with his own show on TBS: Deon's Black Box.

"I still do bits with him and still do some freelance-type stuff with him," he said, proud of the accomplishment. "I was just on probably about a month ago."

But black-ish is where he almost stole the show. He is Charlie, the affable, weird and sometimes clueless work mate of Anthony Anderson's main character. Fittingly with Cole's stand-up, just about anything might come out of Charlie's mouth.

"He's a handful on that show," Cole said, laughing. But Charlie rolled out of the office one episode and hasn't been seen since. The show is one of the best comedies on TV right now, but the character's hilarious antics and his ongoing battle with one of his co-worker's children makes fans long for a return.

"I don't know. I'm not sure [he'll return]. You gotta keep watching," said Cole. "It was great being on there. But keep watching the show. It might be some surprises. But I had fun while I was there. And I still support those guys and love those guys."

He loves doing it all, and can't really choose one career path over the other.

"Stand-up is more therapeutic for me. Acting is a way I can escape," he says. "Writing is also therapeutic for myself, but kind of helping others. It's me connecting with a group of people that I don't know and they don't know me but we're all laughing at the same thing. There's something special there, too."

But he's ambitious, too, and speaks purposefully about a show of his own.

"You would rather have your own show to run things the way you would want them. And to have whatever you're trying to do come from your perspective. That's the goal."

So, it doesn't seem like breaks are in his schedule any time soon, not even in his hotel room.

"I probably won't have any down time," he says. "I'll be in my hotel room, writing or studying lines. If I'm not doing that, you know, I'm preparing for the show."

If you see him while he's here, though, recommend a good place to get some ribs. He said he might leave his room for that.

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