It’s really early in Los Angeles; I can hear it in comedian Deon Cole’s voice as we chat on the phone, but he’s still excited to speak. His new game show series, Face Value is set to premiere on BET in just a few days. On top of that, he’s shooting ABC’s black-ish, touring, filming the Steve Carrell-produced series, Angie Tribeca and gearing up for Grown-ish — the black-ishspin-off that will debut on Freeform in 2018. That doesn’t even cover his current Netflix projects, his stand-up special The Standups and Def Jam 25 are currently streaming. When I asked how he’s juggling it all, Cole laughed. “Well I sleep in between interviews,” he said jokingly. “I just have a lot to say and a lot to do. I appreciate the condition I’m in.”
His latest venture, Face Value which is executive produced by his black-ish co-star Wanda Sykes is a late-night game show that will challenge people’s prejudices. Based solely on appearances, contestants will access strangers and make snap judgments about them. When Sykes first approached him with the idea, Cole was immediately intrigued. “I’ve never seen a show like this,” he explained. “Getting paid to be judgemental. It’s also to show people are wrong as well as right. A lot of people were like ‘I’m not going to be that way anymore.'”
Face Value has helped the Conan writer to challenge his own ideas about other people. Though he’s hosting the series, he also finds himself questioning things along with the contestants — and sometimes he’s even shocked. “I think I’m a better judge of character than I am a comic because you have to deal with people,” he said. “You have to know people. That’s the only way that you can really write jokes well basically makes me brush up on my skills as far as just looking at people and trying to figure them out. I think that’s what it did to me. It’s not rocket science; it’s a fun show.”
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