“I wanted to escape the silliness. There would be a balance, but I wanted to be more dramatic in this role. It was very hard to do that as a comedian. I did not perform stand-up during the time I was shooting,” said Deon Cole.

Comedian and actor Deon Cole explains his intention for his latest project Average Joe. The series is a comedy-drama for BET+, where he is the lead. Fans can expect a different side of Cole as he will do a serious performance along with jokes in Average Joe. Cole elaborates on how this role is testing his skills as an actor. On days he was done shooting, he would still carry the emotional weight of his character.

“It’s hard to be serious, but I can handle it now. About a month into it, you start seeing all of us change, and everybody around me sees it. Imagine going to work every day, fighting, shooting, and stealing from people every day for six months. I remember on the last day when I got home, I felt so relieved,” said Cole

Photo Credit: Andrew Thomas Clifton/BET+

“Average Joe” premiers on BET+ on Monday, June 26. A screening of the first episode of the season was held at the American Black Film Festival on Friday, June 16, in Miami Beach, Florida. Robb Cullen created the series, which stars Cole, Ashani Roberts, and Tammy Towsend. “Average Joe” is about a plumber named Joe Washington who discovered his recently past father stole 10 million dollars from the Russian Mob. The series follows Joe going to extreme lengths to find the money and protect his family. “Average Joe” is based on a true story. BET says this series is going in a direction they have never gone before.

“We are going more graphic and a little bit gory. We are going where we haven’t gone before. It’s a luxury that we have BET Plus to do that. We never want to do a show that exploits those things. We want to do shows that tell great stories,” said Rose Catherine Pinkney, Senior Vice President at BET.

The script is what brought Cole on board for this project. According to the comedian, the script possessed moments in the story where the lead character had to be vulnerable, charismatic, serious, and funny. Cole saw this role as a challenge. He is already an established talent in comedy from his stand-up act, television commercials, and his performance as Charlie on the TV series “Blackish”.

Photo Credit: Andrew Thomas Clifton/BET+

“Robb Cullen is a great writer, and his script had everything in it and then some. I took it as a challenge to portray being vulnerable, charismatic, gangster, funny, and serious. I am attracted to the character Joe Washington because of his loyalty to his family. You see him go to any means to protect his wife and daughter,” said Cole.

Cole, Pinkney, and the rest of the team involved with “Average Joe” are very optimistic about this series because many firsts are being taken with this project. This is Cole’s first role as a lead in a television series, and this is BET’s first time doing a gritty, comedic drama. The final product reveals the gambles paid off, and this is a series that will keep viewers until the end. Pinkney shares a story about shooting Cole for the first time on set.

“I was sitting with the producers and writers when I realized we haven’t seen Deon do this before,” said Pinkney. “Everything is on his shoulders. We were holding our breath when the camera started rolling. He turned out great.”

She added, “When you watch the show, the character starts one way but goes on a journey. Deon becomes a different actor on that character journey.”

Clayton Gutzmore is a freelance journalist in South Florida. He published stories in several news outlets including The Miami Times, 91.3 WLRN, The Atlanta Voice, BET, and Variety Magazine. Gutzmore graduated...