WHEN & WHERE: p.m. May 23 at Zanies Comedy Club Chicago; 8 and 10:30 p.m. May 24; 8 and 10:30 p.m. May 25 at Zanies Comedy Club Rosemont.
INFO: $25 at www.chicago.zanies.com or 312-337-4027 and $20 at www.rosemont.zanies.com or 847-813-0484
On a break from the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls,” comedian and actor Jonathan Kite decided to give stand-up a try.
He’s been performing his popular routine – never the same one twice – throughout the country ever since.
He’ll appear May 23 at Zanies Comedy Club Chicago and May 24 and May 25 at Zanies Comedy Club Rosemont.
With more than 70 impressions of celebrities in his comedy arsenal, even he’s not always sure who’ll end up on stage.
“One of the shows I literally had no idea what I was going to do,” said Kite, who grew up in Skokie. “They introduced me, I put my water down and said ‘Yeah, I’ll start with this and just see what happens.’ And I just kind of pulled things.”
Among his impressions: Seth Rogan, Mark Wahlberg, Nicholas Cage, Tom Hanks, Jeff Bridges, Robert Downey Jr., Vince Vaughn and many more.
Best known as “Oleg,” the Ukranian cook on the hit sitcom that follows the misadventures of two financially poor female roommates and their efforts to start a cupcake business, Kite said he sometimes brings his television character to the stand-up stage.
But not always.
It depends on the crowd.
“I’ll do shows where people haven’t seen the [television] show all that much,” he said.
Hard to believe, considering “2 Broke Girls” is a rising hit, which garnered 8.9 million viewers for this week’s finale.
It’s a show Kite can’t gush enough about. Before “2 Broke Girls,” he’d landed minor television parts, appearing in the pilot episode of “Raising Hope” and the Jamie Foxx-produced, sketch comedy television series, “In the Flow with Affion Crocket.”
“I honestly can’t believe that it happened,” Kite said of “2 Broke Girls.” “It’s one of those things where every day when I go on the lot, during some point in the day, I take a moment to stop and think, ‘I can’t believe this is happening right now.’
“It’s such a dream situation, the show itself and the people involved. We believe in each other and the material so much.”
With a theater degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and experience with Second City, Kite said he enjoys filming in front of a live studio audience.
The sitcom doesn’t use laugh tracks, relying on the audiences’ authentic reactions.
“I love the immediate response,” Kite said.
He’s kind of always loved the attention. Perhaps a little too much back during his school days.
“I was pulled out of class many times and given a talking to by many of my teachers,” he said.
Despite being “young and obnoxious,” he said, his parents, David and Lynn Kite, who still live in Skokie, always had his back.
His mother went to all 30 of the plays he performed in at the University of Illinois, he said, despite working full time. His father introduced him to the classic film world, inspiring his very first impression – Peter Lorre, a Slovak-American actor best known for his sinister foreigner roles and as star of the “Mr. Moto” detective series.
“My parents have supported me for all of it,” Kite said.
His favorite impression right now? Vince Vaughn.
Because, he said, he likes impersonating people he admires.
“I actually met him. He’s an incredibly nice guy, super generous,” he said. “I was lucky enough to do the impression for him. That went over very well. ... He couldn’t have been nicer about it. He knew it was coming out of a place of respect and admiration.”
Along with the stand-up and television sitcom, Kite said he’s continuously doing “everything” from writing to producing.
“I don’t really have an end, in terms of something that would be it,” he said. “I just go until I can’t go anymore.”By JAMI KUNZER – firstname.lastname@example.org