‘2 Broke Girls’ star Jonathan Kite talks about comedy, show’s global popularity

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Audiences know Jonathan Kite from 2 Broke Girls (Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., CBS4), where he plays Oleg Golishevsky, chef at the Williamsburg Diner.

But Kite, who was born in Skokie, Ill., also has a thriving career as a stand-up comedian. During an interview with CBS4 This Morning’s Tim Doty, Kite said he can’t imagine choosing just stand-up or acting; he has to do both because they balance each other out. One of the drawbacks of performing stand-up: people want him to do his character, who is from the Ukraine and talks with an accent.

Kite said he doesn’t do the character during his stand-up performances. He also said political humor is tough because of how fast the news cycle moves, although he does bits on President Obama and is working on a Donald Trump routine.

Kite says he wasn’t on social media until he was on 2 Broke Girls, which has a large global following (he admits he doesn't tweet enough). The sitcom is especially popular in China. What do Chinese audiences like about the show?

“They like that (actress) Jennifer Coolidge and I are married, they like the two of us together, they always ask on social media where are we together, they like think we’re those people, and we’re together. It’s funny, I went there to do stand-up in Shanghai and I’m going back this summer.”

He said fans ask the “sweetest, funniest” questions and joked that he wondered if they think the show is a “documentary or something.”

In fact, translating comedy from one culture to another is challenging. Kite said comedy is the last thing you learn from a culture because it’s so subjective.

“Because what they think is funny in Japan is not what they think is funny in Germany, is not what they think is funny in India. It’s all different. And so that’s the biggest cultural thing you have to learn.”

He continues to be amazed that the show has gotten so big. In the beginning, he never envisioned its overwhelming success.

“I think we were just kind of hoping that people kept watching and kept liking it. There’s so much to watch on TV: cable, streaming, Netflix… all that stuff. The competition is harder than it’s ever been before. The fact that people still tune into watch us is really… we’re so happy and thankful. It’s so amazing.”

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