This Monday, September 19, marks the premiere of the new CBS comedy, 2 Broke Girls. In anticipation of the new series, actor Jonathan Kite (who plays the role of Oleg the Russian cook) took some time to discuss his character and his interaction with the cast. The basic premise of the show, as described by CBS, is “a new comedy about two girls who form an unlikely bond over having no money and no shame”. In addition to discussing the new CBS comedy, Kite provides details about his work-in-progress (as writer, producer and star) the feature film, The Walk On. I enjoyed getting a flavor of Kite’s sense of humor, particularly with his last answer.
What was it about the show’s script and/or its producers that prompted you to audition for the role of Oleg the Russian cook?
I have been a fan of Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings for a while, so when I found out they were doing a show together, I really focused on becoming a part of it.
How much guidance did you get from the writers and producers on how to approach Oleg, and/or were you given the freedom to shape the character somewhat?
Oleg is a good mix of incredible writing and bold choices. I’ve been given tons of freedom, which is always honed by the show’s creative teams.
What do you most appreciate about the comedic approaches of the show’s two leads: Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs)?
I appreciate that they each bring something very different to the show. They are ridiculously talented and play off each other effortlessly. Effortlessness is important in the delivery of comedy and they are great examples of how to do it in different ways.
Not many folks get to say they have worked with a comedic veteran Garrett Morris, how much fun has it been to work with someone of his vast experience and talents?
Garrett is an incredible person. I’ve been watching him since I was a kid. Sometimes when we have down time, I’ll sit around and listen to him tell stories. It’s like a private version of A&E’s Biography.
Does playing Oleg offer you an ability to do scenes with physical comedy or are most of the comedy opportunities focused on the dialogue?
The great thing about Oleg is that he is a combination of the two.
CBS seems quite pleased with the strength of the show, given that it has garnered the slot after Two and A Half Men. How pumped were you when you found out the show was part of CBS’ Monday night lineup?
I think I actually exclaimed out loud when I found this out. It’s an amazing position to be in.
When working in a comedy for TV how important/empowering is it to you to a laugh from the studio audience?
The studio audience is the sixth series regular. It’s a constant developing relationship that we as the performer thrive on and enjoy. Our audiences give us energy, which we in turn give back.
How hard is it to juggle the demands of a sitcom, while also writing a movie as well (The Walk On)?
It’s actually nice to have something that helps take my mind off the show when I need a break but still want to be creative in an artistic way.
Anything you’d like to discuss that I neglected to ask you about?
My family is well, thank you for asking.