Sometimes when Jonathan Kite is off the clock, he finds his posture going astray. Morphing out of the limbs of his onscreen character — Oleg, the smooth, gutter-minded and sex-crazed Ukrainian cook on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls — he quickly straightens himself out while realizing the influence Oleg has over his body. After all, critics and TV viewers alike have taken his cocky, lewd banter on the show with controversy — from laugh-your-ass-off hilarious to downright sexist.
Despite any negative associations, Kite, a native of Skokie, Illinois (yep, it's a fake accent), loves Oleg. He isn't bothered by his constant come-ons to series leads Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs). In Oleg's defense, Kite reminds us that the U.S. is still tight-lipped over sexuality and that his character is of Eastern European heritage.
"I don't think of him as a rude kind of guy," says Kite. "I like that he's confident. I think he's a very smart person and he's a very good businessman. He does a lot of things at once and he's a great multitasker. There's also a lot of mystery to him. In the Thanksgiving holiday episode when they needed money to buy a turkey, he pulls out a wad of cash and gives it to them and leaves. There's a coolness and charm to him. I think underneath it all, he's got a great heart."
Originally, 2 Broke Girls' Oleg was scripted for a 40-something-year-old bald guy, but Kite, who grew his hair out and auditioned in the hopes of getting some other guest role on the show, transformed the part. Dressed in a pair of skintight, tiger-striped pants, a white tank top with mustard stains, sweat socks and flip flops, he pranced into multiple auditions without the intent of taking on the role.
Now cozy into the second season of the Emmy Award-nominated show, Kite is embarking on new endeavors during his time off the set. He'll visit Charlotte for the first time during a stint of comedy shows at The Comedy Zone at N.C. Music Factory this week.
Kite is a longtime lover of comedy and admires the likes of Rodney Dangerfield, Bernie Mac, Bill Burr, Louis C.K. and Dave Chapelle. As a teen, he completed a master class with the renowned improv enterprise, Second City. Since then, he's dabbled with stand-up gigs in California; particularly Los Angeles, where he resides.
"I've never done the same set twice," he says. "I just can't go in there and put on autopilot. I know that there are people that are incredibly successful who are great at that style, but that's just not the way that I operate. Whenever I'm in a city, I try to figure out what's going on there and maybe talk to the people about that and think of some stuff. So, it all kind of depends on what happens when I land. To me, I think that keeps it fresh and there's something relatable to what I'm saying."
Kite's comedy set is a blend between stand up, improv and impressions that sometimes include actors like Vince Vaughn, Nicolas Cage, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr. and other fellas in his field. In addition to voicing the titular Black Dynamite on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, Kite's knack for mimicry developed when he first moved to L.A.
"I've been fortunate enough to meet some of the people that I mimic. It's interesting to me who people are and their personas, public and private. That probably does shape a lot of my material. But that's ever changing. I do a new bit on Liam Neeson from the movie Taken 2, which I didn't do like two weeks ago because the movie wasn't out. And I probably won't do that in a month because it'll be on DVD, so it comes and goes depending on what's going on with certain celebrities."
$18-$20. Oct. 25, 8 p.m.; Oct. 26, 8 p.m. & 10:15 p.m.; Oct. 27, 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. The Comedy Zone Charlotte, 900 N.C. Music Factory Blvd., Suite B3. 980-321-4702. www.cltcomedyzone.com.