Comedienne Cocoa Brown in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO – Forget red, this Hollywood “it girl” is painting the town ‘Brown.”

Comedienne Cocoa Brown says she’s blessed to be busy. The Sacramento OBSERVER caught up with the star in the days before she heads to the capital city to headline the Lee Perkins Comedy Show at the Punchline on Wednesday, October 31.

Brown is putting in work while on hiatus from her hit television show “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” and there doesn’t seem to be a slow down for the funny woman anytime soon. She was in Denver this week doing improv. She’s looking forward to filming a Tyler Perry movie over the holidays and she has a Progressive commercial about to hit the airwaves.

“Think of it as Jennifer meets Flo,” she said of her no-nonsense “For Better or Worse” character interacting with the insurance company’s pitchperson.

“It’s a funny commercial,” she assured.

While already a familiar face, the Virginia native catapulted to the national spotlight in 2007 after appearing on the second season of the NBC show “America’s Got Talent.” The funny thing is, she wasn’t supposed to. She was asked by the show’s producer, a friend of hers, to fill in for an act who backed out. She ended up becoming a favorite of the judges and was invited back to the Vegas round, before being eliminated before the semifinals.

Since then, she’s stacked her resumé with stage, film and television projects. Her film credits include “Lakeview Terrace” and “An American Carol.” On TV, she’s appeared on “The Soul Man,” “Two Broke Girls,” “Victorious,” and “Breaking Bad.” She’ll soon be back filming the fourth season of For Better or Worse” and also has a role in Byron Allen’s new series, “The First Family,” about a fictional Black family in the White House.

“I’ve become the ‘it’girl when they need a comic for certain things,” she explains of her full schedule.

She recently filmed seven pilots and landed recurring roles on two of them.

“I’ve always been a pretty darn good multi-tasker,” she joked.

While she’s enjoying the ride, Brown says the business has changed since she first picked up the mic.

“When I started, there were definitely levels you had to achieve to get to the next level,” she shared.

She adds that there seems to be a “comedy free for all” with people no longer having to prove themselves before becoming a headlining act. She also says fewer comics are paying homage to those who came before them. She doesn’t make that mistake.

Brown says while she would be remiss not to mention “the master storyteller” Richard Pryor,” most of her comedic icons are women. She points to Shirley Hemple of “What’s Happening” fame, Marsha Warfield , the pioneering Moms Mabley, Mo’Nique, Cheryl Underwood, Laura Hayes and Adelle Givens as those who paved the way for today’s comics.

“They opened the door,” she said. “They showed that you could be funny and look good and still do your thing.”

Rising in the comedy ranks has afforded her the opportunity to meet, work with and become friends with some of her idols.

“I still have moments when I get star struck,” she admits.

“To be able to call them and talk to them is an honor and privilege. It’s amazing to be one of them now.”

Being among the best in the business is all well and good, but that isn’t how she knows that she has arrived.

“I told my husband, ‘we have a nanny and a maid, we’re doing good,’” she joked.

“I never thought those words would come out of my mouth.”

Locals can hear what else comes out of Brown’s mouth at the Punchline on Wednesday, October 31. Tickets for the Black Out Show-Halloween Bash are $15

The Punchline is located at 2100 Arden Way. For more, call (916) 925-5500 or visit www.punchlinesac.com.

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By: Genoa Barrow
Observer Senior Staff Writer