Black-ish's Deon Cole Shares The Touching Story Behind The Name Of His New Comedy Special

Still of Deon Cole in Blackish.
(Image credit: ABC)

Anyone who has seen Black-ish can attest to the fact that Deon Cole is absolutely hilarious. Not only is his character Charlie a fan-favorite role that has earned the comedian multiple NAACP and SAG award nominations, but Cole has also garnered a substantial following on his own performing stand-up comedy over the past two decades or so. While Charlie and his real-life counterpart are notoriously ridiculous, Cole’s latest special, Charlene’s Boy, has a more emotional backstory, and it involves the anniversary of his late mother’s passing. 

I recently caught up with the comic to discuss the new Netflix special when he opened up to me about the following:

In 2021, my mom, she passed away. I’m an only child and when she passed away, you know, it changed my whole outlook on life… And so it was a year later, when the anniversary of her passing was coming up and Netflix wanted me to shoot this special in September, the only date they had available was September 10, the day my mom passed. So I'm like ‘I’m not doing that,’ and I broke down… But days later, something came over me that was like, don’t mourn on this day, celebrate her… the more you talk about her the more she lives. The special was called Cole Facts… instead of me just being, like, mourning that day, I shot the special on that day and I named it Charleen’s Boy, because people will be saying the title but they will also be saying who I am. Which I am, I’m her son, Charleen’s Boy. And I thought that would be a good way to honor her.

Wow, that's heavy, right? The original title, Cole Facts, is more in line with the theme of his previous specials, which play on his name. Past examples include Cole Hearted and Cole Blooded. This time around, he changed up the formula in order to honor his mother on the anniversary of her passing. Never say that comedians can’t do drama. 

While his stand-up does have a solid following, it was Black-ish that put the actor on the map. This led to other opportunities, like The Harder They Fall, which may even get a sequel down the line. However, given the fact that his character Charlie also connects the “ish” universe with his appearances in Grown-ish, he doesn’t seem to be as devastated as the rest of the Black-ish cast by the show’s ending. Who knows? Maybe Charlie even has his own spinoff on the way. Competent-ish?

November has been a great month for Netflix releases, and Deon Cole’s new special Charleen’s Boy (opens in new tab) is just the latest piece of exciting new content to come our way. While other new Netflix specials, like Gabriel Iglesias’ Stadium Fluffy, are packing huge venues, Cole’s new release feels a little more refreshingly intimate. If stand-up isn't your jam, not to worry, as there's a slew of new Netflix TV shows and Netflix movies still to be released through the rest of the year. 

Jeff McCobb
Senior Video Producer

Jeff is a film buff who is ridden with gratitude that he gets to spout opinions about them for a living. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he spends his time complaining about Los Angeles.