Deon Cole On How Steve Carell Wrote His ‘Angie Tribeca’ Part Just For Him

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Deon Cole — a stand-up from Chicago who got his big break when Conan O’Brien hired him to write for The Tonight Show — has spent almost two decades crafting his writing and acting abilities to perfection. He wrote for Conan after the move to TBS and for O’Brien’s appearance at the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, in addition to appearing on his own show, Deon Cole’s Black Box. Cole also starred in the first two Barbershop films and the ABC comedy Black-ish. Now he’s playing police detective DJ Tanner in Angie Tribeca.

One of the more prominent features of the new TBS show is a dog cop who “does people things.” And whenever Hoffman (Jagger) appears in advertising for the Steve Carell and Nancy Walls-produced comedy, his partner — the human detective Tanner — is always by his side. This is exactly the kind of satirical, goofy and downright silly scenario viewers should expect from the show, and as Cole told Uproxx over the phone, he feels incredibly lucky to be a part of it, even the 25-hour live marathon he’s hosting from Sunday, Jan. 17 at 9 p.m. ET to Monday, Jan. 18 at 10 p.m. ET on TBS.

I didn’t realize the marathon was a live event.

Live, all day.

You ready for that?

Yeah, man. We’re in rehearsals now, so we’ll see what happens. You can rehearse as much as possible, but anything goes. It’s going to be wild.

Have you ever done a live show of this scale before?

No, I haven’t, but as far as my experience goes, I’ve got plenty of it with single takes on Conan. When I was writing for Conan O’Brien, when we taped the shows, we’d do single takes only. It has to happen right then and there on the spot. Yeah, it airs later, but we would tape in real-time, so I’m used to the same pressures as doing a live show.

How are you going to stay awake?

I’m just going to sleep in between shows, wake up and do what I do. [Laughs.]

Whether scripted or improvised, doing comedy with people is probably a lot easier than with animals. What was it like working with Jagger the dog?