Happy and hilarious
Actress/comic Kim Coles shares ‘Oh, But Wait, There’s More!’ at Fremont Centre Theatre
By Carl Kozlowski 02/20/2014
Some public figures are considered “ahead of their time,” with their accomplishments only fully appreciated well after their initial burst of success. Comic/actress Kim Coles is such a person.
Coles’ career breakthrough came after her debut as a cast member on the groundbreaking FOX sketch comedy series “In Living Color” before proceeding to co-star for five years in the Fox sitcom “Living Single.” That was the first TV series to portray African-American single women as people with vibrant, successful lives.
In the past decade or so, Coles switched to hosting various game and newsmagazine shows as a new generation of actresses entered the scene. But she also decided to mine both her professional experiences on those trendsetting shows and her own personal struggles with weight issues to create a new solo storytelling show about her life called “Oh, But Wait, There’s More,” which she’ll perform this weekend at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.
“I came back to doing standup in 2012 after a long break, when I was hosting a lot of events and realized I was using my standup skills,” explains Coles, phoning in from a tour stop in Oakland. “I’m glad I jumped back in 100 percent, because I can now do standup and my one-woman show. In the show, I talk about my ups and downs in Hollywood, my life, things I’ve learned, people I’ve met, and I use visual aids and pictures and have a really hilarious interpretive dance at the end.”
A Brooklyn native, Coles made an immediate impression on “In Living Color” viewers with her devastating impressions of then-hot figures like former MTV icon Downtown Julie Brown. Nonetheless, she was fired after its first season due to what she recalls as a combination of “competition and nepotism.”
That being the case, she doesn’t have a strong opinion about a long-rumored relaunch of the sketch series, which was casting for a new generation of stars in 2011 when FOX abruptly killed the reboot.
“I was moved off to create space for others to shine,” says Coles. “But it was the best thing that ever happened to me, because within two years I had landed on ‘Living Single,’ which was created around Queen Latifah and me. So I went from the bottom, begging for airtime and storylines, to the very top. It is the sparkling jewel of my career, and it remains in syndication around the country and the world. I still meet 11 year olds who know the show who weren’t even born when it was on. I’m still friends with everyone from it to this day.”
In the last few years, Coles has hosted the BET game show “Pay It Off” as well as the newsmagazine show “In the Loop with iVillage,” in addition to guest starring roles in a few sitcoms. She was most noticeable, however, for bravely tackling her weight issues with effort and humorous grace as a part of VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club,” where she lost 24 pounds in 16 weeks.
“I then gained back 26 pounds, but I don’t call myself bad names and don’t hate my body,” says Coles. “My problem is I’m all or nothing. Either I’m on a special plan and doing Pilates or eating potato chips. I’m never going to be size 2 or 0 and don’t want to be, but at 52 I know that losing 20 or 30 pounds will make my skeletal body happy. I also don’t believe being obese is better. I’m thick is how they put it in my community, but I’m happy.”
Kim Coles performs “Oh, But Wait, There’s More!” at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday, at Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 S. Fremont, South Pasadena. Tickets are $20 regular price and $15 for students and seniors. Call (866) 811-4111 or visit fremontcentretheatre.com.