‘2 Broke Girls’ star Jonathan Kite set for Zanies gigs
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While Jonathan Kite has snared a national audience thanks to the success of his hit CBS sitcom, “2 Broke Girls,” the actor is heading our way this weekend to showcase his skill as a standup comic.
Though he plays the over sexed Ukrainian cook Oleg Golishevsky on “2 Broke Girls,” that Eastern European character represents but one of many impressions Kite can emote. The entertainer reportedly has more than 50 famous voices in his repertoire — ranging from Tom Hanks to Seth Rogen to Robert Downey, Jr. to Liam Neeson to his fellow North Shore-ite Vince Vaughn.
Zanies, 1548 N. Wells
Zanies Rosemont, 5437 Park Place
For his upcoming gigs at Zanie’s (in the Chicago club Thursday and Friday; in Rosemont on Saturday), Kite promises to include a few of his impressions in his act, but insists it all comes from a feeling of “pure admiration. These are people I admire and who inspire me in this business,” said Kite in a recent phone interview.
When asked if he has ever “done” his impressions of some of those celebrities — to them directly and in person, the actor laughed as he shared a couple of stories about how some of his Hollywood friends have tried to get him to force his spot-on impression of Hanks on either the Oscar-winner or his wife, Rita Wilson.
“A friend of mine knows Rita very well and has tried to get me to call her — and leave a message — as Tom. … I think that would be a kind of weird way to introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met — and hope to someday work with. That goes for both Tom and Rita, but I think in Rita’s case, it would be not only weird, but a little creepy to hear me doing Tom on a phone message.”
As for Vaughn, Kite has done his impression for the actor, but under much different circumstances. “I was at a table read [for a proposed project] in L.A. and someone told him that I do a good impression of him. That was okay. He realized I came at it from a place that’s all about admiration. I think he’s the coolest guy. A great orator. I’ve been a huge fan, ever since ‘Swingers’ came out.”
Kite discovered his talent for doing impressions in high school at Niles North. While he was reluctant to share the name of the teacher, he did admit one of his instructors at the school “really was the kind of guy who would remind you of one of the Slytherin faculty in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies. … He was very stern. In our class we always felt like we were the heroes, and this guy was trying to get in the way of us saving the world. Whenever he’d be out sick, the class would try and help me convince the substitute teacher I should teach the class, because I could do such a good impression of ‘Mr. X.'”
As for his Oleg on “2 Broke Girls,” Kite insisted he did not base the characterization on any one person he has known, but seemed to imply he tapped into his Chicago roots to come up with the Brooklyn diner cook.
“There are so many Eastern Europeans in Chicago and I definitely worked in restaurants as a server — so I will give you that,” said Kite. “While Oleg isn’t anyone specifically, I did pull in my experiences of being in Europe. Over there, they are more sexually loose than we are. If this show took place in Europe, Oleg would not be the sexed-crazed guy. He’d be the normal guy on the show!
“He’d be head of human resources,” said Kite with a big guffaw.
The actor is also excited about heading back to his home town this weekend. “My family still lives in the house where I grew up, so when I say I’m going home, I actually mean it.”