Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse & America’s Homegirl Cocoa Brown
When Cocoa and I first got into our interview I was excited to find out that she was from Newport News, Virginia and had literally just gotten home to LA with her new baby boy. We shared a ton of laughs and her personality is one that I will always remember. Check out our Certified Interview!
ChristieOhh: Has doing comedy always been a path of yours?
Cocoa: You know it’s funny I never walked around as a kid or in college and thought I would be a comic. I thought I was going to be a news reporter or lawyer. I was even in a telecommunications program in high school and studied broadcasting in college. I graduated with a degree in Advertising. My ultimate goal was to be Clair Huxtable; I wanted to be successful and married to a successful man. Comedy kind of fell in my lap!
A friend of mine’s asked me to a cook out, I didn’t know he was setting me up. A friend of his needed a house MC for a new comedy club in MD. The club owner approached me that night and said to come to his club for open mic night. I was about 22-23 years old, so I was down and went there. I go on stage and I started talking instead of acting; people were feeling me. I was told that I was a natural and that I had something special in me by The Fat Doctor, a veteran comic and writer that mentored comics like Tommy Davidson & Martin Lawrence. The Fat Doctor took me under his wing and to today I call him my god father.
ChristieOhh: When did you realize you were talented?
Cocoa: It was literally sitting there with The Fat Doctor. He said, “You really have a natural talent, you command the crowd with no fear and you are funny. Your delivery of the story is good.” It took me a few months s to digest it all and I realized that I can really do this. After about 9 months, I was like I can really make this a career. I started meeting people I saw on TV and they were embracing me and telling me I had a talent. Then comedy really became a passion for me!
ChristieOhh: What was your first big break and that moment like for you?
Cocoa: I audition for DC Comedian of the year, 9-10 months into my career. Ending up getting chosen and winning it! I had beat out some seasoned comics and could not believe I did it. At that moment I realized this is something I can do. And everything in my life shifted at that point. I was working in advertisement for Ringling Bros. & Disney on Ice at the time. (lol)
At that very moment I grew farther away from my corporate job and closer to my gift and eventually was fired. I was getting calls and couldn’t do gigs because I had to work from 9-5. I would drive to Philly and DC and be back to work in the morning. I wanted it so bad. It’s funny because my old boss just emailed me last week and said, “You told me I will see you again but it won’t be here in your face but it will be on TV.” And she wanted to let me know she had just seen me on the Hallmark Channel. I told her thank you for firing me because I wouldn’t have put everything into my career. That was a “Wow” moment for me!
ChristieOhh: How has For Better or Worse been and working with Tyler Perry?
Cocoa: It has been one of the most amazing experiences of my career. People can say what they want about Mr. Perry but there are people who would give their left arm to work for him. To see his work ethic and drive is awesome. You can’t learn in any college class room what this man has taught me. His drive and how sharp he is; it’s amazing and effortless. My cast mates are like family. Tasha Smith called me last night and asked, “Are you home?” I can go to them whether personal or professional; we hang out when we are filming and not filming.
Mr. Perry has giving me so much, he has written scripts just for me and giving me the opportunity to show my layers. When you go and work for him, he has a meeting with each person and asks us, “What do you want?” I told him to be a great actress! When I look at people I would love to pattern myself after I think of women like Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine; women who have left a mark in the business. I want to do great bodies of work that people will remember and I’m proud of the work I’m putting out. I want to impact people!
ChristieOhh: What’s next for you?
Cocoa: Right now, I have been inspired to write my book. Something I have been toying with for many years. I don’t like to be half ass but when I put things out I wait for that divine moment. I have to give props to Tyrese Gibson book “How to Get Out of Your Own Way,” his book has inspired me more than any book in the last 20 years. His story was so close to mines. “Being in your own way,” I thought I have a story and it’s time to get it out.
My story has not been all rainbows and sprinkles; I’ve dealt with levels of hate that was devastating. I totally lost myself at one point and my best friend helped to get me back. I’ve come full circle and can now I can balance Cocoa and Farah (birth name). I had to work on me. And now I have a child and I want to leave a legacy for him. So I can be an inspiration to him for life when he has things that he comes too he can think, “This is how mommy would do it.” It’s another level now with a child. I’m extremely focused right now. I have the vision for the book and I’ve come up with my title.
“My fingers will lead me to write what comes out and let God lead the way. I don’t do anything unless I’m inspired and motivated!” Cocoa Brown
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