COCOA BROWN: Comedy born out of realness

She is “one funny momma” and she is coming to Savannah.

 Actress, comedian and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Cocoa Brown is coming to “Big Comedy Network at District Live” for a set of shows Nov. 10 - 12. Brown is looking forward to bringing her style of comedy to Savannah.

“Savannah is a beautiful city to me and I remember it being that way. I’m going to bring my kid with me. He’s never been and I get to share the excitement in his eyes with him. I’m looking forward to it all the way around,” said Brown.

After turning 50 years old in October, Brown feels she is in a new place in life, and after recently losing her mother along with other life changing events in recent months, Brown knows that, while she’s still processing things, she has to put it on the stage.

“I’m in a place where my sets are so honest that I never know what I’m going to say. I know it’s going to be funny and I know it’s going to make you think, but it comes with such an honest, transparent place now,” said Brown.

The Newport News, Virginia, native boldly draws from painful memories and hard-knocked lessons that she courageously and creatively intertwines into humorous tales that uplift and upgrade comedy.

Brown put in the work to get to this point and it did not come overnight. A career that began as an advertising associate for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and a writer for various sketch comedy shows proved confining for the spirited performer. She honed her writing and creativity to pursue her dream of being a stand-up comic.

She channeled its essence and found her purpose, performing on top-rated comedy shows including BET’s “Comic View” and “One Mic Stand”, and “Showtime at the Apollo”. Over 20 years later Brown has stacked a roster of film and television credits with range in performances.

“I think about how many sacrifices I’ve made, what I’ve accomplished through those sacrifices, giving myself my flower and understanding that I will secure the respect that I have earned, and being secure in that,” said Brown.

Respect she earned and is given from many in the business. Her credits include Tyler Perry’s critically acclaimed comedy series “For Better or Worse” on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, a national commercial spot for Progressive Insurance Company, “Lakeview Terrace” with Samuel L. Jackson, Ted 2, Single Mom’s Club, 9-1-1, P-Valley and more.

During the filming of Tyler Perry’s “The Single Moms Club” was also a pivotal time for Brown.  Right before they started filming, she and her husband separated, and ultimately divorced. She found herself suddenly single and a mom trying to navigate a new life.

“I knew that I had to come to this revelation in my time that I have accomplished a lot. I told myself, ‘girl, you’ve sacrificed, and you earned these stripes.’,” said Brown.

Despite these life challenges, Brown found ways to infuse it in her humor and in some of the characters she’s portrayed. 

Now she is at a place in life where she understands her accomplishments and the blessings that have come in her 50 years and career.

“I remember my mother saying that when she turned 50 it was like the whole world opened up to her again. I do not feel like the same person I was. It’s a new mindset, how I feel in my body. Everything has changed. 50 is amazing,” said Brown.

While Brown enjoys playing a variety of roles from comedy to drama, she did express wanting to take on more dramatic roles, hoping to not be pigeonholed, especially while she is now getting offered a diverse range of roles.

“I am looking for more dramatic roles because I really want to sink my teeth into a role and just purge through that character. That’s the role I’m looking forward to, utilizing every emotion and every piece of my story in these roles. I’m loving it,” said Brown.

Even stand-up for her right now has reached a level of comfort. No longer trying to stand-out to be chosen, she says she is at a place where is being picked.

“Stand-up has now become a form of therapy. It’s like going on that stage is like one big exhale. It’s not that pick me mentality anymore or was that good enough? I know it’s good enough because it’s making me feel better when I think,” said Brown.

Also, with all of her knowledge, she wants to be sure to help other upcoming comedians that have been touched and inspired by her work and life, hoping to help them avoid some of the pitfalls in the business—even offering a cautionary advice for those breaking into the business, especially women.

“I would tell any female comic to hold dear to her integrity because you will be tried. This is still a male dominated business, and you still have a lot of men in this business in power that see us as options and not as their equals or their colleagues. Demand your respect very early,” said Brown.

Brown knows the importance of respect, and is looking forward to coming to District Live in Savannah to perform, where she gave a nod of respect as well. 

She wants people to come out and support this venue and come out and laugh.

“These are dear friends of mine and to see them take an idea and become this wonderful reality.... I’m so grateful and honored that they called me to be one of the first comedians to come to this new club and bless that stage. With all that’s going on in this world, let’s laugh at somebody,” said Brown.

For more information and tickets to any of the Cocoa Brown shows at District Live, visit

About The Author

Kareem McMichael

Kareem McMichael is a filmmaker, documentarian, writer, and multimedia content creator. The Macon native enjoys entertainment, and sharing with locals and visitors’ stories about Savannah’s art and culture scene. When he is not working, he enjoys relaxing at the beach, grabbing a beverage, hitting a fun art event,...

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