Jonathan Kite is having a big season as Vanko “Oleg” Golishevsky on CBS’s sitcom 2 Broke Girls. Oleg has proposed to his girlfriend Sophie Kaczynski and the two are on their way to the altar, but of course the road there is going to be crazy. We caught up with Jonathan last week to find out what’s going to happen in the remainder of season four, and why he thinks 2 Broke Girls has won one People’s Choice Award and been nominated for two more.
While Oleg has come off as sometimes being a little rough around the edges, Jonathan is incredibly sweet and so it’s no wonder that he’s one of the rare actors who does not get confused with the character he portrays. Appearances help with that. “If you met me in life, I look different,” he explained. “Whenever I go to do an on-camera interview or something, they go wow, you don’t look like the guy I thought I was going to be interviewing.
“It’s only when I go to do stand-up that people think I’m going to be that guy,” he said, “but other than that, for whatever reason, I don’t come off the same way in life.”
He’s certainly left his own distinct stamp on the character after playing him for four seasons – the longest role of his career. Jonathan told us he’s enjoyed spending that much time with Oleg. “I think as an actor you’re looking for consistency because it allows you to kind of explore,” he reflected, “to act out someone else’s life and sort of see the parallels and differences with your own. It’s an amazing long-form character study.”
There’s certainly been no shortage of memorable moments for him. “My favorite episode, the girls came and redid my apartment in season two [“And The Big Hole”]. That was really fun for me,” he told us.
“The other episode I really love just aired a few weeks ago, when Sophie and Oleg move in together [“And The Move-In Meltdown”]. It’s reminiscent of the pilot episode, when Max and Caroline move in together. That’s one of my favorite episodes.
“I really love the episode with the fish [“And The Childhood Not Included”], where Han has this fish that he’s kind of obsessed with. The director [Don Scardino] did an exceptionally brilliant job with that one,” he added. “There was a St. Patrick’s Day episode [“And The Kilt Trip”] that was super-fun because you got to see all of us out of the diner, partying in our own ways.”
Expect more great episodes in the remainder of 2 Broke Girls‘ current season. “I just proposed to Jennifer on the show,” Jonathan told us, “and we haven’t shot the wedding yet but we’ve done all the things to kind of lead up to it.
“There’s this bachelorette party episode that’s so, so funny. There’s a hostage situation,” he teased, saying, “When we do a New York hostage situation, we do it big.”
2 Broke Girls has found a home on CBS’s comedy schedule and earned a strong fan base, including three People’s Choice Award nominations and one win over four seasons. What’s enabled it to catch on?
“I think it feels real to people,” Jonathan theorized. “It’s about the economy, the ebb and flow, [and] I think a lot of people connect with being poor. The idea that it’s not a death sentence, and that people who are monetarily less than where they’d like to be…bank accounts don’t define who they are. Not their spirit, not their work ethic.”
When he’s not part of one of TV’s successful sitcoms, he’s found a second career as a stand-up comic, which is still relatively new territory for him.
“I’ve only been doing stand-up for the last two and a half years, maybe not even that long,” he laughed. “I had these summers off, I had a lot of time, and it was one of those things [where] I’d always wanted to try it. I’ve just always been a fan of stand-up, and really respect it and have a deep appreciation for it.”
But whether it’s live on stage or in front of a sitcom audience, it doesn’t matter what the venue is, as long as he’s telling a good story.
“I have a lot of passion for acting, but also for storytelling,” he told us. “The hand that I’ve been dealt, and it’s amazing, is comedy. [And] I have a passion for history. It’s sort of the way that we learn -where we came from speaks a lot more to where we’re going than I think we realize. I think what I’m passionate about in general is storytelling.”
An all-new episode of 2 Broke Girls airs tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on CBS. If you want to keep up with Jonathan and find out where you can see him performing next, follow him on Twitter (@jbkite).