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Stand-up comic Cocoa Brown to perform Sunday at Resorts in Atlantic City

Updated: Jun 6

Image of comedian Cocoa Brown

Cocoa Brown will perform 6 p.m. Sunday at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

Antoine Duane Jones. ADJ Media


Stand-up comedian Cocoa Brown has seen her entertainment career last long enough for her to have the opportunity to return to her dramatic acting roots.

"'American Crime Story' showed that I was more than a comedy actress," said Brown, 51, a Newport News, Virginia, native, who will perform Sunday at Resorts Casino Hotel. "Honestly, I started in drama in middle school, high school. I performed in August Wilson plays and 'For Colored Girls (by Ntozake Shange.)"

Brown had her first breakthrough in her 26-year show-business career as a stand-up comic. She was fortunate to cross paths with the late Darcel "The Fat Doctor" Blagmon, who was known in the Washington, D.C., market and who mentored comics such as Roseanne Barr, Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Kinison and Martin Lawrence.

"The 'Fat Doctor' had the knowledge, wisdom and experience to teach me the game," Brown said. "He saw the potential in me. ... I had the timing and delivery already."

After Blagmon saw four minutes of Brown's stand-up act, he realized she already grasped an important concept — what is real is what is funny.

During the 2000s, when Brown was doing stand-up and living in Los Angeles, she also received her master's degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix, which she used to get student and substitute teaching jobs when things were slow.

When Brown was cast as a series regular as the character Jennifer in the sitcom "Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse" on the TBS and OWN cable networks, she had her breakthrough as an actress.

Brown's agent arranged for her to audition for the role, but she said Perry was already familiar with her from seeing her do stand-up in Los Angeles.

During the first half of the 2010s, Brown parlayed her fame from "For Better or Worse" and stand-up to other comedic film and television roles in the "Single Moms Club" and "Ted 2" movies and the "Soul Man" and "Mr. Box Office" sitcoms.

Brown took her career to another level with help from the late movie director John Singleton. Singleton was the co-creator and executive producer of the TV crime drama "Snowfall," but Brown did not land a job on that show. Singleton and Brown's paths crossed again when he was thinking about making a sequel to his 2001 movie "Baby Boy," but that film was not made.

Singleton came through for Brown when he directed an episode of "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story." She portrayed juror Jeanette "Queen B" Harris.

"He (Singleton) wanted someone who could act with their eyes. He ended up getting me that role," Brown said.

By being hired for "American Crime Story," Brown developed a connection with one of its executive producers, Ryan Murphy, who helped her land the recurring role of Carla Price for 11 episodes on the procedural drama "9-1-1."

Brown comes to Atlantic City to do what she was originally known for, stand-up comedy.

"I talk about relationships, marriage, divorce, raising a son, dating after (age) 50," Brown said.

Brown performed in America's Favorite Playground previously as part of the Atlantic City Comedy Festival lineup at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.

"I've been doing casinos for quite some time in Las Vegas, Seattle and Los Angeles," said Brown, who added the one difference with a casino show is that audiences are more likely to have drinks before the show starts. "They are not much different than any other show."

The year is not even half over, and Brown has already had an eventful year. She and her son lost their home in Georgia to a fire in February.

Perry reportedly offered Brown $400,000 after her house burned down. Basically, he paid off the money Brown owed on her old house, she said. She also had a GoFundMe that was started by her brother and an assistant that reached its $100,000 goal. She could not speak about the investigation that started after the fire, but legal action has been taken, she said.

Many of Brown's comedy peers stepped up to donate during her time of need, including Chris Tucker, Deon Cole, Loni Love, Kym Whitley, Sherri Shepherd, Lil Rel Howery, J. Anthony Brown, TV personality and model Tami Roman, and actor and director Tasha Smith.

Last year, Brown appeared in the horror movie "Sebastian." She also had a role in the romantic comedy "Twisted Hearts," which will be in select theaters May 31.

"In 2025, I'm coming back strong," Brown said.


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