Comedy, Impersonations, and More with Jonathan Kite
Good First Impressions
Photos by Riker Brothers
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Have you ever tried to impersonate your favorite celebrity? Mimic their voice, their mannerisms, their patterns of speech? For the average American, impressions are often a swing and a miss, something to laugh about with your friends, and then forget. For actor Jonathan Kite, however, impersonating other people and adopting different accents is just another part of his career. A Chicago native, Kite has guest starred on TV shows such as Wizards of Waverly Place, Raising Hope and American Dad. Since 2011, however, Kite has found a home playing a cook from Ukraine on CBS’s half-hour comedy 2 Broke Girls, starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs.
In addition to acting on the silver screen, Jonathan Kite has a burgeoning career as a stand-up comic. With live performances at the Laugh Factory and a new comedy special in the works, Kite’s career is constantly growing. FINE Magazine spoke with the actor about his humble beginnings, comedic stylings and top tips for making a career out of impersonating others.
How did you prepare for your role as Ukranian chef Vanko Oleg Golishevsky on CBS’s 2 Broke Girls?
I knew the [Ukranian] accent because I grew up with those people. Most of my friends had first generation parents [originally from Ukraine], so we would always do impersonations of them for fun. I spent a lot of time with them growing up, so the role as Vanko sort of came naturally.
You partnered with BuzzFeed to do “9 Celebrity Impressions,”—including an impersonation of President Donald Trump—which now has over 8 million views on Youtube. How do you mimic other people and create such vivid impersonations?
Honestly, it’s different for everybody. I like to think of an angle or hear something I want to talk about. I’ll watch videos to get their mannerisms down. [Prior to the BuzzFeed video], I actually created my Trump voice impression before he even thought of running for President, and it was a last minute addition for the video.
What are your favorite type of acting roles?
Variety is key in any great career. I love living in LA because of the variety it has to offer. I also love doing stand-up because it’s me and it comes naturally, but at the same time, I love voice over [jobs] because it’s learning new terms and challenging myself to portray a character I’m not necessarily “acting” out.