Lil Rel is sticking to his path of becoming one of the most watched comedians coming out. The Chicago comedian who is no stranger to Comedy Hype readers has added a few new credits since his last talk with us. Most recently Rel teamed up with the people of MTV to host their newest series Acting Out; which is on air with the network on Thursday nights 10:30/9:30c.. In his most recent talk with CH, Rel spoke on the current state of comedy, seeing himself in films, and why he thinks a female will be taking over urban comedy scene soon.
BY COMEDY HYPE
CH: At one point in recent years there wasn’t as much opportunity for black comedians, but now you look up and see how the scene has grown. Do you think this is the peak or is there more opportunities for black comedians today?
LR: It’s only the beginning of it. Kevin Hart is at the forefront of it. He is spear heading it with the LOL Network and he’s got all the online guys coming together to do stuff for him. I’m glad to see him doing it with very hungry and up-coming people. I think at one time he was trying to get the older cats to come together and they couldn’t figure it out. Kevin is a big part of it. I would like to think that our group had something to do it with it too with Friends Of The People, Jerrod Carmichael, Hannibal Buress and more.
CH: You released a great special years ago, and some people have even called it the best comedy special in recent years from a new comer. Looking back at your special RELEvent, how do you feel about that the moment?
LR: I knew it would be good but I didn’t want to be the only person who thought that [Laughs]. It’s so many veteran comedians that show love to it. Me and Ced (Cedric The Entertainer) actually talked about it weeks ago. He just dropped a special I love and he ended up telling me that he was watching my special. It just feels good to get respect from cats I really got a lot of respect for.
CH: Tommy Ford recently passed away and one moment that was big for your career was Who’s Got Jokes which featured Ford. What type of impact do you think Tommy made on that series?
His impact made Who’s Got Jokes work. He was on that legendary show MARTIN and for him to give you a stamp to say your funny; people took that serious. When the first season came out comedians were hating on it. But when you have Bill hosting, Rodney Perry, and Tommy being the Pope of comedy; people saw the impact and everyone was auditioning for the next season. I feel that the moment was one of my biggest moments of my career. It was a moment that kicked started whatever my legacy would become in Chicago and across the country.
CH: You are getting ready to make your major motion picture debut with new film Get Out, how did it feel seeing yourself in the already released trailer?
LR: I was on 10! They told me I was going to be on there but I was eating a hot dog at the movie theater, the trailer came on, and I was like “OH Damn!” I remember last year I was at the movies and I was like man I cant wait till I end up on a trailer. Watching people in the theater react to the film’s trailer was interesting as well.
CH: You have a new show Acting Out with MTV and we noticed your kids featured in a preview of the show. Is getting them involved in TV something you had planned?
LR: My brain is always 20 paces ahead. I knew if I had an opportunity to show their skill set in a show I would have got them involved. They did a great job. They both were really funny, and I’m proud of them. It helped me a little because I got to see how they would be on set. They are always asking me too, “Can I get on Get Out?!” [Laughs] If they weren’t in school though I would have to admit I would have tried to get them on my newest film I just shot Mad Families.
CH: What does ‘Get Out’ by Jordan Peele represent for comedy?
LR: Get Out has a message to it, it’s not comedy. My character is some of the comic relief in it but it has a social message. It’s more of a thriller. I just didn’t want to rely on doing something funny for my first film. Jordan Peele told me too that its going to open up a lot of doors but doing a more serious role.
CH: Is Chicago still the best comedy city to you after you’ve been traveling for a while now?
LR: Yep Chicago! Chicago is still my favorite. I just did a theater out there a while ago and sold it out. When you even seen Kevin Hart’s new series Hart Of The City; to be honest Chicago so far has the funniest city out of those episodes. The guys do so good out there because of the pressure that’s there to be original and good. They were original. I was so proud seeing them.
CH: An upcoming season of The Carmichael Show is on the way, what direction are we taking it to with the new season?
LR: One thing I love about The Carmichael Show is that I have no idea where Jerrod’s mind will go to. I can’t wait to see what is going to be up in the writing room. Personal stories have been turned into episodes before. And then you have Kevin Barnett and Josh Rabinowitz from Friends Of The People on the writing staff, so I’m excited. It’s going to be an interesting season.
CH: Now that you’ve experienced these different things; is the goal still the same for you?
I think it’s time for another guy to elevate or woman to elevate. I think it’s been a long time since we had a female comic, actress, and movie star. Tiffany Haddish has a chance to be it. She’s likable, beautiful, and funny. I really believe the next big urban comic is going to be a woman. If it’s anybody that would be it, I think it will be Tiffany. I think it’s due. People have to accept the world for what it is. I’m just saying from what I’m seeing it looks to be set up for that. When you go see Tiffany’s live shows she is destroying. That’s why I been wanting her to get her comedy special done by the time all her projects come out, it’s a wrap.
CH: After experiencing everything you’ve done so far what’s the biggest thing you think you’ve learned?
LR: First of all you have to have your camp right. I have an amazing team all around. You have to protect yourself, and your image. You have to be around people that have stuff to lose. Some of us just think about the work and don’t really think about being famous. You have to take a page from Kevin Hart’s blue print; he has a great team. And have fun! It’s so much space in the game. It’s not about one person. Just do the work and you’ll be there.
Lil Rel can be seen every Thursday at 10:30/9:30c on MTV for the stand-up sketch series, Acting Out.