Comedian, actor, writer, and producer Lil Rel Howery is a movie star. His role as TSA agent Rod Williams in the Oscar-winning instant classic Get Out (2017), written and directed by Jordan Peele ushered Howery into superstar status. His keen ability to mesh humor and honor resonated so deeply with audiences that Howery became not only the breakout star but a cultural champion. Winner of the Best Comedic Performance in a Movie at the MTV Movie & Television Awards, nominated for IMAGE Award for Best Supporting Actor and crowned Bernie Mac Comedy King of the Year, Howery is experiencing success at a rate bestowed upon few in Hollywood’s history. As Howery ascends, he also had the lead role in the film Uncle Drew, and guest stars alongside Issa Rae in the fearlessly funny HBO smash comedy series Insecure as Quentin.
From the impressionable age of eleven, Milton “Lil Rel” Howery set out to make the world laugh. With influential comedians like Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, and Louie Anderson in their prime, Lil Rel spent the early ’90s tuned into classic programs like Def Comedy Jam and Raw. While other young adolescents in his West Side Chicago neighborhood were doing typical juvenile things, he was studying and mastering the art of comedy. Now a well-respected comedian, actor and writer, Lil Rel has become a comedic staple in Chicago and a star nationally.
As a teen who sought worldwide fame and success, Lil Rel wanted much more than to tell jokes to his family and loved ones. He was immediately drawn to the production and performance aspects of entertaining. At seventeen years old, Lil Rel wrote original comedic scenes for one of the most critical audiences he’d face: his high school peers. After starring in the school play and effortlessly delivering side-cramping laughs, his impact was undeniable. His peers and teachers offered enthusiastic approval that left Lil Rel humbled and reflective.
After finishing high school, Lil Rel set out in search of the comedy spot that would offer him a chance to perform. He found that opportunity at The Lion’s Den in Chicago’s East Side. Too young to get in, he arrived earlier than most in hopes that the owner would bend the rules. He did. After walking out on to the stage, Lil Rel delivered his routine. An apparent hit, Lil Rel became a weekly regular at The Lion’s Den, before continuing on to become one of Chicago’s most prominent comedians and hosts at an innumerable amount of comedy clubs and showcases.
As Lil Rel’s fan base grew, so did his opportunities. He submitted a performance tape to BET’s Comic View casting department and was offered his first paid television spot in 2001. Proving to be a natural comedian with an undeniable stage presence, he was invited to perform again on the following season. With Comic View at its peak of popularity, the exposure launched him to the next phase of his career. By earning the respect of powerful show executives through his hilarious story-telling and knowledgeable off-stage demeanor, Lil Rel became a regularly featured comedian all over television and the nation.
With small appearances like his national film debut in MGM Studio’s “Barbershop 2” along with featured roles in urban hits like TV One’s “Bill Bellamy’s: Who Got Jokes” and HBO’s “Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy,” Lil Rel has been a welcome guest in inner-city homes for years. One of Lil Rel’s most valuable television appearances was NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Though he did not win the show, his memorable characters (including the infamous “neighborhood hoodrat”) resonated well with at-home viewers. His crossover appeal landed him a spot on NBC’s Diversity Showcase, as well as his hometown’s second largest comedy experience, the “Just for Laughs Chicago Festival.”
In 2009, Lil Rel began his first business, The Lil Rel Company. Initially launched as the holding company for his stand-up comedy material, The Lil Rel Company now houses the entire Lil Rel brand. Lil Rel continues to perform at comedy clubs, showcases, and colleges around the country. In July of 2010, he appeared on Comedy Central’s “Russell Simmons Presents: Stand-up at the El Rey.” His new CD, “I Know You Hear Me, But Are You Listening,” is available on iTunes.
Lil Rel starred in the critically-acclaimed weekly primetime NBC comedy series The Carmichael Show, appearing alongside fellow cast members Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier as star Jerrod Carmichael’s brother “Bobby.” Rel also was a executive produced, wrote and starred in the “gleefully absurd” (Chicago Sun Times) weekly sketch comedy show Friends of the People on TruTV. Rel’s first hour standup special RELevent premiered two years ago on Comedy Central. The hour was Executive Produced by superstar comedian and actor Kevin Hart and was named one of “The 10 Best Stand-Up Specials of 2015” by Vulture. Once making the leap to Netflix, RELevent rapidly became a must watch on Netflix. There audiences paired the power of his pen with the might of their cultural icon. Howery’s comedy was rediscovered by millions, marrying the might of who he is with what he does. RELevent is bonafide and showcases Rel’s captivating story-telling style. His uncanny ability to transport audiences into his hilarious world of loveable & outrageously fleshed-out characters makes Howery one of comedy’s finest. Lil Rel Howery, is the one to watch. With “Rel” in the works for Fox and four new movies slated to hit theatres in 2018, Howery shows Hollywood how!
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