Lil Rel Howery talks Hollywood and Chicago comedy

Lil Rel doing standup at his special at the Chicago Theatre - Photo Credit: Brooklyn Wheeler
Lil Rel doing stand-up at his special RELevent at the Chicago Theatre – Photo credit: Brooklyn Wheeler

Chicago-born comedian Lil Rel Howery is currently taking the world by storm. Based on his grind, humble attitude and hunger, this should be expected. Howery has managed to stand tall among an extremely talented and funny pool of young Chicago comics. He currently stars in the NBC sitcom “The Carmichael Show,” starring Loretta Divine, David Allen Grier and Jerrod Carmichael, the show’s namesake. Howery has managed to create a niche for himself as a skilled comedian humbly working his way through the trenches. We spoke with Howery about his journey, what inspires him and his most memorable moments.

Congratulations on everything. How is life in Hollywood treating you?
I really like it out here. [There’s] a lot of opportunity, good weather and meeting some dope people, man. Hollywood’s dope so far.

I think it’s amazing that you share your journey on social media. Why is that important to you?
It’s more or less hopefully motivating people that’s back home in Chicago or young people or anybody who has a dream to see that it can actually happen if you put the work in. And it’s not a bragging thing; it’s more or less like ‘you can do it, too; I did it!'”

What do you think it is about Chicago comedians that separate so many of them from the pack?
Not saying that we are realer than most people, but because Chi is so segregated, first of all, we have to be diverse comedians and be able to make a lot of different people laugh. And Chicago comics, we’re OK with who we are in our truth. That stems from Bernie Mac and a lot of other greats who came before me.

What has your most memorable moment been with respect to your career thus far and why?
Honestly, more than anything, was when … actually a couple of them … but the most recent one was when we shot the funeral episode on the “Carmichael Show.” To just be working with Marla Gibbs who’s a legend and I had a moment with Norman Lear and it was amazing.

What has kept you so focused over the years?
What has kept me focused were my kids. My biggest focus is just making sure I’m good to my babies.

What is next for you? What is coming up?
 A new MTV series “Acting Out” and the movie “Get Out,” which should air in the fall.

What words of encouragement do you have for the young comedian who is currently pursuing their dream?
I’d say just to stay focused, be kind because you don’t know who’s going to be what. That’s the biggest thing, be kind and be original.

Ok … this is the real important question … Harolds or Uncle Remus?
Uncle Remus. –

If you happen to be in Chicago this weekend, Lil Rel will be performing at The Stephen M Bailey Auditorium. 


Eddy "Precise" Lamarre
Eddy "Precise" Lamarre

Eddy Lamarre aka Precise is a father, emcee, motivational speaker, blogger and performing artist. Follow his blog at

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