Podtalk: Comedian Lil Rel Howery Got Game in ‘Uncle Drew’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – The born-in-Chicago comedian and now actor, Lil Rel Howery, is on a hot streak. Besides practically stealing the classic film of last year, “Get Out,” Howery was just seen in “Tag,” and is taking on a lead role in “Uncle Drew.” The new film is a basketball comedy featuring NBA/WNBA players taking on different roles.

Yes, it is NBA/WNBA stars – Kyrie Irving (as Uncle Drew), Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson and Lisa Leslie – who go behind “old age” makeup to portray a rag-tag group of 1960s b-ball players who once dominated the “Rucker Classic”… a real playground tournament that still draws top players today. Lil Rel portrays an orphaned basketball addict who now coaches, but loses his team right at tourney time. In steps Uncle Drew to “get the band back together,” and that reunion is at the heart of this unusual and endearing film.

Lil Rel Howery Leads the Crew in ‘Uncle Drew’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Lil Rel Howery, everybody’s favorite TSA agent, began his journey on the west side of Chicago (he talks about his hood in the podtalk below), and honed his stand-up comedy in the clubs of the 1990s. His break came on BET Network’s “Comic View” in 2001, when he got a spot after submitting an audition tape. He has climbed the show business ladder from there, landing a small role in “Barbershop 2” and getting featured on HBO’s “Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy.” His career skyrocketed when he appeared in “Get Out” in 2016, and that led to a number of new projects, including “Uncle Drew” and an upcoming sitcom on FOX entitled “Rel.”

In the following PART ONE podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, Lil Rel is all about “Uncle Drew,” relating how he was ready for his first lead role, and how his b-ball costars worked under all that old-age makeup.

In PART TWO, Rel talks about “Get Out” and the impact it had on his life, and his early days in Chicago.

“Uncle Drew” opens everywhere on June 29th. Featuring Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, Kyrie Irving, Shaquille O’Neal, Shaq, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson and Lisa Leslie. Written by Jay Longino. Directed by Charles Stone III. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions