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

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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

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