Anticipation is high for Lil Rel Howery’s new sitcom Rel featuring social media star Jess Hilarious. The humorous duo are combining comedic powers to bring a new sitcom with nostalgic flavor to FOX. Rel packs a “throwback” feel including a real life audience like some of your favorite 90s shows, which was a conscious decision Howery revealed to us in an exclusive interview at this year’s Essence Festival.
“I just went to the old format,” he said. “I’m just kind of bringing some old school flavor to the new generation to fit in with the other great shows on TV like Insecure, Atlanta, Blackish, Grownish and so many really funny shows. Just to be apart of it and bring another flavor is going to be good for TV and good for us,” he added.
Howery’s Hollywood ascension is admirable. The witty actor captured our attention as the sarcastic and imaginative best friend in Get Out and kept us laughing on The short-lived Carmichael Show. Roles on Issa Rae’s Insecure and in Jay Z’s Moonlight and the recent comedy Uncle Drew secured his place as the next comic to take over the big screen.
We are equally eager to watch how Jess Hilarious’ personality translates on the TV screen. The funny woman, who has effortlessly roasted some of your favorite celebs and survived, brings her unabashed comedy to the show.
Jess’ rise to riches story is inspiring. The young mother parlayed her Instagram fame into a lucrative stand-up comic career and now she’s carved out her own lane that leads directly to our living room. Much of Jess’ success is centered around her unadulterated jokes and consistency.
“I say the things that people want to say but they don’t want get the backlash for it,” she said. “I feel like I’m the voice for a lot of people who have insecurities or who are scared.”
Jess, whose recent wig-less skit went viral leaving her the butt of her own jokes, finds strength in her ability to relate to women. “I feel like no woman should feel like they’re ugly.”
Girl, I will take this wig off for you right now and Chris over there still won’t leave. I’ll pluck these lashes off in a second,” she joked. “Makeup is an enhancement, but when you can real and speak to women from soul to soul and not from beat face to beat face then you can really get into somebody’s head. And you can minister people through jokes, through humor and your personality and I think that’s what sets people apart.”
Catch a sneak peek of Rel September 9th and the full episode on September 30 at 9:30 on FOX.
Interview by Missy B./ Words by Shamika Sanders