Lil Rel Howery

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Lil Rel Howery
Lil Rel.jpg
Howery in 2010
Birth nameMilton Howery Jr.
Born (1979-12-17) December 17, 1979 (age 43)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years active2001–present
Verina Robinson
(m. 2008; div. 2017)

Milton "Lil Rel" Howery Jr. (born December 17, 1979)[1] is an American actor and comedian. Howery is known for playing Robert Carmichael in NBC's television comedy series The Carmichael Show (2015–2017) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer Rod Williams in the horror film Get Out (2017). He also starred in the TV series Rel (2018–2019), which he also created and co-produced, lasting only one season.

Early life[edit]

Milton Howery Jr. grew up on the West Side of Chicago, the son of Nancy and Milton.[1][2] He attended Providence St. Mel School from fifth grade to ninth. He then transferred to Crane High School.[3] At Crane, Howery wrote jokes and created a script in a senior talent show, after which he decided to pursue comedy professionally.[3] Playing high school basketball, he reminded people of his older cousin Darrel, and was nicknamed Lil Rel.[4]


Howery began performing stand-up comedy on Chicago's East Side at the Lion's Den.[5][better source needed] He made his television debut in January 2007 on the reality television competition Last Comic Standing.[6][7] The same year, he was on P. Diddy Presents: The Bad Boys of Comedy on HBO.[8] In 2009, he was part of America's National Night Out Against Crime in Chicago.[9]

In 2012, Howery and five other comedians starred in Fox's revival of the 1990s sketch program In Living Color.[6][10] The show was canceled in 2013. Howery went on to work as a writer, producer, and one of the regular cast members of the truTV sketch comedy series Friends of the People.[11] In 2015, he began co-starring as Bobby Carmichael on the NBC sitcom The Carmichael Show alongside the show's creator, Jerrod Carmichael.[12]

In early 2016, Netflix added Howery's first exclusive solo stand-up special, Kevin Hart Presents: Lil Rel: RELevent, for streaming in the United States.[13]

Howery won the 2017 "Best Comedic Performance" MTV Movie & TV Award for his performance in Jordan Peele's satirical horror film Get Out.[14][15]

On May 10, 2018, Fox picked up Rel, a sitcom starring Howery in the lead role and Jerrod Carmichael and Mike Scully serving as executive producers. Howery said the show is loosely based on his own life, including being a divorced father.[16] The series premiered September 9, 2018.

Howery starred alongside Ryan Reynolds in the comedy film Free Guy. He played Buddy, a security guard.[17]

Since 2019, Howery has played the character Bishop on the HBO Max sitcom South Side.[18]

In 2019, HBO released Howery's second stand-up special, Lil Rel Howery: Live in Crenshaw.[19] His third special, I said it. Y'all thinking it. was filmed in his hometown of Chicago and released in 2022.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Howery married Verina Robinson on November 24, 2008.[21][22] They have two children. The couple divorced in 2017.[22][23]

In June 2016, Howery was a passenger in a vehicle that struck another car in University Village, Chicago.[24] The driver in the other car argued with Howery and called 9-1-1, claiming that Howery had punched him in the face.[24][25] The driver of the car in which Howery was riding drove away without him.[24] Police officers arrested Howery on a charge of misdemeanor battery,[24] but he was found not guilty.[26][27] The driver sued Howery for injuries suffered during the fight.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
2017 Get Out Rod Williams
2018 Tag Reggie
Uncle Drew Dax Winslow
Bird Box Charlie
2019 Brittany Runs a Marathon Demetrius
Good Boys Lucas's Dad
The Angry Birds Movie 2 Alex (voice)
2020 The Photograph Kyle
Clouds Milton Weaver
Home Jayden Also executive producer
2021 Judas and the Black Messiah Wayne
Tom & Jerry Tom's shoulder devil and angel (voice)
Bad Trip Bud Malone
Fatherhood Jordan
Space Jam: A New Legacy Himself (Game Announcer) Cameo
Free Guy Buddy
Vacation Friends Marcus Parker
National Champions Coach Ronnie Dunn
2022 I Love My Dad Jimmy
Spin Me Round Paul
Deep Water Grant
Luck Marv (voice)
Bromates Jonesie
2023 Harold and the Purple Crayon TBA Post-production
PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie TBA Post-production
Dashing Through the Snow TBA Post-production
TBA The Out-Laws Tyree Post-production
Reunion Ray Post-production; Also producer


Year Title Role Notes
2014 Friends of the People Various Writer, producer, cast
2015 Kevin Hart Presents: Lil Rel: RELevent Himself Standup special
2015–17 The Carmichael Show Bobby Carmichael Starring role
2017 Insecure Quentin 5 episodes
Drop the Mic Himself Episode: "Nicole Scherzinger vs. Lil Rel Howery / Charlie Puth vs. Backstreet Boys"
2018 Lip Sync Battle Episode: "Lil Rel Howery vs. Naya Rivera"
2018–19 Rel Rel Main role
2018 The Comedy Central Roast Himself Episode: "Bruce Willis"
The Bobby Brown Story Brian Irvine 2 episodes
2019 Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure Virtuous St. Goodberry (voice) Episode: "The Eye of Pincosta"
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Chuckles (voice) Episode: "If You Can't Beat 'em, Totem! or It's Raining Gems!"
South Side Bishop 3 episodes
Sherman’s Showcase Himself Episode: “The Ladies of Showcase”
A Black Lady Sketch Show Fake Manager Episode: "Born at Night, But Not Last Night"
Lil Rel Howery: Live in Crenshaw Himself Standup special
2019–present Craig of the Creek Darnell (voice) 3 episodes
2020 The Chi Zeke Remnick 2 episodes
2021 Nailed It! Himself Episode: "We're Gonna Need a Bigger Cake"
Small Fortune Host Also executive producer
2022 Eureka! Rollo (voice) Main role
I said it. Y'all thinking it. Himself Standup special
2023 Poker Face Taffy Boyle Episode: "The Stall"
Harlem Freddie Wilson Episode: "As Assist from the Sidelines"


  1. ^ a b Vivanco, Leonor (June 15, 2009). "Chicago Laugh Attack". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Comedy Central".
  3. ^ a b Datcher, Mary L. (October 1, 2015). "Lil Rel: Working His Way Up". The Chicago Defender. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  4. ^ "Storytelling like a good uncle is stand-up comic's best weapon". The Plain Dealer. (Cleveland, Ohio). September 11, 2015. p. T20.
  5. ^ "LilRel Howery bio". IMDb. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Zwecker, Bill (April 4, 2012). "Local Light". Chicago Sun-Times.
  7. ^ Howery, Lil Rel "Last Comic Standing". MySpace. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  8. ^ Toby, Mekeisha Madden (April 6, 2007). "Mekeisha's pick: New stand-up comics on tonight". The Detroit News. p. 2E.
  9. ^ Jarocki, Gailann (August 2, 2009). "Help strengthen your community, National Night Out, August, 4th". Chicago Examiner.
  10. ^ "Meet the New Cast of Fox's New 'In Living Color'". Huffington Post. April 3, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  11. ^ Bernhardt, Ross (September 4, 2015). "Lil Rel Howery: The Comedy King of Chicago". Paste Magazine. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  12. ^ "The Carmichael Show: About: Lil Rel Howery". NBC. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  13. ^ "Kevin Hart Presents Lil Rel: RELevent". Netflix. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Romero, Ariana (May 7, 2017). "Lil Rel Deserved So Much Better For His Big MTV Movie & TV Awards Win". Refinery29.
  15. ^ "'Stranger Things,' 'Beauty' win big at MTV awards". Agence France-Presse. May 8, 2017.
  16. ^ Truitt, Brian (July 2, 2018). "Lil Rel Howery has his game face on". USA Today. p. D3.
  17. ^ Weintraub, Steven (14 August 2021). "Lil Rel Howery on 'Free Guy' and If He's Trying to Overtake Kevin Hart as the Hardest Working Man in Hollywood". Collider. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  18. ^ "'South Side': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 9 July 2019.
  19. ^ Mears, Katie (2019-11-25). "Why Lil Rel Howery Filmed His New Special in a High School Gym". Vulture. Retrieved 2022-12-11.
  20. ^ VanArendonk, Kathryn (2022-11-11). "Lil Rel Howery Is So Happy to Be Here". Vulture. Retrieved 2022-12-11.
  21. ^ Jones, Tashara (September 7, 2018). "Lil Rel Howery's life is now a sitcom". New York Post. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  22. ^ a b c Swartz, Tracy (September 6, 2018). "Lil Rel Howery's TV career is about to take off as he deals with real-life Chicago drama". Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  23. ^ Bocque, Anslem Samuel (March 2, 2018). "From 'Get Out' to Balling With Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howery Isn't Done Having the Best Year Ever. Complex. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  24. ^ a b c d Owen, Jordan (June 20, 2016). "Chicago comedian Lil Rel Howery arrested on Near West Side". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  25. ^ "Celebrity File". Daily Post (Palo Alto, California). June 21, 2016. p. 26.
  26. ^ {Moreno, Nereida (June 20, 2016). "Chicago comic-actor Lil Rel Howery charged with battery". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  27. ^ Swartz, Tracy (September 8, 2018). "Lil Rel Howery's TV success comes amid real-life drama". Chicago Tribune.

External links[edit]