This post contains minor spoilers for Get Out.
Why We're So Excited for ‘What Men Want’
If you've had a chance to see Get Out, you might've fallen in love with Rod Williams, the main character's hilarious BFF and the greatest TSA agent in the world. Rod's side-splitting comic relief comes courtesy of Lil Rel Howery -- a comedian you need to know.
Howery's in the movie, according to writer-director Jordan Peele, to say the things you wish characters would really say in horror movies. "He's like your best friends who's a conspiracy theorist, so you have reason to doubt his opinion," Peele told ABC Radio. "But at the same time, he's more keyed into what's happening because he's got that perception going on."
The Carmichael Show/YouTube
The Chicago native has been toiling on the comedy scene for more than a decade, building his name with NBC's Last Comic Standing (semi-finalist), Diddy's Bad Boys of Comedy, BET's Comic View, MTV's Acting Out (as the host!), and alllllllllllllmost as a member of the In Living Color reboot. In 2012, Variety named him a Comic to Watch. Whether cursing out Allison Williams, explaining the real-life horror of racism and sex slaves, or breaking down the sci-fi twist behind the movie for real detectives, Howery's deliveries in Get Out are gold.
If you're a fan, here's where you can see more of his work:
The Carmichael Show
Howery's highest-profile role is on Jerrod Carmichael's NBC sitcom, where he plays Robert "Bobby" Carmichael, the protagonist's feisty, underachieving older brother. "I remember watching The Carmichael Show with my dad and that was one of the best moments of my life," Howery, who thinks it's crazy he's on a network sitcom, told ABC Radio. "He was watching it almost like it wasn't me he was looking at, like, Wait a minute, this Bobby is funny!" The multi-cam comedy is set to return with a 13-episode third season later this year.
Where to watch: Stream on Hulu
Friends of the People
On truTV's kooky sketch comedy series, Howery served as a writer, actor, and executive producer, appearing as an exploding Double Dare contestant, a Tuber rider, a barfy hero, and the mastermind behind the solution to New York's police brutality problem, among many other characters. He also lent his voice to a few episodes of Lucas Bros. Moving Co., an animated series helmed by two of his FOTP co-stars.
Where to watch: Rent on iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon Video
In 2015, Kevin Hart helped produce Howery's first full hour of stand-up. The special aired on Comedy Central and featured memorable bits about having a daughter, interacting with racist doormen, and getting roasted on the bus.
Where to watch: Stream on Netflix
Right before Get Out, Howery took a turn in Fred Wolf and David Spade's Mad Families, a three-pronged family feud dealing with racial tension at a sought-after campsite. The actor plays Ron Ron, a member of the Jones family who's scared of invisible snakes and loves messing with his brother.
Where to watch: Stream on Crackle
What's next? Look for Howery in an upcoming History Channel special, and if you're lucky, on select dates of Chris Rock's stand-up tour. Maybe Get Out 2? We're rooting for a TSA-inspired spin-off.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.