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Saturday, July 25, 2020

One-on-One with Luenell, the ORIGINAL Bad Girl of Comedy


by Cyrus Webb

I first had the chance to interview Luenell in 2019, and it was definitely one of the highlights of the year. The talented comedian/actress has made a name for herself on the stage, on television and in film---but it is in LIFE that she really shines. In essence what you see is what you get, and her fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

Luenell has been recognized for her work literally around the world, and at the beginning of 2020 she was honored at City Hall in Los Angeles as part of the city’s Black History Month celebrations.  Even the Coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped her. Luenell started her own show on Youtube called “Hey Luenell” where she has been able to talk about current events and all things going on with pop culture and the world.

In this conversation we talk about her success, her realness and the importance of being you.

Luenell, thank you so much for the time. What has that been like for you to do something that you love and to see the type of response you have gotten, especially online?
Well, it's very beautiful for me, because with all the things that can go wrong with social media, there's a lot of things that have gone right with it. The fact that I can get emails and stuff from people in Amsterdam, from people in Sweden and from people in Zimbabwe has been amazing to me. I wouldn't even think that my brand of comedy or way of thinking would translate to those other countries when in all actuality it has!
I guess like you stated it’s my realness.  I've lived long enough to see the social and moral compass of our country go straight in the toilet. And I think that the fact that I have been literally the same person since I left the streets of East Oakland in California and moved to Los Angeles and incorporated myself into Hollywood and Beverly Hills, I think that's refreshing to a lot of people. You do see people change as they climb up the ladder, but I have not. I've not been affected like [some] people are when they have access to excess, you know what I mean?

 Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Luenell, you said something I want to go back to, because I think it is an important point. There are those who have not had a quarter of the success that you've been able to have and have changed. Do you think that realness is one of the reasons you have not been affected by the spotlight like others have?
The family that I have and the friends that I have would never allow that. If they saw me slipping into a ‘Me, me, me, look at me. I'm so great’ type of category I would be quickly slapped back down to reality. So there is no chance of me ever, ever, ever, going Hollywood as they say. I'm just such a regular chick that, you know, I'll curse out an executive in a meeting just like I'll cuss out a person on the street. That’s just me.

Well, again, that goes to why people love you so much. I mentioned there are so many different platforms you’ve been on: stage, television and film. Do you find that stage is where you're the most at home?
Yes, I do. I like the immediate interaction with people. I like to see the people. I like to be able to feel the laughter. It doesn't translate as well through film and television for me, unless you're shooting a television show that has a live studio audience.

I grew up in church choir, which had that immediate response. I went into theater and did a lot of theater when I lived in Oakland and performing in San Francisco. People in LA don't even know about my theatrical chops. I just enjoy people, and I enjoy the vibe of people. I enjoy the immediate reaction of people. That's why movies are such a hard thing for me, because you get excited about it, you build a family and a relationship, then it's over. They're gone, You're gone… and the movie doesn't come out for another year. For someone who doesn't have a lot of patience like me, that's a real ball-buster.


You have also embraced the things that sometimes people run from. Right. You're not afraid to go there. I noticed even when I was prepping for this segment and you know, am thinking about not only the special but just in your, you know, in your life you've been able to kind of just go in on these things. Do you find yourself kind of capturing or keeping your power by attacking things that some people might try to use as negatives?
Well, as far as age, weight, relationships and all that, these are obvious things. It's like there's nothing more pitiful to me than somebody who tries to be younger than they are. You know, you can be hip, you can be with it, you can be knowledgeable and up on some of the terminology and the slang and the culture, but c’mon. Have some class and maturity about yourself.
I think that it's cool to talk about the obvious. If you’re chubby, then you can't erase that away. You can't embarrass that away. You can't pretend like it's not there. Address it. If you have one arm, you wouldn't come out on stage and pretend like you have two arms. You don't. We can see that. So let's talk about that. You know, I'm not sure where I got this boldness from, but I know that it has been very liberating for me to just come clean about the obvious, you know?

 I don't aim my humor for anybody that I'm not. I aim my humor towards people like me. And those are ticket buyers, movie watchers. I appreciate the love that is reciprocated, because I definitely am talking to you about all these subjects with love in my heart.

Stay connected with Luenell’s journey at her website www.heyluenell.com, Instagram at www.instagram.com/luenell and her Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/heyluenell.

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