When actor, writer, and comedian Lil Rel Howery said, as Get Out’s Rod Williams, the immortal words, “Leave, motherfucker!,” one believed him. That’s not simply because the shining star of the T.S.A. was unassailably right—it was, in fact, some Eyes Wide Shut situation—but because Howery’s voice rings with authority. He’s sincere. He’s funny. He’s authentic. You believe him, because he is a good actor, but also because he projects the image that he, and whoever he’s playing, is someone who can be trusted.
That authenticity comes through in Rel, his new FOX sitcom. Produced alongside Jerrod Carmichael, whom Howery worked with on The Carmichael Show, Rel is still getting its sea legs. But despite some familiar multi-cam sitcom creakiness, it’s sincere, funny, and at its best, authentic. In the pilot, the fictional iteration of Rel (called “Rel”) is struggling to get his life back together and re-enter the dating world after his wife leaves him for his barber. It’s silly and hackneyed and predictable, but as Rel goes on an ill-fated date with a woman whose unfortunate footwear choices have earned her the monicker “Loose Boots Monica,” it’s easy to buy into the silliness.
You like Rel. You believe Rel. You trust Rel. His voice carries weight. He would never mislead you. He’s honest. He’s wise. Here are his thoughts on whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich.
The Takeout: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Lil Rel Howery: Is a hot dog a sandwich? Yeah, it can be.
TO: It can be?
LRH: Yeah, if it’s just a hot dog then it’s just a hot dog, but if it’s on a bun then it’s between pieces of bread, and meat between two pieces of bread is a sandwich.
TO: So any meat between two pieces of bread is a sandwich? Sub, hoagie, lobster roll, all sandwiches?
LRH: Yeah, sandwiches. Absolutely.