Chris Webber dunked on many people in his heyday. Lil Rel Howery has the distinct pleasure of being simply dunked by the former NBA player — in a baptismal pool.
“He’s a very strong, large man,” Howery says of his 6-foot-10 co-star in the new hoops comedy “Uncle Drew.” “I told Chris, ‘Just do whatever and I’ll just go with the flow.’ ”
Being ready for anything has worked out so far in Howery’s career. The stand-up comedian, 38, had a huge breakthrough as a scene-stealing TSA agent in Jordan Peele’s 2017 horror hit “Get Out.” Now, he’s a funny man in demand.
In “Uncle Drew,” Howery plays Dax, a down-on-his-luck streetball coach who teams with the legendary Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving, under a lot of makeup) to get his squad of old folks — including Webber, Shaquille O’Neal and Reggie Miller — ready for a big-time basketball tournament.
Come fall, the Chicago native hits the small screen again with his new Fox show “Rel” (previewing Sept. 9 before moving into its Sunday time slot on Sept. 30). And Howery’s making friends with A-listers like Sandra Bullock (“She is just dope”), his co-star in Netflix’s sci-fi film “Bird Box” (premieres Dec. 21).
Howery talks about hoops, Marvel movies and the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie remake he’s eyeing:
Q: Was it just non-stop basketball when filming with Kyrie and Co.?
A: There was a lot of shooting around. Kyrie don’t know how to put a basketball down, man. That dude would dribble on grass, he don’t care.
Q: We see a little bit of Dax’s childhood in a flashback when he’s posing next to the famous Michael Jordan “Wings” poster. Was that like Lil Rel back in the day?
A: I was a huge Michael Jordan fan but also just a huge basketball fan. That’s my son [Judah, 8], actually. It was fun watching him do that because it reminded me of my childhood. I had that poster.
Q: You also get to work with your old “Carmichael Show” ex Tiffany Haddish in “Uncle Drew.”
A: There’s a few more projects I’m in like that where I got to do things with my friends. The problem is, my friends are becoming famous (laughs). Hopefully, if me and Tiffany do something else, we’ll stay together instead of her breaking up with me. I almost want to do a remake of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” with me and her — the funnier version of it.
Q: What can your fans expect with “Rel”?
A: It’s loosely based on my life [about] being a long-distance dad and rebuilding your life after divorce, especially if you were a man who wanted to keep your marriage together. I just want to put a show on TV that when you literally look at the name — “Oh, ‘Rel’s’ coming on” — you know you’re coming to laugh.
Q: Jordan Peele is working on a new thriller called “Us.” Are you going to be in that, too, like the Leo to his Scorsese?
A: I wish, man. We’re going to try to figure something out. Everybody got really busy. All my other castmates from “Get Out” did these other movies.
Q: You can bug “Get Out’s” Daniel Kaluuya about getting into “Black Panther 2.”
A: Well, I know [director] Ryan Coogler, so that’s who I’ll talk to directly (laughs). There’s a Marvel movie up in the air that I was supposed to be in. But I was going to be a sidekick to a superhero, and I think I want to be a superhero.