Back in the game: Lil Rel Howery tries to move on in ‘Rel’
Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out,” 2017) continues the timehonored tradition of standup comedians portraying a character loosely based on their own past experiences, in a new episode of “Rel,” airing Sunday, Dec. 2, on Fox. Howery looks to replicate the success of comedy legends such as Tim Allen (“Home Improvement”), Ray Romano (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), Bernie Mac (“The Bernie Mac Show”), Ellen Degeneres (“Ellen”) and Jerry Seinfeld (“Seinfeld”), who all struck gold when they took their act to the small screen.
“Rel” centers around the titular character. He’s a nurse living and working on Chicago’s West Side, and he’s forced to rebuild his life after he discovers his wife is having an affair with his barber. Adding insult to injury, Rel must also learn to be a long-distance single father, as his wife takes their two children to Cleveland with her when she leaves.
Dealing with the implosion of his marriage and the loss of his wife, children and barber, Rel’s motto — “always believe in yourself and great things will come” — is put to the test. The laughingstock of his neighborhood, he finds that even something as simple as riding the bus is now an unpleasant experience, as the local guys roast him relentlessly. It is impossible to escape the reminders of his wife’s indiscretions.
Not everyone in the neighborhood is so mean-spirited, however. Rel’s friends and family do their best to help him get back on track — and back on the dating scene. There to guide him through the Windy City’s dating pool are his younger brother, Nat (Jordan L. Jones, “Disjointed”), and his best friend, Brittany (Jessica ‘Jess Hilarious’ Moore, “Wild ‘n Out”).
Nat, recently released from prison, means well and is occasionally helpful but is mostly a thorn in his brother’s side. On the flip side, Brittany is all help with her unfiltered opinions and views and does the best she can to get her bestie out of his rut, convince him to stop sulking and move on.
Twenty-five years after “The Sinbad Show” debuted on Fox, the legendary Sinbad himself returns to the network, this time in a supporting role.