Lil Rel Howery’s acting journey kicked off in a very odd way thanks to his encounter with R. Kelly. The comedian paid a visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live! Wednesday (Nov. 6) where he looked back on his early days in Hollywood and how he lost respect for R. Kelly over the years.
The two crossed paths when Rel worked as a stand-in for Michael K. Williams’ character on Trapped In The Closet. While on the set, he met another stand-in who happened to be a backup dancer for R. Kelly. The two had an enjoyable conversation but the woman refused to talk to him the next day. Her reason was very similar to the sentiments heard by other women who have crossed the singer’s path.
“There was another stand-in, a young lady that was actually one of his background dancers too for a couple of his tours. We were just talking the whole time, getting to know each other, laughing, and having a good time,” he recalled. “But every time she laughed, I found him just, like, staring at me. So we come back to set the next day right and she’s not talking to us at all, right? At all!”
“I pulled her to the side and I’m like ‘Yo, did I do something?’ and she was like ‘Nah, he doesn’t want me talking to y’all’ and I was like ‘Who?’ and she’s like ‘Robert!'” he added. “So she didn’t talk to us the rest of the time we were filming it and it was just, like, it was just crazy and I remember him smirking about it.”
But that wasn’t the only time the two were in the same place. During a birthday party for the late John Singleton, Rel rejected an invite to meet R. Kelly.
“I guess he wanted to meet me and he sent somebody to me and we were all in this VIP area . . . ‘Man, I’m good,'” he said. “That’s a true story. I’m like ‘I’m good’ and the thing about it is, it wasn’t even about the allegations with me. He was so extra like that sometimes and I ain’t like that. Everybody knows I’m from the West Side of Chicago and I own who I am. That’s too much, bro. Just come speak to me, fam.”
Rel is currently promoting his HBO comedy special, Live In Crenshaw. The special debuts November 23 at 10 pm ET.
Watch the interview below.