Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Exclusive Interview With Luenell On The Move!


Where in the world is she now….

By Belinda Trotter-James

When we last spoke to Luenell she was so busy with movie roles and other projects that Who’s That Lady Entertainment wondered what she is doing now and if she ever gets a chance to take a break to relax and enjoy a few days on the beach or traveling around the world.  Well, the answer is… Nope!  She did not take a break.  “The thing about this business that I’m in is very ‘out of site… out of mind’,” says Luenell.  “You can take a break, but it’s like you have to start all over again.”  Ordinary folk take a bus, train or drive to work.  Luenell is in such high demand that she has to take a plane or a ship to work.  Let me explain… When we caught up with her on Tuesday, Thursday night she had to fly on the red eye to get to New Orleans for a quick show and then she had to fly to Miami to do her first Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage cruise.  “I was only gone for a week and was paranoid about that,” says Luenell.  “Being gone for a week makes you wonder what am I missing and what’s missing me.  Thankfully I have a team that always holds it down for me while I’m gone until I get back.  I don’t take very many breaks.” 

Actually in Luenell’s type of work it doesn’t feel like work at all.  Wouldn’t you love for your job to pay you to be on a cruise?!  She was the captured bad girl of comedy on the high seas for one week surrounded by fans and water.  Not everyone that goes on a cruise can swim.  Not that you need that skill, but we just had to ask if the bad girl of comedy can swim?  “This will be my fourth or fifth cruise,” says Luenell.  “I can swim, but swimming in a pool and swimming in subzero ocean water is something else.  I am pretty much covered by the Blood and I didn’t believe that anything is going to happen on our trip.  Of course nobody does but I’m pretty anointed and prayed up so I had anticipated nothing but great things on this trip and I did not go in with no other thoughts.  I am very happy that I took my older sister with me; we look very much alike.   I have three sisters and four brothers.  The cruise to Jamaica was on her bucket list and I didn’t even know she had a bucket list. I thought it would be a great pleasure to be able to bond with her and being the little sister take my big sister on this trip with me.”

If you watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Luenell made a cameo appearance to meet with Claudia.  If you didn’t know, Claudia is real life friends with Luenell.  “Claudia and I met on The Foxxhole radio program several years ago and she was very nice, witty and down to earth for someone you may stereotype as being typically beautiful and who you would think wouldn’t be so open and fun, but she is absolutely that and she has friends of all sorts,” says Luenell.  “She is very quick on her feet and I respect that.  So we became friends then and have remained friends till this day.”

Luenell’s long list of star studded friends is endless as they took time out of their schedules to attend one of two special birthday parties in her honor.  “The first was in Southern California in Los Angeles and second one was in Northern California that wasn’t so star studded, but more friend studded because I was raised in the Bay area so I got to see tons of people who I had came up with, went to school with, had as roommates and that was my party in Oakland at a club where they did a roast,” recalls Luenell.  “They roasted me and it was fun.”  The party Luenell had in Los Angeles is on You Tube.  You can actually see a clip of the group Troop performing for Luenell. Just type in ‘Luenell’s Birthday Video’ and you will see a four minute clip of the party and what made it so special.  “It was special because it was like a dream come true party,” remembers Luenell.  “I had Faith Evans, Kelly Price, 2nd II None, Troop… they all performed for me.  The Mary Jane Girls were in the house, Tony Toni Tone, Kimble Hooker and several other Bay area artists performed.  So when Kelly asked me, ‘What do you want me to sing?’ I said sing the song It’s My Time from the video you made that I’m in.  The fact that I had Kelly Price not only sing to me, but she sang a song from a video that we’re in together called Its My Time made it special.  And its kind of prophetic because It’s My Time is how I’m feeling about my career and things that are going well for me right now plus you know Kelly is anointed as well and she is a prophet no matter what the bullsh*t you saw on that other show she was on which really did not depict who she really is.  She sang and prayed for me and had the whole party in a giant prayer for me which is why I know, and not just because of that day, but I know I am covered  in the Blood and that its all going to be okay so you don’t get much of that.  You have friends that will eat with you, drink with you, smoke with you, but not a lot of friends will pray with you and Kelly is definitely a prayer and I definitely appreciated that we had the whole party go to church for just a few minutes.”

The icing on the party was Luenell’s pink hair done by a well known celebrity hairstylist. Who knew she would arrive with a beautiful head of girly pink hair.  “It was Elgin Charles”, revealed Luenell.  “I went to his shop and got it done.  For about 5-6 days I was pink and it was great.  I shocked the paparazzi.  Nobody expected me to show up with pink hair, but I am known for doing the unexpected.”

The Females in Comedy Association’s 4th Annual Comics Rock Convention takes place every year in Los Angeles headed up by Hope Flood and Luenell is a part of the action every year.  “Hope is a good friend of mine and she has been doing this for four years,” says Luenell.  “Back in the day she used to have a magazine for comedians and for some crazy reason she has always had an interest in helping comics.  We did not have any guidelines or anyone to talk with about the business.  Jamie Foxx used to have something called Lopaloza in Atlanta and all the comics would go for the seminars. So it’s something like that.  It used to be called the Females in Comedy Convention and then the men started wining that they wanted to get some of the knowledge too. So not to be one to turn down any money Hope opened it up to all comics. She wanted to promote togetherness not separatism. You can get more information at comicsrockconvention.com.  We have seminars, speakers, fashion shows, dinners and knowledge about stage presence, using your social media, writing new material, presenting your material, improv, relationships while you’re in the business, dos and don’ts and the keynote speaker this year was Mr. Dick Gregory who of course can speak on any and everything to do with all the above subjects.  It’s usually just a really great time for people to come from different parts of the country to get up on different stages in Los Angeles and get a little taste of the life and learn a lot.”

Luenell also performs at the convention and those who were lucky enough to attend the show got a chance to get one of her exclusive tee shirts that are only sold at her performances.  She also breaks out her DVD’s, CD’s and autographed headshots. “I’m the first person they meet when they come to town.  I’m like the official greeter for all the comics and I break down what they will be experiencing throughout the convention and then we perform later at the convention on certain nights,” explains Luenell

Honolulu, Hawaii will be welcoming an all female show with Luenell, Adele Givens, Eva Rodriquez and Tyler Bell for a fabulous show sometime in the near future.  “It promises to be a great show because all three of those ladies are amazing.  I don’t have to tell you about Adel because she was part of the Queens of Comedy and the other two ladies are very, very, very hilarious,” says Luenell.

Luenell is so good at what she does that fans will never be bored and her fanatic fans will not have to worry about seeing the same exact show twice.  “I have never been able to do two shows exactly the same in my whole career in my whole life,” say Luenell.  “Even if I talk on the same subjects, I put a different spin on every show that I do just because I’m not what they call a scripted comic where I do everything the same all the time.  When you work the road, you do develop a routine that you do and you pretty much follow that same pattern everywhere you go because everybody hasn’t seen it.  Just because you did it in Georgia, Chicago and New York doesn’t mean the people in Philly, Kansas  and Wyoming have seen it; so you get a road set and go out and do it just like the Kings [of Comedy] who do it and will continue to do. I do put a variation on every show I do because some people do come to a show where I perform twice in one night; so I am mindful of that and even if I talk about the same things, I will put a different twist on it and throw in a couple of different jokes I didn’t do on the first show.”

People are getting too sensitive these days to the point that comedians don’t want to work on new material at the smaller clubs in fear that the audience will take things out of content and cause drama on the social media networks. Comedian Chris Rock feels he does not want to try out new material at the smaller venues because people will twist the joke into something ugly.  “I try to stay away from politics and religion,” begins Luenell.  “The only thing I might say about religion is when my grandma use to listen to the AM Baptist church radio broadcast that was so loud and distorted that you couldn’t hear what they were saying. Or if President Obama came in town and stopped up traffic that day, I may say something about that.  I don’t want to talk about politics because I don’t want to alienate anyone in the audience because I have such a diverse demographics of people.  In my shows there are never just all black people. I have white people, Latinos, Latinas I have all different demographics coming to see me so I don’t want to leave anybody out.  There are some people who are very good at that.  D.L. [Hughley] is very good at that and so is Chris.  I’m just very much grassroots... sex, kids, relationships, weight, getting older and basically stuff like that is where I keep it.”

The Essence Music Festival will never be the same after Luenell makes her presence known.  No, she will not be singing.  Luenell stays in her lane and sticks to what she knows best.  “I do sing in my routines from time to time, but I will be hosting a couple of stages and introducing some acts,” says Luenell.

It’s so funny that you can start off in life going in one direction and in a blink of an eye, the road becomes completely different. Not in a million years would you think that a comedy career would open so many doors.  Luenell’s voice is now cemented in the animation field.  “I always wanted to do voiceovers and I have been blessed with that type of work recently,” says Luenell.  “I just did Adam Sandler’s animated film, Hotel Transylvania and we will be recording Hotel Transylvania 2 and I’m the voice of the Shrunken Head in that movie and I was very happy and pleased to do that.  I do theatre and I also did some work on The Boondocks and another show called ADHD and some other stuff.  I am very happy to do voiceover work.  I’ve always wanted to do it.”

Life seems to be throwing Luenell juicy nuggets of surprises to the point where she may say to herself, ‘Wow! They want me to do that?!  Luenell laughs a little and responds, “Yeah, I had to play a stripper in another Adam Sandlers film called, That’s My Boy,” explains Luenell.  “I had prosthetic boobs, skimpy outfits and I had to actually take a stripping class for several weeks before filming.  I would not have thought that they would want me to do that, but it was all in the vain of comedy so it worked out very well and I’m actually proud of that movie.  I did one movie years ago that was not comedic at all. It was about murder, drugs and I’m the only one that didn’t get killed.  The movie was called, Never Die Alone with DMX.  It was an actual Donald Goines book that they made into a film.  I played the bartender and it was a dramatic role that was not comedic at all.”

Fans cannot get enough of Luenell and would love to see her on television in a sitcom.  She is constantly on the road trying to get to as many fans as possible.  Would she leave the road to sit still for awhile to do television?  “I would absolutely do that,” says Luenell.  “I’m trying to get a show so that I don’t have to travel so much.  I don’t mind the traveling, but it’s the packing and unpacking that bothers me.  I don’t mind traveling, taking a plane, going to other places or being in hotels at all, but I do mind packing and unpacking. That is the vain of my existence right now.  Packing for the cruise gave me great anxiety because you need several outfits….daywear, swimwear, where do I put my dirty clothes…  I’ll never stop touring or going on the road because I do like the interacting with people; but if I could get a show where I could do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday then do the road Friday and Saturday then take my Sundays off, that’s what I would ultimately like to do, yes!”

Actually Luenell’s personality would fit in perfectly on Fox’s hit television show, Empire.  Fans have been thinking about who she should be related to on the show.  She could be Cookie’s aunt or the sister of the two friends of Lucious that were killed. She can be the one to keep the investigation going as to how they were killed.  “Actually there was a Twitter campaign for a while,” reveals Luenell.  “My tweets came up with two story lines. They wanted to tweet Lee Daniels and say that I should come on the show as one of Cookie’s ex-cellmates.  We had made some deals in jail and now that we are both out, I was coming to collect and the other one is where I would play Lucious sister or aunt who had been drug addicted for years and used to take care of the kids, but when he got put on, he kicked me to the curb and got nannies so now I’m coming back to take my revenge and get some compensation for all the years I did to take care of the kids.”  Sounds good and fans definitely think Mr. Daniels should take advantage of Luenell’s talent and popularity.

If you are not familiar with seeing Luenell on television, just watch her appearance during the fall season of BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood.  She will be playing the comedic friend of Kevin.  “My scene is with Earthquake and we are just hanging out talking a little Sh*t together and that’s all I can say for right now,” reveals Luenell.

This is definitely Luenell’s time to shine and who knows where she will be in the next five years. “Well five years from now hopefully my daughter would have graduated from college and I can have that financial monkey off my back,” begins Luenell.  “I would hope to have my own show and have a few commercial product endorsement deals plus do some charity work so I could put my money where my mouth is with some causes I stand behind and do some things for my family and for myself and see about trying to form some sort of relationship and that’s the goal.”

So I told Luenell to buy a toothbrush to attract a new man in her life however, at this stage of her game the tooth brush cannot be a permanent fixture in her home.  “I want my future whatever to take his toothbrush with him,” says Luenell and she was not joking.  “I’m not trying to go that far. He can stay just for the weekend and take his toothbrush with him.”  We laughed and I understood to respect the player and the game.

Stay tuned as we follow Luenell on her twitter page and career to see what she’s up to next.

FOR LUENELL TOUR DATES VISIT http://heyluenell.com/ 
Follow Luenell on IG https://instagram.com/luenell/

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