On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with comedian Luenell to chat about some of her iconic movie roles, doing stand-up comedy, robbing a bank, and so much more.
Born in Tollette, Arkansas and later raised in San Francisco, California, Luenell Campbell is a multi-talented actress and comedian who has made a name for herself one joke at a time. She rose to prominence in the early 2000s with her appearances on BET’s “ComicView” and HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam” where she established herself as a fearless performer. While her stand-up career flourished, the star also began performing at comedy festivals and clubs all across the nation, where her cutting wit and dark humor further catapulted her as a fan-favorite among many.
Although she began her career as a stand-up comedian, Luenell quickly made a transition into acting. She has appeared in a number of popular films including 2006’s Borat, 2012’s Think Like a Man and That’s My Boy, and 2014’s School Dance. She’s also made guest appearances on several TV shows such as “Californication,” “My Name is Earl,” “Power Book II: Ghost,” and “The Mindy Project.” Most recently, Luenell played Livia in the highly acclaimed film Coming 2 America in 2021.
REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from Luenell’s “Drink Champs” interview. Check them out below, and watch the full episode here.
1. On getting cast to play a stripper in That’s My Boy
Luenell joined Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg in the dark comedy film That’s My Boy following her role as Auntie Winnie in Think Like A Man. She played Champale, a stripper and the mother of Ciara’s character, Brie. When reflecting on her roles, the actor brought up how she is frequently cast to play unconventional characters.
“I don’t know what it is about me that they keep calling me for these prostitute roles and sexual stuff because, as you know, my titties were out 100 percent of the movie, which I really didn’t know about that when I signed up,” the funny lady stated. She went on to add, “I feel like I’m in this place in Hollywood where they’ll say, ‘We need somebody to jump off this building into a vat of Jell-O. We gonna call Viola Davis? No, she ain’t gonna do it. We gonna call Sanaa Lathan? No, Sanaa not gonna do it. I know who we can get to do it. We’ll call Luenell, she’ll do any f**king thing.”
2. On auditioning for Borat and her iconic dinner party scene
Sacha Baron Cohen played a fictitious journalist in the 2006 mockumentary Borat directed by Larry Charles. Joining the English actor, Luenell was cast as a prostitute who showed up at a dinner party among a group of locals, which eventually led to both of them getting kicked out. The comedian shared her story about getting the role and also talked about how the movie was filled with racial stereotyping.
“They said this is somebody that they wanted to be able to fabricate a story about being a hooker at a fancy dinner party. Well, I know how to tell stories so I said, ‘Okay.’ They said, ‘Dress like a hooker.’ I’m like, well, I’ll just go in what I got on,” she joked. “At one point, I took Sasha’s hand and I took his finger and I sucked it. Next thing you know, I got the part!”
3. On robbing a bank that she worked at for $50,000
Pivoting from the conversation about her acting roles, Luenell revealed that she served four months in jail nearly a decade after robbing a bank she previously worked at in Long Beach. The comedian shared that she stole a whopping $50,000 from the vault while her co-worker wasn’t looking. She pointed out that she only got caught after applying for WIC after she had her daughter, Da’Nelle. “I didn’t need a gun; I had titties,” she stated.
“When I applied for WIC, the social security numbers crossed paths. I was just tryna get the milk and s**t. So they came to my door and they knocked on the door. I heard them and jumped out the window,” she explained. “And my girlfriend was there, she had the baby. It was gangster! I ran around the building in my pajamas, but they got me on the other side, and I went and did four months and 18 days on a year thing.”
4. On filming Coming 2 America with Eddie Murphy
2021’s Coming 2 America follows Eddie Murphy’s portrayal of African king Akeem, who discovers he has a long-lost son in America. Thus, he had to return to the states to forge a connection with him. The movie saw many of its original cast members return and included a star-studded roster comprised of the likes of Tracy Morgan, Leslie Jones, Wesley Snipes, and Luenell to name a few. She briefly spoke about what it was like to be a part of the moment including being able to work with such a legend like Murphy.
“The storyline was clever. I think that we’re blessed to have so many of them still be alive, looking good, and able to come back. I love that they paid homage to Madge Sinclair, who was the mother,” she said. “I think Ruth Carter, who did the wardrobe, was the only Black woman to win an Oscar for wardrobe. She’s been styling Eddy and filming personally for years and years. She was a GOAT. To be styled by her was amazing.”
5. On Stephen A. Smith comparing Rihanna to Beyoncé
Everyone should know by now that it’s pointless to compare Rihanna and Beyoncé in any setting. Recently, however, ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith learned this lesson the hard way after upsetting both the Navy and the BeyHive in anticipation of the Riri’s Super Bowl appearance.
“I think that they took it out of context. He’s a cocky motherf****r. Cocky motherf****rs sometimes say s**t that sounds cocky… They’re liable to have to say anything and then have to retract. I rarely have to backpedal because I stand pretty much stay 10 toes down on everything I say, but sometimes you have to be like, ‘I didn’t really mean it like that.’ So I don’t think he really meant any harm to Beyoncé but that BeyHive, they give a f***k!”
She concluded, “Rihanna doesn’t have nothing to prove to no motherf****r. Shout out to A$AP Rocky for tapping that a**.”
6. On being a Savage X Fenty ambassador
In addition to everything else she’s accomplished, Luenell became an ambassador for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty in 2020. The comedian shared that she met the self-made billionaire on FaceTime via her bus driver some years ago and the rest is history. Later in the interview, Luenell spilled all the tea about how the unexpected partnership came about and her experience working with the brand.
“I said, ‘I want to be a lingerie model’ and she said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’ I thought that was it, but then she hit me in the DM. She said, ‘What’s your email?’ I sent her my email and contracts started coming,” she revealed. “When the s**t came and I realized what I signed up for, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I gotta really take these pictures in this s**t. No shade Rainbow, but this wasn’t for Rainbow… This was for motherf***king Rihanna. I literally wrote a check that my mouth was about to have to cash.”
7. On Bill Cosby drugging women and doing “some twisted s**t”
Bill Cosby’s conviction for sexual assault was reversed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2021 after he already spent almost three years behind bars. It also led to a $500,000 settlement for a woman who claimed he sexually molested her as a teen at the Playboy Mansion in 1975. In light of this, Cosby has announced his plans to resume doing stand-up comedy and touring later this year. Whilst talking about America’s former beloved figure, Luenell condemned his behavior and said that she’d refuse to go on tour with him if asked.
“I just think that Bill Cosby used to be fine as f**k. He used to run track… He was an athlete, he was buff, and he was fine as f**k. He could’ve got any of them b****s p***y that he wanted and did,” Luenell stated. “So, the fact that knowing that, and still preferring to drug women, is like you’re one heartbeat away from necrophilia. You’re sick. You don’t want to make love to somebody that loves you back? That’s some twisted s**t.”
8. On serial predator and film producer Harvey Weinstein
After being convicted guilty of rape and sexual harassment in New York, Harvey Weinstein is serving a 23-year prison sentence. Both former “Project Runway” model Mimi Haley and actress Jessica Mann testified against him, leading to his incarceration in 2020. Weinstein joins a growing list of men in Hollywood forced to do a walk of shame due to their disgustful behaviors. “Harvey Weinstein looks like a f***king ejaculation,” Luenell stated on “Drink Champs.”
She continued, “If you just look at the motherf****r, you know the people that get hoes. He’s old, white, nasty, and fat. Don’t no b***h want you, you just got money. Any b***h that sleeps with you is a total whore because you’re old, impudent, and nasty and disgusting.”
9. On smoking crack during the early days of her career
Towards the end of the interview, Luenell discussed previously living in Oakland where she learned how to make crack. Although she admitted to being clean for over two decades, the comedian claimed it was “amazing.” She gave N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN the rundown on how she initially got hooked and how it affected her life.
“First of all, let me just say what nobody says: Crack was amazing. That s**t was amazing. I said the reason [Nancy Reagan] said, ‘Just say no’ was because the b***h ain’t never hit a pipe in her life,” Luenell joked. “Nobody sane or working wants to talk to you at 2:30 in the morning, but the dope man will. He’ll come over.”