It's a thrilling time to be comedian Lil Rel. "I'm really excited about my half hour that's now airing on Comedy Central," he says. "It's one of those things where you count down to the air date." The special showcases Rel's mix of stories from his personal life, and recollections of growing up on Chicago's west side. "I've always been funny," he says, "but it's one of those things where my family was hilarious, and then my friends were all hilarious. Was I the funniest one? No, but there were a lot of laughs, because everyone had these funny jokes. I think I'm more a combination of all of my family and friends, all the people I grew up with." Rel credits Chicago and that city's unique comedy scene with shaping his comedic voice. "Midwest comics have to be diverse," he says. "No disrespect, but sometimes New York comics start to sound alike. In Chicago, we try very hard not to sound like each other." The city's fondness for improv also helps. "I like to get up and do characters and act out stories, and comics that move here get better at that." That skill set landed Rel a spot on the reboot of the sketch show In Living Color, though, to everyone's dismay, Fox seems to have passed on the idea of bringing the program back. Instead, Rel shot a pilot for a sketch show on Comedy Central called Legion of Goons. While he waits to hear back on the show's fate, he continues to tour the country. 18+; 21+ later shows.
June 12-14, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., June 14, 9:45 p.m.; Sat., June 15, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2013