Luenell Campbell who appears in the upcoming VH1 documentary All Jokes Aside, has been a successful comedian and actress has paid her dues in Hollywood. She’s starred in films like Think Like a Man, That’s My Boy, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia along with abunch of other credits in numerous movies and TV shows since the early ’90s. You might remember her from VH1’s 100 Greatest Women In Music Special.
To help celebrate Black Women in Comedy Week, Luenell let us into her life and shared her experiences and obstacles as a female entertainer throughout the years.
Hollywood’s underwhelming appreciation for Black women is well known. “We don’t feel ignored, we are ignored,” Luenell states. She defines the industry as an “all boys club,” and that women have to “prove themselves ten times more,” but she gives her full support to her fellow comediennes. “I’m not in competition with the girls that I work with. We’re friends, we’re cool, and we pull for each other. There are so few of us that get put on, so I’m happy to see one of us go.”
She also goes on to drop some inspiration for aspiring comics. “You better grow some very very very very thick alligator skin,” she advises. “Because this job is not for the weak. It ain’t no joke. It’s not glamorous at all until way later. It’s a grind, and when it’s bad it’s really bad. But when it’s great it’s wonderful. If it’s in your soul and in your heart than you should do it. Don’t do it because everyone thinks you’re funny at the BBQ. The only reason to really do comedy is that you would die if you don’t.”
With over 20 year in the game, Luenell has proven her passion for comedy, and there isn’t much that can knock her hustle. Even with the major impact of social media on the industry, she has withstood the test of change. She’s stayed relevant in a fast-paced/short attention spanned society (thanks Vine). “I change my material to suite whoever I’m with, but the message is always the same,” she says. Later on this year, Campbell will star alongside Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Piven in the basketball comedy All-Star Weekend, as well as a new comedy series called Abelism. Put respek on her name!
Watch her full interview above, and tune in to her appearance in the short documentary All Jokes Aside on VH1.com.