Newcomer Jordan L. Jones has made a splash on TV with his breakout role as Nat on Fox’s comedy series “Rel” which premiered in September.
The young actor who portrays Lil Rel Howery’s younger brother on the show, chatted with The Knockturnal about working with cast members which also include comedy veteran Sinbad and fellow newcomer social media star turned actress Jess Hilarious, and more.
The Knockturnal: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Jordan L. Jones: When I was young actually, I went to Brentwood High School and I did my first commercial, my mom had put me in, she had got me an agent. I got my first gig Sports Authority commercial for the Superbowl with Michael Strahan and Adrian Peterson. So I was really stoked, and that was my first time, I was like wow I actually might want to do this. I went to the University of Arizona and after a year I transferred to USC because I knew this was something I wanted to do and pursue and I couldn’t do that in Arizona. So when I got here, being at USC (a private school) it was hard to have a manager or an agent because whenever they would say oh yeah you have an audition today or tomorrow, it was like I can’t, I have a final or I have something important to do because I knew that it was this private institution and I can’t just miss things. So I had to take a hiatus for a couple of years on the acting, but I never lost sight of what I wanted to do. When I graduated I got a job as a production assistant for a show called Home & Family, just learning the ropes behind the camera and stuff like that. Then after a year, I got my first real manager Tracy [Steinsapir] Main Title Entertainment. I got a callback my first audition and right then and there I was like for sure I really know that I really really want to do this, and that was like what maybe a year and a half ago in February 2017.
The Knockturnal: How did you land the role on Rel? What was it like meeting Lil Rel initially?
Jordan L. Jones: Man it’s crazy, still it’s surreal. I’ll start with the first question, how did I get it. Well number one just like the old fashioned way just audition, there wasn’t any I knew him before or anything before like that, my manager put me out to audition and I killed the audition. The way the audition process worked was I went to the Fox studios for the first one, the second time I had a callback so it was like me and several other people, then after that I had a chemistry read, and that was basically the first time I met Rel and that was the first time I met Jerrod Carmichael which is basically where I do the audition with him as the other character instead of with a casting director, they don’t give any energy or anything. On the third audition that was the first time that I actually met him and it was so surreal because obviously we’ve all seen Get Out and we’ve all see stuff Lil Rel and Jerrod Carmichael are doing and so finally being in there. Just literally seeing them I’m actually so glad I didn’t choke up or anything because I really look up to them. I love their comedy. Before I got the show if you were to ask me who I wanted to work with, I would probably say them. So meeting them was and just is surreal, they’re such down to earth people. What I like about Rel is he doesn’t care about network stipulations or stuff like that. For instance, networks will talk about social media people, they’ll loose their trust in them because they like they don’t have any acting experience. Same with green actors like myself some of them just getting one thing. They kind of were hesitant because of like you sure he can carry a show this and that this is his first thing. He was like yeah of course, I’m going off the audition, I’m going off pictures, I’m going off what I want the vibe to be who I want to be on the show, I don’t care about what your background is, how old you are, how long you been acting any of that. So boom there it is. He’s a good guy.
The Knockturnal: How is your character on the show like you?
Jordan L. Jones: My character is very similar to me. Of course, I didn’t just recently get out of jail for selling ecstasy to college kids. But my mannerisms … one thing I like about the show is they allow me to bring myself to the character and bring myself within that character. So certain responses and reactions would be really dead on. Also, one of my favorite lines from the show was from the first episode actually. Basically Jess Hilarious she calls me a crack dealer and I get upset with her, and I’m like yo it wasn’t crack, it was just ecstasy I’m tired of people calling me a crack dealer, like it was just a low-level drug, it was just college kids, it wasn’t even that bad. One of my lines was as she’s walking out, I’m like “Look man I stopped selling, I joined the choir, and I said I even joined Oprah’s Book Club.” It was really funny to me because it was improv and they kept it, and as she’s walking up I was like look I went from ecstasy to joining Oprah’s Book Club and people were dying, I was dying laughing because those are polar opposites. Especially being on a show with Sinbad and Rel they’re always improving and doing certain stuff and I look up to that. Every single day is like a class, genuinely it’s a class. So being able to do that, because sometimes I’m kind of hesitant, there’s words on the paper you want to say you want to make everybody happy. But sometimes there’s a reason why they hired you so you can be yourself. Even from the gate I just threw that out there and they loved it. I was like wow this is great I’m making up my own lines and it’s funny and the people that I’m looking at like hey you think this is funny Rel? you think this is funny Sinbad, they were like yeah man, you good, you good. So that was one of my memorable lines.
The Knockturnal: What’s next for you?
Jordan L. Jones: Man at the end of the day I actually always hashtag my Instagram page with the hashtag #CallGod because at the end of the day I’m just grateful I’m blessed for this opportunity. TV and Hollywood can go either way. You can have a great show that maybe doesn’t get picked up, you can have a bad show that does get picked up. There’s certain things within networks and studios that other people never get a chance to see. Why didn’t that run or why is that running so long or oh that’s doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. I brought up the CallGod thing too because regardless of what situation I’m in or anything I always say CallGod because I thank him for all the good times that I’m having and all these blessings that I’m getting. Even when I was going to bad times which have nothing to do with the show, but just bad times in general I want to say CallGod, thank God because even those decisions you make that are bad when you’re down in the dumps you have to thank God because you learn from that mistake that bad moment you going through you learn from it. If you learn from it, it’s a lesson and you now are a step ahead of other people. So I say all of that to say just me being blessed me just taking every opportunity, me just taking it one day at a time. What’s next for me, I don’t even have a ceiling. A lot of people ask me what do you want to do I know this is comedy and you really want to do that and I do but at he same exact time I want to win an Oscar. I want to show off all of my acting, my different realms that I can bring to the table. Not in this Sunday’s episode but next Sunday’s episode called #HeToo and it’s actually kind of my episode I’m in all of the scenes and it’s about me finally getting a job. There’s comedy in it, I have a very deep emotional scene in it and I can’t wait for it to come out because even in a comedy show I want to show that you can’t put me in a box. So what’s next, anything can be up next when it comes to auditioning for movies that are drama, still comedy, both, horror, I sing, I dance, I do a lot of different things. Especially starting off I don’t people to typecast me or put me in a box like that’s the physical comedy guy which I love that’s the number one thing that I like to do. But I love to do everything so if I get the chance to do a serious movie with Denzel or Michael B. I would never pass that up because oh I only do comedy or whatever the case may be. I’m just willing to do whatever and I’m ready to do whatever is next, it doesn’t have to be comedy just because I did a show with Rel and Sinbad. I want to do everything, I want everyone to see my full potential.
Watch REL with Lil Rel Howery – Sundays at 9:30/8:30c on FOX.