*Comedian Luenell has never been one to bite her tongue about anything, especially when it comes to this Hollywood bs and trickery. So when reality TV star NeNe Leakes announced that she soon will be hitting the road for some sort of one-woman stand-up show, the comedy vet took to social media to express that she is not here for NeNe’s latest stunt to pull in a quick buck.
Luenell shared a poster for Leakes’ upcoming “One Woman Show” comedy tour stop at The Comedy House in South Carolina. In the post, Luenell blasted Leakes, saying that she isn’t a real comic and that she hasn’t done anything to earn the title or perform at the respected venue.
I just find it Ironic that these days, it seems like any Reality Show celebrity or celebrity of Any type who wants to pop up and call themselves a Comic CAN … but a Comic can’t just pop up and as easily get a Show! Anybody can just walk into our profession, grab $$$ and when they get Tired … they just stop and go back to the comfort of television. If I sound salty, it’s because i Am!
READ RELATED STORY: NeNe Leakes Gets Back at Luenell; Calls Her ‘Old Hater’
EUR/Electronic Urban Report‘s Lee Bailey caught up with Luenell to get her reaction to NeNe’s response that she’s nothing more than a ‘salty old hater,’ and Luenell confessed that she doesn’t blame NeNe for being “salty,” she blames the industry for only thinking about money when they hire what she refers to as “stir-fry, quick-fix entertainers.” As far she’s concerned, NeNe is simply another undeserving reality star who is taking a job away from someone who has paid their dues.
You responded to news about NeNe’s upcoming show by sending a message to your fans that turned into a beef.
Luenell: I really didn’t send a message to my fans. I sort of was just, venting to myself because I didn’t hashtag anything. I didn’t [email protected] anybody. I just sort of was like, writing a mental diary to myself on my own Instagram page, and you sort of forget that it’s going to go as wide as it does, and I just sent it, and it caught fire. Let me be clear, I don’t care. I really wasn’t doing it to cause a ruckus. I was just stating my truth.
What propted you to do that? You said we were on your way to the restroom and you saw the poster. Seems like it goes deeper than just seeing some sign about her show.
Luenell: Well it does. I’ve been working with some really talented people lately that have been in the game a long time, who I feel deserve the network television break. They have all the accoutrements of the new wave and the old school. They put in the work. They have the Instagram followers, the social media followers. We’ve shot pilots and put stuff together, and recently they got turned down for an ABC pilot and it made me sad. I was sad for them. I thought they deserved that break. And then I see (that) Amber Rose has gotten greenlit for a talk show. It just seems to me that these days, the people who are winning are these social media fans, and the people who are putting in work, the people who have studied and done their craft and been to the school of hardknocks, those people are being cast aside for the stir-fry, quick fix entertainers. I get it because the industry doesn’t care anymore about these seasoned entertainers. They want the money. That’s all they care about.
But in the meantime, the people who have developed their fans for years and years, before social media, those people are not reaping the benefits of their hard labor and are not able to have the people who cheered for them see them succeed. They’re being cast aside, and it hurts and it’s not fair. At the end of the day, it’s not NeNe’s fault or Amber’s fault. It’s really the networks and the executives’ fault for being such money whores and not giving a damn about anything but the money. That’s really what it’s about.
NeNe Leake’s message to Luenell:
What do you think of NeNe’s response to you?
Luenell: She’s known for being mean and being a bully. That’s why her one-woman show is called “So Mean and So Rude,” or something like that, which is a phrase she coined on “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” which she referred to in her statement as “her show.” I checked the credits and I didn’t see her as an executive producer or director anything like. But maybe something has changed and maybe it is in fact now her show. I just thought she was a cast member like everybody else. Maybe “Glee” is her show also. Maybe Broadway was her production also.
What about her comment that you had no problem helping Wendy Williams and Claudia Jordan? What is she alluding to there?
Luenell: We’re both wrong. I didn’t realize that she wasn’t actually doing stand-up. She’s doing a one-woman show and in my field, one-woman shows are mounted usually in a theater setting, not in a stand-up club. If you’re taking the stand-up stage in the stand-up club, you’re insinuating that you’re doing stand-up comedy. And when she says, ‘You had no problem helping Wendy,’ or Claudia or anybody else, I was asked to help Wendy and I considered that an honor. Out of all the people that Wendy knows, for her to ask me, I thought it was an honor. But then it started to be thing. It went from Wendy to Claudia. From Claudia to Reza of “Shahs of Sunset,” and I’m not one to turn down any television opportunities. To be considered the go-to person when it comes to comedy, that’s not a bad thing either. But to say that I had no problem with it, she doesn’t know that, no body knows what I felt like when I was doing what I was doing. Cause in fact, I did have some problems with that. I have a problem with people stepping in the lane of comedy because I feel very seriously about that. It’s not just a job to me. It’s a religion to me. It’s therapy to me. Wendy paid very well. I thought it was a very iconic thing to do. I enjoyed the experience.
Were you teaching them how to be comedians?
Luenell: When Wendy hired me, I was teaching her the ropes of stage presence as a comedian, and certain segways to lead from one speaking situation into another speaking situation as the comic would do. Did they take all of my advice? No. They did certain things their way. I had certain suggestions about the structure of the show that I thought would have made the show flow a little bit better. When she first did it, everything went okay. Then when we second did it, and she added me to show, I had an idea of the way the show should go and we agreed upon that but then when I got there, it turned out to be another way. That’s their choice, that’s fine, all I can do is make a suggestion. I can’t run anybody’s anything.
What about the Claudia Jordan reference?
Luenell: Claudia is a personal friend of mine who I met through Jamie Foxx, who first thought that she was funny and had her on the Foxxhole radio program. So Jamie was the person who thought of her comedic skills before I even knew her. I met her on his radio show and she is very witty, very smart and very talented. Claudia found out I was in Atlanta and thought it would be a fun idea to have me on the show as maybe a little comedic mentor because she was going to do a storyline in which she was gonna try to do some stand-up. So I got a chance to be on the show and it literally took ten minutes. We did a little skit and that was it. I gave her a couple of pointers and that was all I had to do with it.
Do you think it was a fair comparison, that NeNe brought up?
Luenell: No because I don’t know if NeNe had any mentors or anything like that. So it would be unfair for me to say who she did or didn’t talk to, or if she feels like she needed to talk to anybody. I don’t know, so I can’t speak on that. She didn’t talk to me and I’m not salty about that at all. But I think that Claudia and my’s situation was just for television, and that was just a fictitious thing. Claudia wasn’t trying to go out and do a career or do a side career or take advantage of a few extra dollars doing stand-up. She really may have it in the back of her mind that it would be fun to do, but she never pursued it. I told her how hard it is for super pretty girls to do stand-up comedy. It’s very difficult because for the first 15 minutes, nobody is listening to a word they say. You have to be very-very funny, very-very quickly.
What do you think of Nene’s comment calling you an “old hater,” and that, “if you stop begin salty and get out of your feelings you might can start opening up for me.”
Luenell: It’s mean and fu*ked up. It’s cruel and I’m not the grandmother around here, she is. We may be just a few years a part. My daughter is in college. She doesn’t have any children. I didn’t call her any names, she did, which evoked her fans to follow suit and call me names as well. I never called her any names. I wished her well. But she’s made a career out of being mean to people. She’s a very mean-spirited woman. I don’t think that bullying is fashionable. But we live in a bullying society right now. Social media has made bullying cool because they can do it under the guise of anonymity. The same people who grin in your face can go home and write the most veil stuff about you. I come from Oakland, California. I was born in Arkansas. When we have confrontations about things, we deal with it face to face. I’m not trying to brawl with anybody in the streets, but I certainly won’t back down from a verbal confrontation. I don’t clap back. I didn’t write anything about Nene. I stated exactly how I felt. She stated her truth and we were done with it. I didn’t go out and court these interviews. People have reached out to me. So, what she said to me I thought was uncalled for.
I would love to say, ‘That’ll be the day’ that I have to come to Nene Leakes for work, but I know how this business is and a year from now, I very well may be auditioning for a part on a NeNe Leakes production. I would rather chew off my left arm but I’m not so stupid enough to pass up work, and if that’s work – whatever. She may be auditioning for me someday. I hope to God that happens. But the fact that she said ‘call me,’ as if I have her number and can do that, that’s a lie and some bulls**t. We don’t call each other. We don’t know each other like that. So that was all just shade and being snarky, which is what she has made her whole brand of lifestyle about. You don’t get 26 years worth of fans being messy like that. I want to see where her fans are in 26 years. I know where mine will be, right where they are right now.
Where do you see this beef with Nene going?
Luenell: I hope within a week or so that it all dies down, but ultimately I would just like people who have worked hard in the industry to get their just do. I would like to see this reality stuff die down and let’s get back to good programming and television and theater. I’m sure that the people she worked with on Broadway were not standing on their hands excited because NeNe Leakes came to do Broadway with them, when there’s people that are trained thespians that worked all their lives to get there. I’m sure they weren’t excited about that. But she came and I understand that she did well and then she was gone. But that’s the whole point, you come, you get this money and you make this ruckus and then you’re gone. Your heart isn’t there. The people who work on Broadway, their heart is there. That’s their life. They worked all their life to get there. That’s their dream. I know that being on television and famous is NeNe’s dream, and God bless her, she’s achieved her dream, but you don’t have to step on people to do that. You don’t have to be mean and hurtful to people to do that. That is not the makings of a long-lasting career.
Do you regret making the initial comment?
Luenell: I do not regret making the comment. I stand in my truth, but I want to just add this: people act like saying that I’m salty or jealous is a sin. If you work ten years at a company and some little yuppie comes in and in three weeks later they become your supervisor, you are salty about that. Saying that out loud, I don’t see what’s so bad about that. Human beings have feelings. I simply sad what I feel and what a lot of people feel about what’s going on with these reality stars when it comes to taking jobs from viable actors these days. What I do have anguish about is, maybe I presented it in personal way. It really isn’t personal against Nene. it was personal against the industry that she promotes and is a part of. People are idolizing these quick, stir-fry, flash in the pan people who are not the people who have put in the work. It’s all about who is on TV right now and whose got the most Instagram followers. Anybody can get money. I don’t knock anyone’s grind. But when you step into my lane, and you’re coming into the area where I live, I feel like I have the right to say whatever I want to about it. I did it. I don’t regret it. I’ll do it again.