Days before the season 5 premiere of HBO’s hit football series ‘Ballers’, actor and comedian #LondonBrown carried on with life as usual: creating content for his weekly club standup shows, sharing words with his Instagram followers for his “London Brown Breakdown” segments and… interviewing! I was graciously blessed with the opportunity to pick the brain of one of one of Hollywood’s top-emerging black actors as he introduced us to the many other talents London Brown shares with the world.
Season 5 of HBO’s ‘Ballers’, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John David Washington, premiers Sunday, August 25 and London assured us that his character “Reggie” is still on the straight and narrow and continuously evolving throughout the season. “In season 5 I think people are going to definitely appreciate the growth of Reggie…the maturity…but now, with the logic behind it,” he said. “In season one, he was young and immature. He had his friend’s back but he just didn’t go about it maybe in the best way, but in season 5, it all makes sense. He’s speaking of numbers and writing checks.”
When asked if he sees any resemblance from Reggie’s career path to his own, London said he feels the growth in his career to as compared to Reggie. “The more you do it, you bump your head along the way, but all those things help you to come out stronger and more prepared for the real challenges that we face.” He continued, “With Reggie, at least with the last couple of seasons, he hasn’t been above listening. That’s why he’s in the position that he’s in. He took notes from Joe, he watched from Spencer’s mistakes as well as his own mistakes, and I’ve been able to do that as well.“ London then dropped a few cameos on us that everyone can expect to see on the new season of ‘Ballers’. “We got some great cameos. I know Odell Beckham Jr is in there, we have the Migos. I feel like it’s gonna be one of the best ones [seasons] yet,” he said.
Taking it back a little bit, we asked London to elaborate on his “club” appearances, to which he opened up a bit about his beginnings in theater and the transition into stand-up comedy. “I come from theatre first. From theatre, the transition to stand-up wasn’t so difficult because stand-up is really like a one act play. Between the character work, the story line, the beginning, middle and end…so it was one of those things that kind of came natural.”
London then shared the story of how his friend DeRay Davis introduced him to Chris Tucker at the Hollywood Improv and was thrown on stage for a 5 minute set that earned him Chris’ personal contact information. They linked up from there and London toured with Chris for several years at the very beginning of his comedic career. “I’ve very grateful to Chris Tucker for that! But from there I worked in clubs, booked my first tv show ‘The Hustle’, still on the road.” He stated that ‘Ballers’ has allowed him to headline his own tour “The Hustle Tour”, which is currently in 50 cities nationwide.
Another super dope project London recently contributed to is ‘Asia A’, a movie short based on the true story of a spinal cord injury patient struggling to reconcile his sense of self-worth after becoming a paraplegic. “I took [the project] because I understand as I’m building my career, these first few projects are going to be important for the presence that I set for where I want to go. People don’t know I do stand up because of some of these types of projects come in, but I can appreciate it because it’s a good drama, there’s no jokes, and it was a very serious tone. A very real script. I chose it for the range. I don’t want to be put in any box of any kind because I’m not just one layer. This would be nice contrast to doing stand up and a nice contrast to Reggie.”
At the conclusion, London said he knows and can feel like he’s on the right path and that he isn’t surprised that his career is on the upward trajectory he’s envisioned all along. “People sometimes will ask ‘Are you surprised?’ I’m not surprised at all. I have planned for this. Maybe it’s not exactly what I thought, or sometimes it can even be better,” he said. “When I did my first tv show ‘The Hustle’, it only did one season, 6 episodes, number one on views when it was on. I was like ‘If the numbers did well, why didn’t it go another season?’ It wasn’t supposed to go another season because I had ‘Ballers’ down the pipeline. So ‘The Hustle’ was the prerequisite to get me prepared for ‘Ballers’.” And that it did!
Make sure you guys tune in, August 25th for the season 5 premier of ‘Ballers’ on HBO and check your local listings to see when London will be headed close to your town on his ‘The Hustle Tour’! Congratulations to London Brown and much continued success!