Playing The Role - London Brown
Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, London Brown is the definition of a success story and chased the dream of making it out of the ‘hood. Now, he is a professionally trained actor, dancer, and comedian, best known for his role in HBO’s series, “Ballers”. Working alongside the infamous Dwayne Johnson, “Ballers” executive producer and co-star, Brown says “working with Dwayne has given me someone to look up to. I always want to come to work prepared and to bring that same energy he brings to the screen.” Brown continues, “you wouldn’t think that he’s approachable, but he is so cool and kind that it is really easy to forget how important he truly is. Sometimes we’ll be working on a scene that is just the both of us and we’re vibing, then I get home and go on Instagram and realize I’m working with one of the biggest stars in the world!” Brown sincerely respects Johnson and admires the all of the hard work and dedication he has put into the show and since working with him, has strived to improve his daily routine and has changed his behaviors to reflect on what he is learning from the star. “One of the small things I’ve learned from working with Dwane is that I always make it to the gym before I get on set, if he can make it to the gym at 3 am because we have a call time at 6 am, with all the stuff he has going on then I have no excuse. You don’t get to the top being lazy.”
His role on the show, “Reggie”, has sparked some controversy as fans consider him to be the most hated character. A relatable personality, Reggie is shallow, obnoxious, and portrays everything but London Brown’s true state of mind. “Reggie can honestly just be annoying,” he continues, “people just don’t really separate me from the character, I mean I get it, we all know a Reggie and I’m just grateful to be as involved as I am.” Brown has risen to the occasion and explains that’s why he chose to take on the role, as playing a character that is so drastically different from his true personality gave him the challenge he desired.
Determined to break free of that label, Brown is eager to continue working on the show as well as pursuing his career as a stand up comedian. His professional career in comedy began in 2011, when he first met Chris Tucker. “Well one thing led to another and before I knew it I was opening his shows for him,” Brown says. He continued to tour with Tucker up until 2013 where his performance work led him to be internationally recognized as a comedian in the UK. “I honestly don’t know who even submitted my work at that point, it was so cool to be acknowledged for what I was doing with my stand up so early on,” Brown reflects. “I will always be so grateful for the experiences Chris Tucker gave me. He wasn’t obligated to let me open for him. He opened up so many opportunities for me and made me feel like I was finally a comedian. It was my biggest turning point for my confidence.” Having Tucker as his comedic mentor for the beginning of his stand up career was majorly influential in his growth as a comedian. “Touring with a name like Chris Tucker is a big deal. No one knew who I was, it pushed me create really strong material compared to what I was used to doing. I had to learn how to get the audience going and how to have a strong stage presence because I didn’t just want to be known as the opener. He made me realize that stand up is something I am made to be doing.”
So far, he has won the “Best International Comedian” award at the 2013 Black Comedy Awards and has recently been touring around the country performing stand up. “A lot of people don’t realize that I do stand up comedy and when they see me they’re initially just surprised that I do stand up, and even more surprised at how nice I am,” Brown laughs. “It’s really impressive how emotionally involved people are with the characters I play.” Brown credits his success in comedy to Chris Tucker, and the strong background of acting training he had prior to his tours. “My background in theater is what really allowed me to handle those high pressure situations, if I didn’t have that I probably would have been really shaken up by the amount of people I have performed in front of,” Brown says.
Brown doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. He just completed filming “Back to the Goode Life,” a film featured on BET also starring Kyla Pratt and Lahmard J. Tate. A romantic comedy about two friends going through career struggles, Brown says “It’s totally different from who I play on Ballers, so far we’ve gotten really great responses to it and I’m excited for the release to show my versatility as an actor.” Juggling two major careers in acting and in comedy is no easy feat. Brown says the most important thing that he carries with him is “to stay humble, to keep God first, and to stay focused. That little saying is what keeps me grounded.” While the world knows him through his roles as an actor and a comedian, he strives to brand himself in a way that reflects those principles. “I don’t just want to be put into one particular box because I’m not just one thing, I always try to do my best with everything that I do. I have had a lot of people around me to help with staying prepared and staying focused, I don’t want to take credit for that. All I know is that I want to keep working hard because I know there is a lot more out there for me.”